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Foreign Ministry Spokesperson Mao Ning’s Regular Press Conference on April 8, 2024
2024-04-08 19:00

CCTV: April has witnessed a host of high-level visits from Southeast Asian countries to China. Indonesian President-elect Prabowo Subianto’s visit to China was the first leg of his first overseas visit as President-elect. Last week, Foreign Minister Wang Yi met with Lao Deputy Prime Minister and Foreign Minister Saleumxay Kommasith, Vietnamese Foreign Minister Bui Thanh Son, and Timor-Leste’s Minister of Foreign Affairs and Cooperation Bendito dos Santos Freitas respectively in Guangxi. This week, Her Royal Highness Princess Maha Chakri Sirindhorn of Thailand, Vietnamese National Assembly Chairman Vuong Dinh Hue and Singaporean Deputy Prime Minister Heng Swee Keat are visiting China. Could you share more information with us?

Mao Ning: Leaders and foreign ministers from several Southeast Asian countries have visited China over the past few days, which demonstrates the great importance relevant countries attach to their relations with China.

Neighboring countries are China’s priority in its diplomacy. China and Southeast Asian countries are good neighbors, good friends and good partners with a shared future. China has engaged in friendly cooperation, enhanced mutual understanding and trust, and pursued common development and prosperity with neighboring countries in line with the principle of amity, sincerity, mutual benefit and inclusiveness guiding our neighborhood diplomacy put forward by President Xi Jinping. Last year, China and ASEAN were each other’s largest trading partners for the fourth consecutive year. In January and February this year, trade between China and ASEAN totaled RMB 993.2 billion, up by 8.1 percent. Southeast Asian countries are important partners for Belt and Road cooperation. A large number of cooperation projects, including the China-Laos Railway, the Jakarta-Bandung High-Speed Railway and the “Two Countries, Twin Parks” between China and Malaysia, have boosted economic growth and benefited the people in the region. Mutual visa exemption is realized between China and the three Southeast Asian countries of Singapore, Malaysia and Thailand. Various events will be held during the China-ASEAN Year of People-to-People Exchanges to enhance mutual understanding and build closer bond between the peoples of the two sides.

This year marks the 70th anniversary of the Five Principles of Peaceful Coexistence. We stand ready to work with neighboring countries to carry forward the spirit of the Five Principles of Peaceful Coexistence, practice the principle of amity, sincerity, mutual benefit and inclusiveness, expand the convergence of interests, and jointly make Asia a peaceful, safe and secure, prosperous, beautiful, amicable and harmonious home for us all.

Bloomberg: Bloomberg News is reporting that the US has recently warned its allies about China’s deepening support for Russia, providing Russia with, for example, satellite imagery for military purposes, also microelectronics and machine tools for tanks, as well as other materials that are used in missiles and generally increased cooperation in space. Does the Foreign Ministry have a comment on this report referring to deepening support by China for Russia?

Mao Ning: On the Ukraine issue, China’s position has always been just and objective. We have worked actively to promote talks for peace and a political settlement of the issue. China is neither the one that created the Ukraine crisis nor a party to it. We have never and will never seek selfish gains from the crisis.

China regulates the export of dual-use articles in accordance with laws and regulations. Relevant countries should not smear or attack the normal relations between China and Russia, and should not harm the legitimate rights and interests of China and Chinese companies. Still less should they shift the blame to China or instigate bloc confrontation. 

Reuters: There are reports recently saying that AUKUS will soon start talks on bringing new members, for example Japan, into the pact. Did China notice relevant reports and what’s your response?

Mao Ning: We noted the reports. In disregard of the concerns of regional countries and the international community over the risk of nuclear proliferation, the US, the UK and Australia have kept sending signals of AUKUS expansion, co-opting some countries to come on board, and escalating arms race in the Asia-Pacific to the detriment of peace and stability in the region. China is gravely concerned about it. We oppose relevant countries cobbling together exclusive groupings and stoking bloc confrontation. Japan needs to earnestly draw lessons from history and stay prudent on military and security issues.

RIA Novosti: US Army Pacific commander Charles Flynn in an interview with Yomiuri Shimbun in Tokyo said the US intends to deploy medium-range missiles in the Indo-Pacific region in the near future. He said that finding a way to counter China’s modernizing missiles is a critical role for US ground forces. What’s China’s comment?

Mao Ning: China is committed to peaceful development and a national defense policy that is defensive in nature. We are not interested in competing with any country on military strength. 

China strongly opposes the US deploying medium-range ballistic missiles in the Asia-Pacific and strengthening forward deployment at China’s doorstep to seek unilateral military advantage. We urge the US to earnestly respect other countries’ security concerns and stop undermining peace and stability in the region.

China News Service: We’ve learned that recently more Chinese students and scholars were interrogated and forcibly deported when entering the US border at the Washington Dulles airport and the Dallas airport. When asked for the reasons for their deportation, the US law enforcement personnel said it was because of bad US-China relations. What’s China’s comment?

Mao Ning: The US has been overstretching the concept of national security and, without any valid evidence, arbitrarily canceled Chinese students’ visas, banned them from entering the US and forcibly deported them. Such moves inflicted enormous damage on the persons concerned and obstructed people-to-people exchanges between China and the US. The recent cases show that the US law enforcement personnel are bent on making excuses for deporting Chinese personnel. These are typical cases of selective, discriminatory and politically motivated law enforcement.

The US needs to immediately stop unjustifiably harassing, interrogating, and deporting Chinese citizens, immediately stop going after and persecuting Chinese students, and make real efforts to honor its commitment of supporting and facilitating China-US people-to-people exchanges and cross-border travel, instead of saying one thing and doing another. China will take resolute measures to safeguard the legitimate and lawful rights and interests of Chinese citizens.

AFP: US Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen in Guangzhou warned Chinese companies of significant consequences if they provide support for Russia’s war. So during the Russian Foreign Minister’s visit in China, what message will the Chinese officials convey to him regarding this?

Mao Ning: At the invitation of Member of the Political Bureau of the CPC Central Committee and Minister of Foreign Affairs Wang Yi, Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov is paying an official visit to China today and tomorrow. Our two sides will exchange views and coordinate positions on the growth of bilateral relations, cooperation in various fields, and international and regional issues of mutual interest amid the backdrop of the 75th anniversary of China-Russia diplomatic ties. We will release more information about the visit in a timely way.

On Ukraine, we are committed to playing a constructive role in promoting ceasefire and political settlement of the crisis. China-Russia relations should not be attacked or smeared, and the legitimate rights and interests of China and Chinese companies should not be harmed. China will take resolute measures to safeguard our legitimate rights and interests.

Bloomberg: Janet Yellen has issued a very blunt warning to Chinese banks regarding ties with Moscow. She said any banks that facilitate significant transactions that channel military or dual-use goods to Russia’s defense industrial base expose themselves to the risk of US sanctions. Can you offer a comment on this?

Mao Ning: I’d refer you to competent authorities on your specific question. Let me say broadly that the normal cooperation between China and Russia should not be subject to foreign interference or restriction, and China always opposes illegal unilateral sanctions.

People’s Daily: On the announcement that President of Suriname Chandrikapersad Santokhi will pay a state visit to China, can you share the arrangement of the visit and China’s expectations?

Mao Ning: This year marks the fifth anniversary of the China-Suriname strategic cooperative partnership. China welcomes President Chandrikapersad Santokhi’s visit at this special time. During the visit, President Xi Jinping will hold a welcome ceremony for President Chandrikapersad Santokhi, have talks and attend the signing ceremony of relevant cooperation documents with him. Premier of the State Council Li Qiang and Chairman of the National Committee of the Chinese People’s Political Consultative Conference Wang Huning will meet with him respectively. The two sides will have in-depth exchange of views on bilateral relations and issues of mutual interest.

Suriname is an important country in the Caribbean and also China’s strategic cooperative partner in the region. Since the establishment of China-Suriname diplomatic ties, our two countries have sustained sound growth of bilateral relations with fruitful cooperation outcomes in various fields. China attaches great importance to its relations with Suriname. We stand ready to work with Suriname to further enhance political mutual trust and strengthen friendly exchanges and practical cooperation in various fields for the benefit of our two countries and the two peoples. We have every confidence that President Chandrikapersad Santokhi’s visit will further advance China-Suriname relations and elevate the bilateral relations to a new level.

AFP: Leaders of Japan and the Philippines will visit the US this week to attend the trilateral US-Japan-Philippines leaders’ summit. It’s expected that they will step up their defense relations at the summit. How do you view the summit and the deepening relations between these three countries?

Mao Ning: Defense cooperation between any countries should be conducive to regional peace and stability. We oppose cobbling together exclusive groupings and stoking bloc confrontation in the region.

Ukrinform News Agency: My question is: in the context of Minister Lavrov’s visit, does Chinese leadership plan to communicate with Ukraine counterparts as a part of its efforts to stop Russia-Ukraine war?

Mao Ning: On the Ukraine crisis, China is always committed to playing a constructive role for ceasefire and political settlement of the crisis. China will continue to promote peace talks in our own way, maintain communication with Russia, Ukraine and other parties, and realize the political settlement of the crisis as soon as possible.

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