Foreign Ministry Spokesperson Zhao Lijian’s Regular Press Conference on March 14, 2022

Foreign Ministry Spokesperson Zhao Lijian’s had a lot to say regarding many present issues with other Nations not honoring the One China Principle like the United States and Japan, as well as other issues China is bringing to the open.

AFP: Just to follow up on the earlier question about report that Russia has requested for support from China. Has China received any Russian requests for help in the war in Ukraine so far? Will China consider giving Russia assistance in this war?

Zhao Lijian: In my previous answer to Bloomberg, I already made it clear that the US has been spreading disinformation. China has elaborated on its position on China-Russia relations on multiple occasions.

BBC: You just mentioned about this accusation that the US has been destroying or deleting documents on its website regarding these bio-labs. I checked though they all seem to be there. Has the foreign ministry had looked at the website for the US Embassy in Ukraine, because they seem to be there?

Zhao Lijian: Are you saying the documents are not deleted?

Follow-up: As far as I can see, they’re all there, all the documents. I mean you can have a look on the website. I can give you the URL.

Zhao Lijian: What I saw was different.

Follow-up: Why did you say that information you saw is different? Can you explain it?

Zhao Lijian: As far as I know, relevant documents of these bio-labs have been deleted by the US Embassy in Ukraine.

Follow-up: Would you endeavor to at least to check now, have a look at the US embassy website and see if those documents are there?

Zhao Lijian: I just made China’s position clear. 

Phoenix TV: According to reports, NSA Jake Sullivan said in an interview on March 13 that while the US believes “China, in fact, was aware before the invasion took place that Vladimir Putin was planning something, they may not have understood the full extent of it”. And China and other countries should not try to help Russia evade the sanctions. The US is watching closely to see to what extent Beijing provided economic or material support to Russia, and made clear to China the consequences if that occurred. What is China’s comment?

Zhao Lijian: China’s position on the Ukraine issue is consistent and clear. China has been making independent judgement and expounding on our position based on the merits of the matter itself and in an objective and just manner. On the Ukraine question, any disinformation that dismisses China’s efforts, misrepresents China’s intention and smears China is designed to deflect the problem, stoke provocation and profit from the issue. It is neither responsible nor ethical.

Sanctions are never effective means to resolve problems. China opposes all forms of unilateral sanctions and long-arm jurisdiction of the US, and will resolutely defend the legitimate rights and interests of Chinese companies and individuals.

ITV News: Can I ask if President Xi has any plans to speak again with president Putin? And what exactly is the Chinese government doing to play this constructive role in peace talks? 

Zhao Lijian: China has shared on multiple occasions its efforts in promoting peace talks. I have no information to offer at the moment as to the arrangement between the two leaders. 

Associated Press of Pakistan: Pakistan has protested and condemned last week violation of its airspace by a supersonic flying object of Indian origin. Pakistan has also called for a thorough and transparent investigation into the incident, which reflected India’s disregard to the air safety, peace and security in the region. As a major country in the region, what is China’s response? 

Zhao Lijian: China has noted relevant information. Pakistan and India are both important countries in South Asia, bearing responsibilities for maintaining regional security and stability. China calls on the countries to hold dialogue and communication as soon as possible, and look thoroughly into the incident, step up information sharing, and promptly establish a reporting mechanism so that such incidents will not happen again, and misunderstanding and misjudgment can be avoided.

Yomiuri Shimban: Russia recently released a list of unfriendly countries and regions, which includes Taiwan. What is China’s comment? If Russia takes actions against Taiwan, what would China do?

Zhao Lijian: As to why Taiwan is on the list, the answer is clear to all. If Taiwan is sanctioned, it has only itself to blame. 

RIA Novosti: Japanese Prime Minister said on Monday that situation in Ukraine and Russia’s actions point out the necessity of reforming the United Nations Security Council. What’s China’s comment? 

Zhao Lijian: China’s position on the reform of the UN Security Council is consistent and clear. The Chinese side does not agree with the view of the Japanese side. Did Japan make those remarks when the US illegally invaded Iraq and dropped bombs on Federal Republic of Yugoslavia? 

Bloomberg: Just to go back to the UN Security Council meeting, I believe it was on Friday evening, the UN Representative during the Council meeting said that the UN is not aware of any biological weapons in Ukraine. Does China have a position on the UN’s statement on the biological weapons situation?

Zhao Lijian: We also noted the relevant remarks made by the UN side. The international community has long held grave concerns for the bio-military activities of the US. This is why China has been calling on the US to make public its bio-military activities at home and abroad, including details about Fort Detrick and the 336 bio-labs overseas. The international community is very concerned about the relevant activities of the US. The US should stop activities that violate the Biological Weapons Convention (BWC), respond to the concerns of the international community as soon as possible and give an explanation to people around the world.

NHK: China said it will play an act part in easing the Ukraine situation. What suggestion does China plan to propose for deescalation?

Zhao Lijian: Just now I answered a similar question. China will release information in due course. I am sure that the Ukraine issue will be a hot topic in this meeting.

BBC: Just a follow-up. From one of these documents, which I say is there, I will read it out to you. Now this is the US description, “The Biological Threat Reduction Program’s priorities in Ukraine are to consolidate and secure pathogens and toxins of security concern and to continue to ensure Ukraine can detect and report outbreaks caused by dangerous pathogens before they pose security or stability threats.” The whole program does not seem have anything to do with weapons, but more of securing dangerous pathogens. There seems to be some misunderstanding internationally as to what constitutes a weapons program and what constitutes a program of securing pathogens in many countries, including China, have research facilities. We all know countries have these things, often or usually they have nothing to do with weapons or war. Could it be that these facilities have absolutely nothing to do with weapons in Ukraine? And could you explain that this distinction as the Chinese government see it?

Zhao Lijian: You said the US has been stressing that the facilities are for research purposes. I can tell you that the US response so far has been self-contradictory and perplexing. According to the 2005 agreement between the US Department of Defense and the Ukrainian side, representatives of the US Department of Defense have the right to participate in all aspects of related activities at facilities in Ukraine. Information marked or designated by the US side Department of Defense as “sensitive” should be withheld from public disclosure by Ukraine. According to the document the US submitted to the meeting of the state parties to the BWC at the end of 2021, the US has cooperation facilities in Ukraine including 26 labs.

We wonder, whether the US has sent its people? What specifically is the scope of activities? How many cooperation facilities are there? What kind of sensitive information about public health cannot be shared? Does the Ukrainian side know what the US has been working on in Ukraine?

If the information released by the US is self-contradictory and significantly flawed, how can the US convince the international community that it has indeed implemented obligations under the Biological Weapons Convention (BWC)? Despite the international consensus on ensuring compliance with verification, the US has been standing alone in obstructing the establishment of a BWC verification mechanism. That explains the international community’s suspicion over the bio-military activities of the US. 

For decades, the US readily points fingers at others and accuses them of noncompliance, saying that they should accept verification and even resorting to sanctions and military operations. However, when it comes to the US itself, it is refusing verification and trying to muddle through by simply saying “we are in compliance with the convention”. How is that? This is typical double standard. Moreover, given the credibility of the US, it is very difficult for it to win the trust of the international community. 

Once again we urge the US to act responsibly, offer a clear account of its biological military activities at home and abroad, and stop standing alone in obstructing the establishment of a BWC verification regime. This will help restore the international community’s confidence in the US’ fulfillment of its international obligations and strengthen global biosecurity.

Follow-up: You said that there are 26 labs the US has in Ukraine, again, according to the documents on the US embassy website about this pathogen research, these are actually Ukrainian labs that the US is just assisting. Why does the Chinese government believe that they are US labs rather than Ukrainian labs, which the US is assisting with?

Zhao Lijian: Did you follow what I just said? I spoke at length just now. I told you that the US Department of Defense has provided more than $200 million. I also cited a 2005 agreement between the US Department of Defense and Ukraine, which clearly states that representatives of the US Department of Defense have the right to participate in all aspects of related activities at facilities in Ukraine. Information marked or designated by the US side Department of Defense as “sensitive” should be withheld from public disclosure by Ukraine. Please don’t think I haven’t read the relevant information on the website of the US Embassy in Ukraine. If you read the information carefully, it should not be difficult to see that it clearly states that the United States Department of Defense funds relevant projects.

Follow-up: So you have actually looked at the documents on that website, some of them are not deleted?

Zhao Lijian: I have seen some links online.

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