Shenzhen TV: The presidential election in Uzbekistan has concluded smoothly, with initial voting results showing that incumbent President Shavkat Mirziyoyev has won another term. What's China's comment? Has the Chinese side sent congratulations? How do you see China-Uzbekistan relations going forward?
Zhao Lijian: China extends congratulations on the successful presidential election in Uzbekistan and President Mirziyoyev's re-election. President Xi Jinping has sent a congratulatory message to President Mirziyoyev. Under his leadership, the vision of a new Uzbekistan will surely become reality.
China and Uzbekistan are comprehensive strategic partners and friendly neighbors with a high-level bilateral relationship. China attaches great importance to relations with Uzbekistan. As the two sides mark the 30th anniversary of the establishment of diplomatic relations next year, China stands ready to build on the momentum of the commemoration and work hand in hand with Uzbekistan to carry forward our traditional friendship and pursue high-quality Belt and Road cooperation to benefit both countries and peoples.
CCTV: We've noticed that a series of test matches for the winter Olympics started on October 5 under the theme of Experience Beijing. Yesterday, the first editions of the Beijing 2022 Playbooks were released. With all this, we can feel the approaching Olympics in the air in Beijing. I wonder if you have any comment on this?
Zhao Lijian: Just as you said, we can already feel the approaching Olympics in the air in Beijing. With the arrival of the Olympic flame from Greece, Beijing is once again embracing the Olympics. The Experience Beijing test matches are underway in the competition zones in Beijing and Yanqing, which will host 10 international matches, three international training weeks and two domestic testing activities. Athletes from various countries all spoke highly of the quality of the venues, testing environment and logistics support. Yesterday the International Olympic Committee (IOC), the International Paralympic Committee (IPC) and the Beijing Organising Committee for the 2022 Olympic and Paralympic Winter Games (Beijing 2022) published the first editions of the Beijing 2022 Playbooks, which will help participants prepare for travelling to and arriving in China and fulfilling their roles at the Olympic and Paralympic Winter Games.
We will start the 100-day countdown to Beijing 2022 tomorrow. After more than six years, preparation work has entered the home stretch. In 100 days, the Olympic flame will once again ignite Beijing, the first city in the world to host both the summer and winter Olympic Games. In 100 days, Chinese winter sports athletes will be playing in front of their home crowd for the very first time. In 100 days, athletes from all over the world will chase their dreams in Beijing. We are looking forward with eager excitement to all this.
It is China's promise to the world to host a streamlined, safe and splendid Olympic games. We have every confidence and capability to honor this promise. Athletes from all countries are welcome to experience Beijing and share the excitement and fun of the winter Olympics in February 2022.
Hubei Media Group: According to reports, hate crimes against people of Asian descent rose by 76% in the US in 2020, according to republished data by the FBI on October 25. What is China's comment?
Zhao Lijian: The number you mentioned is heart-wrenching. In fact, since the outbreak of COVID-19, bullying of and even attacks on people of Asian descent abound in the US. According to a report that surveyed young Asian Americans published on the website of the National Broadcasting Corporation, over the past year, a quarter of young Asian Americans became targets of racial discrimination and bullying, nearly half of the respondents expressed pessimism about their situation, and a quarter of the respondents expressed fear about the situation of themselves and their families.
The latest number epitomizes the dark track record of US human rights conditions. It is a known fact that the sufferings of hate crimes are not limited to Asian Americans. People who cannot breathe go beyond people like George Floyd and systemic racism remains endemic in the US society. People wonder: When will police brutality against racial minorities wane and end in the US? When will Islamophobia permeating the US society vanish?
The latest number also raises doubts about the US motive of returning to the UN Human Rights Council. Is it rejoining with sincerity to improve its own human rights conditions and participate in promoting global human rights development, or to continue to use human rights as a political tool and stoke division and turbulence in places across the world in a way that serves its own geopolitical interests? The US should face squarely and redress its own problems of human rights violations, stop the wrong moves of politicizing human rights problems or using them as tools, and earnestly take the responsibility of respecting and protecting human rights.
Global Times: The War Zone column of the US military website The Drive published an article, in which a satellite image shows that nuclear submarine USS Connecticut was back to the US naval facility in Guam after its collision with an unknown object in the South China Sea, where the damage would be assessed and the vessel be repaired. In fact, more than three weeks on, the US side has remained very tight-lipped about various questions about the incident. Do you have any comment?
Zhao Lijian: The Chinese side has repeatedly expressed grave concerns over the matter and asked the US side to make clarifications.
However, as of now, we have seen nothing but a brief and vague statement issued by the US military with procrastination, and a confirmation by a so-called informant that the incident did happen in the South China Sea. Such an irresponsible, cagey practice gives regional countries and the international community every reason to question the truth of the incident and the intention of the US.
For quite a long time, the US has stirred up troubles in the South China Sea under the guise of "freedom of navigation", posing serious threats and major risks to the peace and stability in the region. It's justified for China and other littoral states of the South China Sea to ask the US to answer the following questions: What was USS Connecticut up to do secretively in the South China Sea this time? What did it collide with? Why did that collision happen? Was there a nuclear leak that creates nuclear contamination in the marine environment? As the party directly involved, the onus is on the US to give a detailed explanation in response to the concerns and doubts of regional countries and the international community.
In the meantime, I also want to stress that the South China Sea is where all countries in the region call home, not a hunting ground for the US to pursue geopolitical interests. The US has frequently sent a large number of military vessels and aircraft to the South China Sea to make provocations, stir up troubles and flex muscles. Such moves have undermined the freedom of navigation in the South China Sea and threatened China and other countries' sovereignty and security, making the US the biggest force for militarization of the South China Sea. The US should change its course and stop such erroneous acts, and play a positive role in upholding peace and stability in the South China Sea.
MASTV: KCNA recently reported that DPRK Deputy Foreign Minister Pak Myong Ho said the US clamor for Taiwan independence is escalating military tensions and may increase the tensions on the Korean Peninsula. He also said the DPRK supports China's position of reunification. What is your comment?
Zhao Lijian: Taiwan is an inalienable part of China's territory. The Taiwan question is purely China's internal affair, which allows no interference by external forces. China will firmly defend national sovereignty and territorial integrity, oppose any country's interference in the Taiwan question, and acts that undermine regional peace and stability. As a close and friendly neighbor, China will strengthen communication and cooperation with the DPRK, safeguard peace and stability of the Korean Peninsula and the whole region and defend shared interests of the two countries.
Bloomberg: The US and China made some progress in trade talks today. What further progress could be made if the US doesn't remove tariffs on Chinese exports and sanctions on Chinese companies?
Zhao Lijian: I would refer you to competent authorities in China for your specific question.
Yonhap News Agency: Former ROK President Roh Tae-woo passed away today. During his time in office, the ROK and China established diplomatic relations. Do you have any comment?
Zhao Lijian: Just like you said, Mr. Roh Tae-woo was friendly toward China. He made important contributions to the establishment of diplomatic relations between China and the ROK and the development of bilateral relations. We deeply mourn his passing and extend sincere condolences to his family.
Bloomberg: Will Xi Jinping attend the COP26 event coming soon in Scotland?
Zhao Lijian: My colleagues and I have answered the question on multiple occasions. I have no more information to offer.
MASTV: According to reports, Joseph Wu will visit Slovakia and the Czech Republic soon. What is your comment?
Zhao Lijian: Joseph Wu is a typical "Taiwan independence" separatist, who makes such visits with the real purpose of advocating "Taiwan independence" and separatism, creating the illusion of "one China, one Taiwan", and pitting China and countries it has diplomatic ties with against each other and hurting their relations. China expresses its firm opposition to certain countries' connivance of "Taiwan independence" separatists, and asks the countries to abide by the one-China principle and not to create platforms for any activities by "Taiwan independence" separatists. We also warn the Taiwan authorities that any attempt to seek "Taiwan independence" by soliciting foreign support is bound to fail. China has firm resolve to safeguard national sovereignty and territorial integrity, and will take all necessary measures to resolutely crush all attempts at "Taiwan independence".