|Foreign Ministry Spokesperson Zhao Lijian's Regular Press Conference on August 18, 2021|
RIA Novosti: I'm wondering whether and under what conditions China will participate in the reconstruction of Afghanistan?
Zhao Lijian: The Afghan situation has seen major changes recently. The Afghan people aspire for peace and stability after over 40 years of war and chaos. China hopes that all parties in Afghanistan would resolve differences through dialogue and consultation, avert new conflicts and humanitarian disasters, and work toward a smooth transition in the Afghan situation.
As a friendly neighbor to and sincere friend of Afghanistan, China always upholds a friendly policy towards the entire Afghan people. This did not, does not and will not change. China will continue to support peace and reconstruction in Afghanistan, and provide help for socioeconomic development in Afghanistan as our ability permits.
China Review News: The Spokesperson of the Afghan Taliban said at a press conference on August 17 that "We don't want to repeat any conflict... We don't want any internal enemies and any external enemies." He added the rights of women would be respected within the framework of Islamic law, and the Taliban would seek good relations with other countries and intended to form an inclusive government in Afghanistan. Do you have any comment?
Zhao Lijian: We noted relevant remarks by the Afghan Taliban. China hopes that the Afghan Taliban and factions in Afghanistan will establish an open and inclusive political structure through dialogue and consultation, implement moderate and prudent domestic and foreign policies, and earnestly protect the safety of foreign institutions and personnel in Afghanistan. At the same time, we hope it will resolutely crack down on all kinds of terrorist forces, including the ETIM, and earnestly honor the commitment of not allowing any force to use Afghan territory to threaten the security of its neighbors. China will continue to work with the international community to support peace and reconstruction in Afghanistan and help it achieve lasting peace and stability.
Phoenix TV: We also noted that the United Nations Human Rights Council will hold a special session in Geneva next week to discuss the human rights situation in Afghanistan and concerns over it. What is China's position on this issue?
Zhao Lijian: The situation in Afghanistan has undergone major changes. We respect the will and choice of the Afghan people. The top priority is to restore peace, stability and order at an early date and avoid as much as possible unnecessary casualties and prevent causing a large number of refugees. The safety and interests of Afghan citizens, foreign nationals and diplomats in Afghanistan must be respected and guaranteed. We hope that the Afghan Taliban will form solidarity with all factions and ethnic groups in Afghanistan to establish an open and inclusive political structure that suits Afghanistan's national conditions, curb all kinds of terrorism and criminal acts, and rebuild their beautiful homeland.
Facts have once again proved that some countries' military intervention against a sovereign state in the name of democracy and human rights has seriously undermined the sovereignty and territorial integrity of relevant country, causing serious damage to its economic and social development and leading to massive civilian casualties and displacement. These countries should immediately stop illegal military intervention and make concrete efforts to safeguard world peace and security and promote and protect human rights.
People's Daily: Informed sources have revealed that the US still intends to release the report on origins tracing as scheduled and make up misleading conclusions on virus-leaking from the Wuhan Institute of Virology, although there is not any tangible progress in the "origins tracing investigation" by the US intelligence agencies yet. High-level officials of the US government believe that the investigation is not the purpose and that launching the investigation itself bears its meaning. Continuing to hype the "origins-tracing investigations" can exhaust China's diplomatic resources and increase US leverage toward China. In the meantime, the US has been pressuring the WHO and Director General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus to launch the "second-phase origins tracing" on China as soon as possible and pushing for a third-party independent investigation outside the framework of the WHO with allies as it sees necessary. Do you have any comment?
Zhao Lijian: I noted relevant reports. The words of senior US officials, as revealed in the reports, that "the investigation is not the purpose and that launching the investigation itself bears its meaning" is in itself a confession of the US manipulation for presumption of guilt. What the US cares about is not facts and truth, but how to consume and malign China. Isn't the US' malicious intention of political manipulation evident enough?
The world will no long be deceived by the old US ploy of set-up with a vial of washing powder. Instead, the international community is getting more and more suspicious of the US as it is sparing no effort to smear China by all means. Is it trying to deflect people's attention from the questionable points and spotty track records of the bio labs at Fort Detrick? What is the US trying to hide?
In addition to Fort Detrick, which the US is reticent about, the US has set up over 200 biological laboratories around the world to conduct bio-military activities under various names. The sites of US labs often see more outbreaks of diseases such as plague, anthrax and MERS. According to US media reports, the US military carried the novel coronavirus to Europe through a blood program in 2019 and civilian volunteers entering the US base in Italy in August that year became the earliest victims. Does the US side have any explanation?
China has always supported and will continue to participate in science-based origins study. We have twice invited WHO to China for joint research, which produced scientific and authoritative conclusions and laid the foundation for the next-phase global origins tracing work. What we firmly oppose is politicization of origins tracing. No matter how hard the US tries to smear and falsely accuse others, it does not help to dispel the doubts of the international community about the US' bio-labs all over the world. If the US has nothing to hide, it should invite the WHO to the US in an above-board manner to carry out origins tracing, especially at Fort Detrick and the University of North Carolina. This is the sincerity and attitude a country who really cares about global origins tracing is supposed to show.
AFP: Does China plan to recognize the Afghan Taliban government? If not now, on what conditions will China recognize it?
Zhao Lijian: It is a customary international practice that the recognition of a government comes after its formation. China's position on the Afghan issue is clear and consistent. We hope that Afghanistan can form an open, inclusive and broadly representative government that echoes the widely shared aspirations of its own people and the international community.
Bloomberg: Republican Senator Marco Rubio said that TikTok should be banned in the US given what he says are clear ties between the Chinese government and the app's parent company ByteDance. Does the foreign ministry have any comment on this?
Zhao Lijian: The US politician you mentioned has been making anti-China remarks tirelessly for his own interests in disregard of facts, and is doomed to end up in the dustbin of history. We suggest that this "elected representative" in the US take concrete measures for the benefit of the people instead of being obsessed with political manipulation and suppression of foreign companies.