From December 17 to 22, invited by the governments of the Republic of Uganda, the Republic of the Congo and the Republic of Senegal, Member of the Political Bureau of the CPC Central Committee and Director of the Office of the Foreign Affairs Commission of the CPC Central Committee Yang Jiechi will pay official visits to Uganda, the Republic of the Congo and Senegal to discuss bilateral friendly relations, the implementation of the outcomes of the FOCAC Beijing Summit, and regional and international issues of mutual interest.
Q: A question on the phase-one trade deal between China and the US. Can you tell us maybe when it will be signed? The US side said it should be in early January, can you confirm it and tell us where it will be signed and who will sign it?
A: Chinese officials in charge of this matter talked about this and answered questions from the press on the China-US phase-one trade agreement in a press briefing held by the State Council Information Office last Friday night.
Our two sides still need to go through necessary procedures including legal reviewing and translation proofreading. After that, we will decide when, where and how we will sign it. Working-level discussions are still going on between China and the US. We will keep you updated if anything comes up.
Q: A New York Times report over the weekend said that the US government expelled two Chinese embassy officials after they drove onto a sensitive military base in Virginia. The article described it as the first expulsion of Chinese diplomats suspected of espionage in more than 30 years. Can you comment on that?
A: The US accusation on our officials is completely inconsistent with the truth. We made stern representations and protests to the US side. We urge the US to correct its mistake, withdraw this decision and protect Chinese diplomats’ legitimate rights and interests according to the Vienna Convention on Consular Relations. We’d like to remind the US that it is a reciprocal process for countries to grant work-related convenience and guarantee to foreign diplomats following the Vienna Convention on Consular Relations.
Q: UN Secretary-General António Guterres was disappointed by the climate change conference in Madrid, saying it’s a lost opportunity. A lot of countries blamed each other. Some countries and activists blamed China and India for not improving their current emission reduction plans. What’s China’s take on the summit? Should anyone be responsible for this lost opportunity?
A: The COP 25 to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) concluded after a two-day postponement. China regrets that parties failed to reach a substantive consensus on core issues due to differences on key points.
But on the other hand, though the US has started withdrawing from the Paris Agreement, there were over 30 decisions adopted at the conference on matters regarding the UNFCCC, the Kyoto Protocol and the Paris Agreement, which include the “Chile-Madrid Time for Action” decision that affirms multilateralism and climate action, as well as a series of procedural arrangement on matters relating to market mechanisms in Article 6 of the Paris Agreement. Although these outcomes fall short of international expectation, China believes they have prepared the ground for a substantive consensus in the future.
This conference marked disagreement especially between developed and developing countries on issues like climate governance and burden-sharing, and the increasingly severe lack of support from developed nations to developing ones. We call on developed countries to strengthen new, additional support with public fund as a main source, increase financial transparency and make sure their support is commensurate with developing countries’ actions. At the same time, in order to achieve the global goals set by the Paris Agreement after 2020, while filling existing shortfalls, developed countries need to first take concrete actions, formulate viable policy approaches and share them with developing countries.
As the biggest developing country, while facing difficult tasks such as improving people’s lives, China has been actively fulfilling international responsibilities that are consistent with our development stage and domestic conditions, taking concrete police actions on climate change and implementing our commitments to the fullest extent. Our contributions are there for all to see. In 2018, China’s carbon dioxide emissions per unit of GDP dropped by 45.8% compared to that in 2005, which equals the amount of 5.26 billion tons of carbon dioxide. China’s investment in renewable energy is larger than any other country. We have 30% of world’s installed renewable energy capacity. In the same category, our increase is 44% of that globally. We have more than half of the world’s electric cars.
Also, China has been contributing to the achievements of the Madrid conference in an active and constructive manner.
I’d like to emphasize that to deal with climate change, the urgent task is to uphold multilateralism and implement the Paris Agreement on the basis of equity and in accordance with all parties’ common but differentiated responsibilities and respective capabilities. Working with all parties, China will continue to push for the conclusion of the “last mile” of the negotiations on the implementation of the Paris Agreement, to improve a global climate governance system that is fair, equitable and mutually beneficial, and to contribute to building a community with a shared future for mankind.
Q: CPJ, Committee to Protect Journalists, released a report today about China’s influence and operations in Hong Kong and Taiwan and how it is threatening press freedoms. Specifically the report details China using its commercial power as well as visa denials to wield this influence. Can you respond to the allegations in this report?
A: I haven’t read this report, but it is not the first time for institutions like that one to publish such reports. Those false words are not even worth refuting. Anyone with an objective and fair mind has a clear judgment on press freedoms in China.
Q: You said it is a reciprocal process for countries to grant work-related convenience and guarantee to foreign diplomats following the Vienna Convention on Consular Relations. Does that mean if the US does not overturn this decision, there will be some sort of reciprocal punishment? Will China consider expelling US diplomats?
A: This is only your interpretation of my answer.
Let me repeat myself. I’d like to remind the US that it is a reciprocal process for countries to grant convenience and guarantee to foreign diplomats following the Vienna Convention on Consular Relations.
Q: A question on the German football player Mesut Özil. He posted a message on Twitter on Friday about Uighurs, which triggered a lot of discussions online. What is your position on this tweet?
A: You may have noticed the response by the Chinese Football Association. As a stationed journalist in China, I believe you know the Chinese people’s reaction to this.
Xinjiang has long been an inalienable part of China’s territory and never been called “East Turkestan” in the Chinese history. In fact, there has never been a state known as “East Turkestan”.
I don’t know if Mr. Özil has visited Xinjiang before, but he seems to be blindfolded by some fake news and his judgment was clouded by falsehoods.
What he doesn’t know is that the Chinese government protects our citizens’ freedom of religious belief, the Uighur ethnic group included, in accordance with law; that the measures taken by the Chinese government to fight terrorism and maintain stability in Xinjiang are endorsed by local people of various ethnic groups; that Xinjiang has not experienced a single terrorist attack for three years in a row.
I want to tell Mr. Özil that Xinjiang enjoys political stability, economic growth, ethnic solidarity and social harmony, and residents there are leading a happy life.
We welcome Mr. Özil to visit Xinjiang and see the place with his own eyes. As long as he still has an unbiased mind and the conscience to tell the truth, he will see a Xinjiang different from what he thought it was.
Follow-up: Are you happy with the response from his club Arsenal and from the English Premier League to this incident?
A: As I believe you noticed, the Chinese Football Association has responded to this matter. As a journalist working in China, I think you know how the Chinese people view this and their reactions.
Follow-up: Already a game featuring Arsenal has not been televised on Chinese television. Do you expect this might happen again with this club or the English Premier League?
A: I’ll leave the specifics to the media agency concerned.