Global Times: Some reports citing sources said on January 21 that President Biden is proposing to Russia a five-year extension of the New START treaty. Do you have a comment?
Hua Chunying: Extending the New START treaty by the United States and Russia will be conducive to safeguarding global strategic stability and international peace and security. We hope the U.S. side will continue to work with Russia in the same direction to extend the treaty, and on that basis, to further slash its nuclear arsenal, fulfill its special and primary responsibility in nuclear disarmament, and create enabling conditions for the ultimate comprehensive and complete nuclear disarmament.
China News Service: On January 21 local time, suicide bombers attacked a market bear Tayaran Square in central Baghdad, Iraq's capital city, which has killed more than 30 people and injured over 100. What is your comment?
Hua Chunying: The Chinese side strongly condemns the attacks. We mourn the victims and express our sympathy to the bereaved families and the injured. China firmly opposes all forms of terrorism and supports the efforts made by the Iraqi government in safeguarding national security and stability.
Phoenix TV: The European Parliament reviewed and adopted a resolution on Hong Kong, calling for the release of the arrested "democratic activists" and for charges to be dropped on the 12 people attempting illegal border-crossing. What's your comment on this?
Hua Chunying: I'd like to stress once again that Hong Kong affairs are entirely China's internal affairs. They have nothing to do with democracy or human rights and no foreign government, organization or individual has any right to interfere in them. Some members of the European Parliament distorted facts and pushed for the adoption of the resolution, blatantly interfering in Hong Kong affairs, which are China's internal affairs. We firmly reject this.
As we said repeatedly, China upholds rule of law and Hong Kong is a law-based society where laws must be observed and those who violate the law must be held accountable. The judicial organs handle cases according to law. Since the Law on Safeguarding National Security in the Hong Kong SAR took effect, Hong Kong has regained stability and rule of law and justice has been served. The lawful rights and freedoms of Hong Kong residents and foreign nationals in Hong Kong have been better protected in a safer environment. This is an undeniable fact.
We urge the European Parliament to face the fact that Hong Kong has returned to China, abide by international law and basic norms governing international relations, reject double standard, stop lecturing other countries on human rights, earnestly respect China's sovereignty and Hong Kong's rule of law, and stop in any way interfering in Hong Kong affairs and China's other internal affairs.
Beijing Daily: Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas has announced that elections in the Palestinian Legislative Council will be held on May 22, 2021, followed by a presidential vote on July 31, and then elections in the National Council, the supreme authority of the Palestine Liberation Organization. I wonder if China has a comment?
Hua Chunying: As Palestine's good friend and partner, China hopes that these elections will be held smoothly to enhance internal solidarity and better safeguard and promote the Palestinian people's interests.
Shenzhen TV: According to a recent poll conducted by YouGov and CBS in the United States, more than half of the respondents believe the biggest threat to America's way of life is "other people in the country", instead of external hostilities. The poll shows that only less than 10 percent believe the biggest threat is "foreign countries and military threats overseas". Do you have any comment on this?
Hua Chunying: People are always sharp-eyed. More often than not, one's biggest enemy is himself or comes from within. I believe more and more people have come to understand this, which is precisely why President Biden stressed in his inauguration speech that the country needs unity, and has too much to heal and restore.
Bloomberg: Financial Times reported that more than 200 Hong Kong politicians will receive coronavirus vaccine on the Chinese mainland so that they can attend the two sessions later this year. Can you confirm this? Will the vaccination be required for all delegates?
Hua Chunying: I'm not aware of the specifics you asked about. China has started vaccination for key groups. As for the two sessions, the schedule has been released, and we will ensure the successful and safe convening of the meetings.
Associated Press of Pakistan: Also a question about vaccine. According to reports, the Chinese government has promised to provide half a million doses of coronavirus vaccines to Pakistan by the end of this month. Do you have some detail to share with us?
Hua Chunying: Pakistan is China's all-weather strategic cooperative partner. The two sides have a fine tradition of mutual support and assistance. One can always count on a ready helping hand from the other in times of need. Since the outbreak of COVID-19, China and Pakistan have been working together to overcome difficulties. In order to support our brothers and sisters in Pakistan, the Chinese government has decided to provide a batch of vaccines as aid and will actively coordinate with the relevant Chinese enterprise to speed up export of vaccines to Pakistan. State Councilor Wang Yi shared this decision of the Chinese government with Pakistani Foreign Minister Qureshi yesterday during their phone call.
I also want to add that this year marks the 70th anniversary of the establishment of diplomatic ties between China and Pakistan. As the two foreign ministers said in the phone call, our time-tested rock solid friendship has become the most valuable strategic asset to both sides. No matter how the international landscape evolves, China-Pakistan friendly cooperation will continue moving forward. China is ready to take the 70th anniversary of the establishment of diplomatic ties as an opportunity to further broaden, elevate and deepen strategic cooperation with Pakistan, and jointly build an even closer China-Pakistan community with a shared future.
HRTN: Michael McCaul, the leading Republican on the U.S. House of Representatives Foreign Affairs Committee, said China's sanctions on Pompeo and others were "a brazen and baseless attempt". Do you have any response to this?
Hua Chunying: As I said yesterday, China's sanctions on the U.S. individuals are a completely legitimate and necessary response to these people's erroneous behaviors on China-related issues that severely violated China's sovereignty, security and development interests. It fully demonstrates the Chinese government's determination to safeguard national interests.
According to statistics from the U.S. side, the Trump administration took more than 3,900 distinct sanctions actions in total, or three per day. These measures have been unanimously rejected and condemned by the international community as they seriously violated international law and basic norms governing international relations, and undermined the sovereignty, security and development interests of the countries concerned.
We've long made it clear that unilateral sanctions will harm others and oneself. It is like hurling a boomerang, which will inevitably come back.
McCaul's rhetoric exposes the hegemonic mentality of some U.S. politicians who believe the United States can blatantly suppress others, who cannot even exercise the right of self-defense.
O Globo: Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro has requested a phone call with the Chinese leadership to ask for the release of supplies of ingredients for the vaccine production in Brazil that are being held in China. Can you say if the Chinese side will take the call and help with this urgent matter?
Hua Chunying: As for the specific situation you mentioned, I have no information to offer.
As we've said earlier, China and Brazil are closely cooperating in fighting COVID-19. Recently, the phase III clinical trial jointly carried out by Chinese and Brazilian companies and institutions has been going smoothly. We hope that such cooperation will play a positive role in assisting the Brazilian people in their fight against the pandemic.
With 1.4 billion people in China, and as we have started to vaccinate priority groups, there is a huge domestic demand. Despite this, we are trying our best to conduct vaccine cooperation with other countries in various means to contribute to the global response. Chinese companies are running full-steam to produce more vaccines in light of the limited number of doses available for export, including finished vaccines, concentrates and semi-finished products which will be processed further in receiving countries. I would refer you to the relevant company for the specifics.
NHK: The Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons has entered into force. China is a nuclear weapon state. Do you have any comment?
Hua Chunying: China understands the wishes and appeals of non-nuclear weapon states in advancing nuclear disarmament. From the very day China successfully tested a nuclear weapon, it has been an advocate for the comprehensive prohibition and complete elimination of nuclear weapons. We are committed to not first using nuclear weapons at any time or under any circumstances and pledge unconditionally not to use or threat to use nuclear weapons against non-nuclear weapon states or nuclear-weapon-free zones. China's nuclear forces are always kept at the minimum level required to safeguard national security. This is the Chinese government's consistent basic policy. Regarding the ultimate goal of comprehensive and complete elimination of nuclear weapons, China's position is not inconsistent with the Treaty. Indeed, we have contributed through concrete actions to safeguarding global strategic stability and advancing the international arms control and disarmament process.
At the same time, it is China's view that nuclear disarmament cannot lose sight of the reality of the international security landscape. Progress should be sought step by step under the principle of maintaining global strategic stability and undiminished security for all. The process must be consensus-based and stay within the framework of the existing international disarmament and non-proliferation regime. The Treaty runs counter to the above-mentioned principle and is detrimental to the international disarmament and non-proliferation regime with the NPT as a cornerstone. China does not recognize and has no intention to sign or ratify it. We stress that the Treaty does not reflect or constitute customary international law and has no binding force on non-signatories.
China will continue to participate in discussions of nuclear disarmament and relevant issues within such frameworks as the UNGA First Committee, Conference on Disarmament, the NPT review process, and the cooperation mechanism of the five nuclear-weapon states, strive to advance the nuclear disarmament process in a rational, practical and effective manner, and work relentlessly for a world free of nuclear weapons. We stand ready to maintain constructive cooperation with non-nuclear weapon states over this.
The following question was raised after the press conference.
Q: Russian opposition leader Alexei Navalny's recent arrest after returning to Moscow has been condemned by some western countries including the United States. Does China have a comment?
Hua Chunying: This is about Russia's internal affair. China is consistently opposed to external interference in the domestic affairs of sovereign states. We support Russia in maintaining security and stability, which serves the interests of the Russian people.