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Foreign Ministry Spokesperson Zhao Lijian's Regular Press Conference on October 14, 2021
2021-10-14 20:42

CRI: The Kunming Declaration was adopted on October 13 at the 15th meeting of the Conference of the Parties to the Convention on Biological Diversity (COP15) to call on all parties to take actions to build a shared future for all life on Earth. Can you give us more details?

Zhao Lijian: On October 13, the high-level segment of COP15 concluded in Kunming, Yunnan province, where the Kunming Declaration was adopted, calling on all parties to take actions to build a shared future for all life on Earth.

As a political declaration, the main purpose of the Kunming Declaration is to reflect the political will of all parties, send a strong signal, and show to the world the determination and actions of all parties to solve the problem of biodiversity loss. The release of the Kunming Declaration will help advance biodiversity protection, reverse the current trend of biodiversity loss and realize the 2050 vision of "living in harmony with Nature".

At the COP15 leaders' summit, President Xi Jinping announced China's initiative to establish a Kunming Biodiversity Fund and take the lead by investing 1.5 billion RMB yuan to support biodiversity protection in developing countries. We are ready to take this as an opportunity and a new starting point to join hands with other parties to protect biodiversity, tackle climate change and protect the planet we call home.

China Review News: Pentagon Press Secretary John F. Kirby told journalists on Tuesday that "the PRC has stepped up efforts to intimidate and pressure Taiwan and other allies and partners; including increasing their military activities, conducted in the vicinity of Taiwan, the East China Sea and the South China Sea; which we believe are destabilizing and only increase the risk of miscalculation." What is China's comment?

Zhao Lijian: Taiwan is China's Taiwan. The US is in no position to make irresponsible remarks. Relevant steps taken by China are legitimate and reasonable measures to safeguard its sovereignty, security, territorial integrity and rights and interests. With joint efforts of China and other neighbouring countries around the South China Sea, the situation in the South China Sea is generally stable at present. The remarks on the US side are in grave violation of the one-China principle and the stipulations of the three China-US joint communiques. The US' deliberate attempt to drive a wedge between China and regional countries with the relevant issues has sent out an extremely erroneous and irresponsible message. China deplores and firmly opposes this.

For some time, the US has been making negative moves by selling arms to Taiwan and strengthening its official and military ties with Taiwan, including the launch of a $750 million arms sale plan to Taiwan, the landing of US military aircraft in Taiwan and frequent sailing of US warships across the Taiwan Strait. The US has been stirring up trouble, flexing muscles in the South China Sea and China's neighboring areas and stoking geopolitical confrontation. This has fully revealed that the US is a troublemaker, a saboteur of regional peace and stability, and a spoiler of solidarity and cooperation.

The US side should take China's position and concerns seriously, earnestly abide by the one-China principle and the stipulations of the three China-US joint communiques, and stop making irresponsible remarks on Taiwan and maritime issues.

AFP: The World Health Organization yesterday named a new scientific group to study the origins of COVID-19 and viruses with the potential to spark epidemics and pandemics in the future. Does China have any response to that? If they want to conduct investigations here in China, will China agree to that?

Zhao Lijian: The Chinese side noted the World Health Organization announced on its website proposed members of the WHO Scientific Advisory Group for the Origins of Novel Pathogens (SAGO), including Yang Yungui, the Deputy Director at the Beijing Institute of Genomics at the Chinese Academy of Sciences in China.

China always maintains that origins-tracing is a serious and complex scientific issue, which should be undertaken by scientists around the world through joint research. Since the outbreak of COVID-19, China has taken the lead in conducting joint research with the WHO and invited WHO experts to China twice for field visits, which have yielded important and positive results and laid a good foundation for global scientific cooperation on origins-tracing. China will continue to support and participate in global scientific origins-tracing and firmly oppose any form of political manipulation. We hope that all parties concerned, including the WHO Secretariat and SAGO will adopt an objective, scientific and responsible attitude, follow the requirements and relevant mandates of the WHA resolution, take the first phase of joint study as the basis, adhere to a global perspective, perform their duties in an objective and fair manner, and truly make a positive contribution to global origins-tracing and anti-epidemic cooperation.

Hubei Media Group: In his article titled Climate justice: The real story published on October 11, Professor Kishore Mahbubani, a renowned scholar in Singapore, acknowledged China's climate actions and contributions and refuted some politicians' wrong views of putting the responsibility to address climate change on developing countries like China and India. He said that China has been enhancing its commitments and taking concrete actions in contrast to the US' withdrawal from agreements. Do you have any comment?

Zhao Lijian: That's very well-put indeed! Professor Kishore Mahbubani is making a very good point because he tells the truth. For example, he said that the largest emitter in cumulative terms is the US.

Climate change is the result of cumulative emissions of greenhouse gases. Developed countries have unshirkable and historical responsibility since they have been releasing greenhouse gases into the atmosphere for the past 200 years or so of industrialization. The US' cumulative historical emissions per capita are eight times that of China. The US has seriously undermined the confidence in and effectiveness of global cooperation on climate change by refusing to ratify the Kyoto Protocol and withdrawing from the Paris Agreement. For many countries, there is still a big question mark about whether US climate policy will change or even backpedal again. At present, the challenge of climate change is becoming increasingly serious which underlines the urgency of international cooperation. Developed countries should earnestly follow the principle of common but differentiated responsibilities, face squarely their historical responsibilities, demonstrate greater ambition and actions, and take the lead in fulfilling emission reduction obligations. Meanwhile, they should provide financial, technological and capacity building support to help developing countries enhance their capacity to respond to climate challenges.

China has been contributing to global climate governance, leading efforts in ecological protection, and taking actions to implement the Paris Agreement. It will take 71 years for the EU, 43 years for the US and 37 years for Japan, all of which are developed countries, to achieve carbon neutrality from carbon peak. However, China has set itself a time limit of only 30 years. The time taken by the EU, the US and Japan is 2.4 times, 1.4 times and 1.2 times that of China respectively. China, the largest developing country, will move from carbon peak to carbon neutrality in the shortest time, which demonstrates China's sense of responsibility as a major country. Besides, China recently announced that it will step up support for other developing countries in developing green and low-carbon energy, and will not build new coal-fired power projects abroad. This is another major measure to address climate change and positive contribution to global green recovery. Looking ahead, China will continue to take the initiative in taking bolder climate actions and make even greater contributions to the global fight against climate change.

CCTV: Vice-President of the International Olympic Committee (IOC) John Coates said on October 13 that the IOC will not pressure 2022 Winter Olympics host China over its human rights record because it is not in the governing body's remit to dictate to sovereign countries. It is pointless for any country to boycott the Beijing Winter Olympics. Do you have any comment?

Zhao Lijian: We appreciate his remarks. The Beijing Winter Olympics will be held in February, 2022. Guided by the principles of hosting "green, inclusive, open and clean" events, China has carried out all preparatory work with hi