Shenzhen TV: Recently, US biological labs in Ukraine have drawn much attention. The US Embassy in Ukraine has reportedly removed information related to such labs in haste. Do you have any comment?
Zhao Lijian: Lately US biological labs in Ukraine have indeed attracted much attention. According to reports, a large quantity of dangerous viruses are stored in these facilities. Russia has found during its military operations that the US uses these facilities to conduct bio-military plans.
According to data released by the US, it has 26 bio-labs and other related facilities in Ukraine, over which the US Department of Defense has absolute control. All dangerous pathogens in Ukraine must be stored in these labs and all research activities are led by the US side. Without US approval, no information shall be released to the public.
Under current circumstances, for the sake of the health and safety of people in Ukraine, neighboring regions and beyond, we call on relevant sides to ensure the safety of these labs. The US, in particular, as the party that knows the labs the best, should disclose specific information as soon as possible, including which viruses are stored and what research has been conducted.
I would also like to stress that, the biological military activities of the US in Ukraine are merely the tip of the iceberg. Using such pretexts as cooperating to reduce biological safety risks and strengthening global public health, the US has 336 biological labs in 30 countries under its control. 336, you heard me right. It also conducted many biological military activities at the Fort Detrick base at home.
What is the true intention of the US? What has it done specifically? The international community has long-held doubts. However, the US has kept stonewalling, and even dismissing the international community’s doubts as spreading disinformation. Besides, the US has been standing alone in obstructing the establishment of a Biological Weapons Convention (BWC) verification mechanism and refusing verification of its biological facilities at home and abroad for the past two decades. This has led to deeper concern of the international community. Once again we urge the US to give a full account of its biological military activities at home and abroad and subject itself to multilateral verification.
AFP: Yesterday, Foreign Minister Wang Yi said that China is open to help in the mediation for peace in Ukraine. Can you give any details on what this means? Has China reached out to Russia or Ukraine to make such an offer?
Zhao Lijian: I can tell you that China supports and encourages all diplomatic efforts conducive to peacefully resolving the Ukraine crisis. We are prepared to continue playing a constructive role to facilitate dialogue for peace and work alongside the international community when needed to carry out necessary mediation.
CCTV: According to reports, the Tboung Khmum China-Cambodia Friendship Hospital has officially started operation after three years of construction. Chinese Ambassador to Cambodia Wang Wentian and Cambodian Prime Minister Hun Sen presided over the inauguration ceremony. Could you offer more information?
Zhao Lijian: China and Cambodia are comprehensive strategic cooperative partners working actively for the high-quality Belt and Road cooperation. As another major outcome of China-Cambodia friendship and cooperation, the Tboung Khmum China-Cambodia Friendship Hospital is the largest provincial hospital in Cambodia and will provide quality medical and health services to people in the five northern provinces and further enrich the China-Cambodia community with a shared future. China will continue to conduct medical and health cooperation with Cambodia and support it in developing its economy and improving people’s livelihood.
The Paper: The 2022 Business Climate Survey released by AmCham China on March 8 shows that 58% of respondents estimate higher revenue in 2021. China remains a top three priority investment destination for 60% of the member companies’ near term global investment plans. 66% of member companies plan to increase their investments in China in 2022. 83% of them do not consider relocating manufacturing or sourcing outside of China. Do you have any comment?
Zhao Lijian: The survey report released by the American Chamber of Commerce in the People’s Republic of China (AmCham China) is further endorsement by foreign businesses of China’s investment and business environment and a vote of confidence in China’s development. Looking ahead, the strong resilience, ample potential and fundamentals sustaining long-term growth of China’s economy remain unchanged. China will continue to deepen reform, expand opening-up, and foster a market-oriented international business environment with rule of law. This will provide more opportunities for foreign businesses including those from the US as they invest and operate in China.
China-US economic and trade ties are mutually-beneficial and win-win in nature. While making huge profits in China, US companies also contribute to China’s economic development. It is our hope that the US government could embrace the vision of openness, inclusiveness, mutual benefit and win-win outcomes, stop unjustified restriction and suppression against Chinese enterprises, and create enabling conditions for the sound development of China-US economic and trade cooperation.
China Daily: As we have learned, the Turkish side recently said that due to Greece’s failure of fulfilling the demilitarization obligation in the eastern Aegean according to the Treaty of Lausanne and the Paris Peace Treaty, Turkey has the right to question Greece’s sovereignty over the islands concerned. Turkey’s Foreign Minister Mevlüt Çavuşoğlu said he will facilitate discussions over the islands’ sovereignty with relevant parties to the treaties. What is China’s comment on this?
Zhao Lijian: It is China’s consistent position that all countries’ sovereignty and territorial integrity should be respected and defended. The escalation of tension in the eastern Mediterranean region serves no party’s interest. We hope parties concerned can resolve differences through dialogue and consultation, avoid making moves that may raise tension, and jointly safeguard peace and stability in the eastern Mediterranean region.
Bloomberg: The United Nations has said that 1.7 million people have fled Ukraine. They’ve also said more than 400 civilians have been killed. And the World Bank has approved a $700 million support package for Ukraine. Does China have any other position you’d like to put forward today on whether or not Russia actually invaded Ukraine?
Zhao Lijian: China’s position on the Ukraine issue is clear and consistent. State Councilor and Foreign Minister Wang Yi has fully elaborated on that at yesterday’s press conference on the sidelines of the two sessions.
Hubei Media Group: Alice Weidel, co-leader of the German political party Alternative for Germany (AfD), said in public that the hardliners in the West who still live by the outdated logic of the Cold War have promised Ukraine the impossible membership in NATO, thus arrogantly denying Russia’s great power status. It is a historical failure. Sanctions will not be able to end the war in Ukraine. All parties should approach geopolitics with a realistic and cool-headed view and make all-out effort to create a European security architecture, but only without the "black-and-white thinking that we are the West and they are the East". Do you have any comment?
Zhao Lijian: This is a very rational and penetrating view. In fact, dating back to as early as 1997, George Kennan, former US ambassador to the Soviet Union, warned that expanding NATO up to Russia’s borders would be the most fateful error of American policy in the entire post-Cold-War era. In 2014, Dr. Kissinger said that Ukraine must not be either side’s outpost against the other, and Ukraine becoming a member of NATO would be a “red line”. US professor John Mearsheimer said in 2015 that while guided by the Monroe Doctrine, the US has never stopped its effort to drag Ukraine into the Western camp. Russia, as a great power, will never agree to such move by the US and the West. Thomas L. Friedman, a renowned American expert in international affairs, said in his recent article that America and NATO aren’t innocent bystanders in the Ukraine crisis. In his view, a “huge log” fueling this fire was the decision by the US to expand NATO eastward. Regrettably, these fair, objective and rational assessments have failed to be incorporated into the policy of the US, the West and NATO.
China always believes that the security of one country should not come at the expense of the security of other countries, still less should regional security be realized by expanding military blocs. The Ukraine issue has gone far beyond the bilateral scope of Russia-Ukraine relations. Given NATO’s five consecutive rounds of eastward expansion, Russia’s legitimate security demands ought to be taken seriously and properly addressed. Just as State Councilor and Foreign Minister Wang Yi said yesterday, to resolve the current crisis, we must uphold the purposes and principles of the UN Charter and respect and protect the sovereignty and territorial integrity of all countries. We must adhere to the principle of indivisible security and accommodate the legitimate concerns of the parties involved. We must settle disputes by peaceful means through dialogue and negotiation. And we must keep in mind the long-term peace and stability of the region and put in place a balanced, effective and sustainable European security architecture. China is prepared to continue playing a constructive role to facilitate dialogue for peace and work alongside the international community when needed to carry out necessary mediation.
Bloomberg: Vietnam’s Foreign Ministry said it has asked China not to violate its exclusive economic zone and continental shelf with military drills. The comments were apparently in response to Chinese military exercises taking place between Hainan and Vietnam from March 4 to March 15. Does China’s Foreign Ministry have a comment?
Zhao Lijian: It is reasonable, lawful and irreproachable for China to conduct military exercises on its own doorstep.
Today is the International Women’s Day. As Chairman Mao Zedong said, women can hold up half the sky. Thanks to them, the world is a more loving place. They fill families with warmth and add brilliant colors to life. I would like to extend my best wishes to them on this special day. May you live your dream, stay young at heart, and glow with beauty, grace and happiness.