Foreign Ministry Spokesperson Lin Jian’s Regular Press Conference on June 18, 2024

From June 19 to 26, at the invitation of Member of the Political Bureau of the CPC Central Committee and Foreign Minister Wang Yi, Nigeria’s Foreign Minister Yusuf Maitama Tuggar will pay an official visit to China. During his visit, the two foreign ministers will co-chair the first Plenary Session of China-Nigeria Inter-governmental Committee.

CCTV: Premier Li Qiang today concluded his first official visit to Australia with stops in Adelaide, Canberra and Perth on a tight schedule. Could you share with us more details and the major outcomes of the visit?

Lin Jian: At the invitation of Australian Prime Minister Anthony Albanese, Premier Li Qiang paid an official visit to Australia from June 15 to 18.

Yesterday, Premier Li Qiang and Prime Minister Albanese co-chaired the Ninth China-Australia Annual Leaders’ Meeting and jointly met the press. Noting that this year marks the 10th anniversary of President Xi Jinping’s state visit to Australia and the establishment of China-Australia comprehensive strategic partnership, Premier Li Qiang pointed out that the most important experience drawn from the past decade of development of China-Australia relations is that the two sides should respect each other, seek common ground while shelving differences and engage in mutually-beneficial cooperation. Since Prime Minister Albanese’s visit to China last November, more progress has been made in resuming and enhancing dialogue and cooperation between China and Australia in various fields, leading to the comprehensive turnaround of bilateral relations. China is ready to work with Australia to sustain and build on the hard-won positive momentum in bilateral ties, and jointly advance a more mature, stable and fruitful comprehensive strategic partnership to deliver more benefits to the two peoples.

Premier Li Qiang pointed out that the China-Australia relationship is mutually beneficial in nature, and the two countries’ development is each other’s opportunities, not challenges. China is ready to work with Australia to uphold the comprehensive strategic partnership, give full play to such mechanisms as the China-Australia Strategic Economic Dialogue, expand trade, broaden cooperation in areas like new energy vehicles and renewable energy power generation, and step up exchanges and cooperation in culture, tourism and other fields and at the sub-national level. Premier Li Qiang expressed the hope that Australia will foster a fair, just and non-discriminatory environment for Chinese businesses, and provide more facilitation for travel between the two peoples. China is ready to step up coordination and cooperation with Australia at the regional and international levels, stand against bloc confrontation and a new Cold War in the interest of peace and stability in the region, stay open and inclusive, thrive together, and jointly promote regional economic integration and an open world economy.

The two prime ministers agreed to uphold the China-Australia comprehensive strategic partnership, cement the momentum of improvement and growth in bilateral relations, and jointly uphold regional and global peace, stability and prosperity. The two sides announced that they will hold the 10th meeting of the Joint Science and Technology Commission, the Eighth China-Australia High-Level Dialogue, and the Eighth China-Australia Ministerial Dialogue on Climate Change in Australia within this year. The two sides confirmed the plan to resume the China-Australia Strategic Economic Dialogue this year, agreed to hold the next round of China-Australia Annual Leaders’ Meeting in 2025. Both sides welcomed the further increase of people-to-people exchanges. China will include Australia in its unilateral visa waiver program, and the two sides agreed to provide each other with reciprocal access to multiple-entry visas of up to three to five years’ duration for tourism, business, and visiting family members.

After the meeting, the two prime ministers jointly witnessed the signing of multiple bilateral cooperation documents on strategic economic dialogue, the implementation of free trade agreement, climate change response, education and culture, among others. The two sides issued the Statement on Joint Outcomes of the China-Australia Annual Leaders’ Meeting.

During his visit in Canberra, Premier Li Qiang also met with Australian Governor-General David Hurley, President of the Australian Senate Sue Lines, Speaker of the Australian House of Representatives Milton Dick and Leader of the Opposition Peter Dutton. In Adelaide, Premier Li Qiang looked at the China-Australia cooperative research on the conservation of giant pandas. Today in Perth, Premier Li Qiang and Prime Minister Albanese jointly attended the China-Australia CEO Roundtable Meeting.

China News Service: It was reported that the China-EU Human Rights Dialogue was held in China a few days ago. Can you share some details about how the dialogue went?

Lin Jian: From June 13 to 17, China and the EU held the new round of Human Rights Dialogue in China. In Beijing, Assistant Minister of Foreign Affairs Miao Deyu met with the head of the EU delegation, Deputy Managing Director for Asia and the Pacific at the European External Action Service Paola Pampaloni. Director General of the Department of International Organizations and Conferences of the Foreign Ministry Shen Bo and Paola Pampaloni co-chaired the China-EU Human Rights Dialogue in Chongqing. Representatives from China’s legislative, judicial, ethnic and women departments attended the dialogue. The Chinese side fully elaborated on China’s human rights development path, philosophy and achievements and China’s position and propositions on global human rights governance. The Chinese side protested against the China-related contents in the 2023 Annual Report on Human Rights and Democracy in the World and the annual reports on Hong Kong and Macao recently released by the EU, stressed that affairs related to Xinjiang, Xizang and Hong Kong as well as individual judicial cases are purely China’s internal affairs that brook no external interference, and asked the EU to earnestly respect facts and the human rights development path independently chosen by the Chinese people and stop interfering in China’s internal affairs under the pretext of human rights. In response to the EU’s groundless accusations against China’s judicial procedure, death penalty, labor rights and issues related to ethnic groups and regions, China laid out the facts that prove otherwise and firmly refuted these allegations. The Chinese side pointed to the human rights issues that exist in EU countries, including racial discrimination, infringement on the rights of refugees and immigrants, restriction on freedom of speech, religious hatred, judicial unfairness and violence against women, and asked the EU side to earnestly resolve these issues. Both sides believed that the dialogue was candid, profound and conducive to better mutual understanding, and both sides expressed readiness to explore cooperation in multilateral human rights areas concerning economic, social and cultural rights, women, children and people with disability.    

On the margins of the dialogue, the EU delegation visited the Xizang Autonomous Region, where they visited local programs related to socioeconomic development, ethnic community, religion, education, culture, human rights and the rule of law. The delegation said they gained  understanding of the reality in the region, especially how relevant policies work and what they have achieved. The delegation also had discussions and exchanged views with Chinese human rights experts in Beijing.

Let me stress that China stands ready to conduct exchange and cooperation on human rights with the EU on the basis of equality and mutual respect to enhance mutual understanding and trust, broaden consensus, resolve differences and make progress together. That said, China firmly opposes politicizing human rights issues and double standards, opposes imposing one’s own development models on others, opposes interfering in China’s internal affairs under the pretext of human rights issues, and opposes megaphone diplomacy on multilateral platforms. We hope the EU will work with us in the same direction, uphold dialogue and cooperation instead of confrontation and pressuring, and jointly contribute to the international human rights cause.

Global Times: The Venezuelan government released a statement on June 17 to strongly oppose the process of a US court-mandated auction of Citgo Petroleum Corporation, a subsidiary of Venezuelan national oil company PDVSA in the US, calling the action a clear violation of the law and plundering of Venezuela’s assets. What’s China’s comment?

Lin Jian: China stands firmly for the UN Charter and the basic norms governing international relations. We oppose the US’s unlawful unilateral sanctions and long-arm jurisdiction against Venezuela. The US needs to fully stop interfering in the internal affairs of Venezuela right away, lift all unlawful unilateral sanctions on Venezuela, and do things that are conducive to peace, stability and development of Venezuela and other countries. 

Kyodo News: Russian President Putin will arrive in Pyongyang this afternoon for a state visit to the DPRK. What is your comment on the current sound relations between Russia and the DPRK?

Lin Jian: We answered similar questions before. This is bilateral engagement between Russia and the DPRK.

Bloomberg: A bipartisan group of US lawmakers led by House Foreign Affairs Committee Chairman Michael McCaul, including former House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, is visiting Dharamshala and will meet Dalai Lama soon. Also, at the same time, the US Congress passed the Resolve Tibet Act this week. The legislation strengthens US support for Tibet. President Joe Biden is expected to sign the bill into law soon. Would the Foreign Ministry like to comment on these two developments?

Lin Jian: It’s known by all that the 14th Dalai Lama is not a pure religious figure, but a political exile engaged in anti-China separatist activities under the cloak of religion. We are gravely concerned over the relevant reports and urge the US side to fully recognize the anti-China separatist nature of the Dalai group, honor the commitments the US has made to China on issues related to Xizang, have no contact with the Dalai group in any form, and stop sending the wrong signal to the world.

On the relevant act in the US Congress, let me stress that Xizang has always been part of China since ancient times. Xizang’s affairs are purely China’s domestic affairs and no external interference will ever be allowed. Xizang today enjoys social stability and harmony, with sound economic performance and people’s well-being well protected. Xizang keeps making fresh progress in effectively running its society and achieving high-quality development. No one and no force should ever attempt to destabilize Xizang to contain and suppress China. Such attempts will never succeed.

We urge the US side to adhere to its commitments of recognizing Xizang as part of China and not supporting “Xizang independence.” The US must not sign the bill into law. China will take resolute measures to firmly defend its sovereignty, security and development interests.  

Bloomberg: We’ve seen indications that from July 1, Chinese citizens can no longer enter Ecuador without a visa. Ecuador has been obviously the starting point of a land journey that tens of thousands of Chinese migrants take to reach the US. Does the Foreign Ministry have any comment on this?

Lin Jian: The agreement on mutual visa exemption between China and Ecuador, since it took effect in August 2016, has played an important and positive role in promoting cross-border travel and practical cooperation in various fields between the two countries. The Chinese government firmly opposes all forms of human smuggling. In recent years, Chinese law enforcement departments have made tremendous efforts to fight crimes that involve obstructing national frontier and border administration, and remained tough on all kinds of human smuggling groups and individuals engaged in illegal immigration. Their effort has produced good results. At the same time, Chinese law enforcement departments are working with relevant countries to jointly tackle human smuggling activities, repatriate illegal immigrants and maintain a good order in cross-border travel.

AFP: NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg warned China yesterday, saying that if China continues to provide military technologies for Russia and help Russia in the Ukraine war, allies need to impose a cost on China. What’s your comment? 

Lin Jian: NATO is the legacy of the Cold War and the world’s biggest military group. The world has seen what kind of role NATO has played in the Ukraine crisis. What NATO should do is reflect on itself, rather than smear and attack China. China is not a creator of or a party to the Ukraine crisis. We are committed to promoting talks for peace. China’s objective and just position and constructive role are widely recognized by the international community. We urge relevant parties to stop deflecting the blame and sowing discord, stop fueling the flame and inciting bloc confrontation, and take concrete actions to promote the political settlement of the crisis.