Foreign Ministry Spokesperson Zhao Lijian’s Regular Press Conference on December 28, 2021
Phoenix TV: First, High Representative of the European Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy Josep Borrell published an article on the website of the European External Action Service on December 27 to review the work and international landscape in 2021. It noted that, “On China we maintained EU unity, recognizing that the EU sees the country as a partner, competitor and systemic rival, all at the same time. In 2021, the worsening of the human rights situation inside China, its regional behaviour, as well as the decision to sanction MEPs and other EU official bodies and most recently its coercion of Lithuania have all taken their toll.” Do you have any comment on that? Second, Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said on December 27 that the West does not want to have any comparable rivals with similar influence in the international arena. This attitude of the western countries explains this “hysteria towards the rise of China”. China has accepted the rules of the game that the West introduced and with the western rules “surpassed the West in her own stadium”. Do you have any response?
Zhao Lijian: On your first question, China-EU relations have encountered some setbacks and difficulties this year. The main reason is that the EU insists on unilateral and illegal sanctions against China based on false accusations and disinformation, which has led to a situation that neither side wants to see and taught us a profound lesson. In 2019, the EU issued a policy paper on China, which described China as a partner, competitor and systemic rival. The EU should also reflect on what impact this has had on China-EU relations and beyond.
As two major independent forces in the world, China and the EU share broad strategic consensus and common interests. Cooperation between the two sides far outweighs competition, and our areas of consensus far exceed differences. Partnership can solve difficulties, while rivalry can only create difficulties. We hope that the EU will respect facts, respect China, have a correct understanding of China, grasp the mainstream of China-EU relations and the key feature of win-win cooperation, and jointly promote the sound and steady development of China-EU relations so that we can make joint contributions to world stability and prosperity.
Regarding what you mentioned about China-Russia relations, we appreciate Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov’s relevant remarks. China follows an independent foreign policy of peace. China is always a builder of world peace, a contributor to global development, a guardian of international order and a provider of public goods. It actively promotes the building of a new type of international relations and a community with a shared future for mankind.
I want to stress that the China-Russia comprehensive strategic partnership of coordination for a new era has weathered all kinds of tests and stands rock solid. In the meantime, the purpose of China-Russia cooperation has never been to defeat anyone, but to promote the development of both countries and deliver win-win results to all parties. We stand ready to work with Russia and the rest of the international community to firmly uphold the international system with the UN at its core and the international order based on international law, support and practice multilateralism, encourage deepening mutually beneficial cooperation between countries, continuously inject new impetus into and provide more stabilizing forces to world peace and development.