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Foreign Ministry Spokesperson Mao Ning’s Regular Press Conference on April 11, 2024
2024-04-11 20:56

Xinhua News Agency: It’s reported that recently Palestine formally requested the UN Security Council to reconsider its application for full UN membership submitted in 2011. The Council met on April 8 and referred the application to the Committee of Admission of New Members for its deliberation. The US said that prior to a wider agreement between Palestine and Israel, it will continue opposing Palestine’s full UN membership. What’s China’s position?

Mao Ning: The ongoing Palestinian-Israeli conflict and the severe humanitarian crisis it has caused are yet another reminder that the only way to end the vicious cycle of Palestinian-Israeli conflicts is to fully implement the two-State solution, establish an independent state of Palestine and redress the historical injustice long suffered by the Palestinians. China supports full UN membership for Palestine and supports speedy Council action to that end.

NBC: Japan’s Prime Minister Kishida is on a state visit to the US where the main focus is the expansion of security ties to counter China, including missile systems and the possibility of Japan joining AUKUS. President Biden has also invited the Philippines’ President Marcos to join their talks. What is China’s view of this strategic alliance in the Indo-Pacific? And what is China considering as potential repercussions?

Mao Ning: Despite China’s serious concerns, the US and Japan attacked and smeared China on the Taiwan question and maritime issues, grossly interfered in China’s domestic affairs and violated the basic norms in international relations. China deplores and opposes it, and has made serious démarches to relevant parties.

US-Japan relations should not target other countries, harm their interests or undermine regional peace and stability. China firmly opposes the Cold War mentality and small group politics. China firmly rejects anything that creates and drives up tensions and may undermine other countries’ strategic security and interests.

I want to stress that there is but one China. This is a historical fact and international consensus. The Taiwan question is purely China’s domestic affair and brooks no external interference. Both the US and Japanese governments have made serious commitments to China on the Taiwan question. In particular, Japan bears serious historical responsibilities for its aggression against Taiwan and colonial rule over the island, and should all the more honor its words and act prudently. We urge the US to translate President Biden’s commitment of not supporting “Taiwan independence” into concrete actions. 

China’s activities in the East China Sea and South China Sea are in full compliance with international law and there’s nothing wrong about them. Diaoyu Dao and its affiliated islands are China’s inherent territory. We will take firm measures against illegal moves that violate China’s sovereignty. China has indisputable sovereignty over Nanhai Zhudao and its adjacent waters. China stands ready to continue properly handling maritime issues with parties concerned through dialogue and consultation and jointly upholding peace and stability in the South China Sea. In the meantime, no one should violate China’s territorial sovereignty and maritime rights and interests, and China remains steadfast in safeguarding our lawful rights.

The US and Japan have misrepresented the facts, violated China’s territorial sovereignty and breached international law and basic norms in international relations. They pose the real threat to regional peace and stability.

I want to emphasize that China is always a builder of world peace, a contributor to global development and a defender of the international order. We will never allow any country to interfere in China’s domestic affairs, harm its interests, and smear its image. China will defend its sovereignty, security and development interests, and stay committed to the peace, stability and lasting prosperity of the Asia-Pacific region. 

Bloomberg: Can I ask you to clarify a little bit? You made serious démarches to relevant parties? Is that specifically the US and Japan? What was the reason for that?

Mao Ning: We made serious démarches to relevant parties because the US-Japan Joint Leaders’ Statement attacked and smeared China on Taiwan-related, maritime and other issues and blatantly interfered in China’s internal affairs.

Yonhap News Agency: The ROK’s opposition parties won in yesterday’s parliamentary election. How does China view the result? How will it influence the ROK-China relations? 

Mao Ning: The parliamentary election is the ROK’s domestic affair. I have no comment on it. China and the ROK are each other’s important neighbors and cooperation partners. A sound and stable bilateral relationship serves the interests of both China and the ROK. We hope the ROK will work actively with China towards that end.

Reuters: The US official from the Commerce Department said yesterday the US has added four Chinese companies to an export blacklist for seeking to acquire AI chips for China’s military. It also restricted exports to Chinese companies that helped military actions of Russia. What’s your comment?

Mao Ning: We strongly oppose US abuse of entity list and other export controls to go after Chinese companies. We urge the US to stop politicizing trade and tech issues and turning them into weapons. China and Russia have the right to normal economic and trade cooperation, and such cooperation should not come under external interference or constraint. We strongly oppose the US’s illegal unilateral sanctions. China will do what is necessary to firmly safeguard the lawful rights and interests of Chinese companies. 

PTI: Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi said in an interview to the Newsweek that for India, the relationship with China is important and significant. He said that “it is my belief that we need to urgently address the prolonged situation on our borders so that the abnormality in our bilateral interactions can be put behind us. Stable and peaceful relations between India and China are important for not just our two countries but the entire region. I hope and believe that through positive and constructive bilateral engagement at the diplomatic and military levels, we will be able to restore and sustain peace and tranquility in our borders,” Mr. Modi said. What is China’s reaction?

Mao Ning: China noted Prime Minister Modi’s remarks. Sound and stable China-India relations serve the interests of both countries and are conducive to peace and development in the region and beyond. The boundary question does not represent the entirety of China-India relations, and it should be placed appropriately in bilateral relations and managed properly. China and India maintain close communication through diplomatic and military channels on handling issues related to the border situation and have made positive progress. We hope that India will work with China, approach the bilateral relations from a strategic height and long-term perspective, keep building trust and engaging in dialogue and cooperation, and seek to handle differences appropriately to put the relationship on a sound and stable track.

Dragon TV: It’s reported that President Biden met with Prime Minister Kishida yesterday and issued a joint statement saying that the United States and Japan are resolved to achieve a world without nuclear weapons through realistic and pragmatic approaches and the PRC’s accelerating build-up of its nuclear arsenal without transparency nor meaningful dialogue poses a concern to global and regional stability. What’s your comment?

Mao Ning: The so-called concern expressed by the US and Japan over China’s nuclear policy is a deliberate false narrative. We are firmly against it and will not accept it.

China follows a policy of “no first use” of nuclear weapons and has committed to not using nuclear weapons against non-nuclear weapon states and nuclear-weapon-free zones. China always keeps our nuclear capabilities at the minimum level required by national security. We never engage in any forms of arms race. For any country, as long as they do not use nuclear weapons against China, they will not feel threatened by China’s nuclear weapons.

The US sits on the largest and most advanced nuclear arsenal in the world. Even so, it clings to a first-use nuclear policy, devises nuclear deterrence strategies against others and has invested heavily to upgrade its nuclear triad. It has withdrawn from treaties and organizations concerning arms control, enhanced the NATO nuclear alliance and expanded cooperation with allies on advanced military technologies. Japan, as a victim of nuclear explosions, instead of asking the US to conduct nuclear disarmament, chooses to rely on the US’s nuclear umbrella to develop advanced missile attack and defense capabilities and work with the US in the forward deployment of its strategic forces. Such negative moves by the US and Japan have undermined strategic balance and stability in the region and the wider world, hindered the international arms control and disarmament processes and disrupted regional peace and tranquility. The international community has reason to be strongly concerned about this.

As a Chinese saying goes, do the right thing before telling others what to do. The US and Japan need to reflect on their behavior and commit themselves to doing the right thing. They should stop undermining the international nuclear disarmament and nuclear non-proliferation regime, reduce the role of nuclear weapons in national and collective security policies and act responsibly for the welfare of the world.

AFP: According to Reporters Without Borders, its representative who arrived in Hong Kong yesterday to attend Jimmy Lai’s trial was denied entry and deported. Can you give an explanation on that? Is this evidence of the freedom of press being eroded in Hong Kong?

Mao Ning: I am not aware of the specifics you mentioned. About the freedom of press in Hong Kong, what I can tell you is that since Hong Kong’s return 26 years ago, the freedom of press and speech has been fully protected by the Basic Law of the Hong Kong SAR and other laws. Recent years have seen an increase in the numbers of international media outlets and journalists in Hong Kong. This is a fact.

China Daily: Ministers from regulatory bodies of China, the US, and the EU held the trilateral summit on consumer product safety in China this week. Can you share more details?

Mao Ning: Yesterday, The Eighth China-US-EU Trilateral Summit on Consumer Product Safety was held by the General Administration of Customs of China, the US Consumer Product Safety Committee, and the Directorate-General for Justice and Consumers of the European Commission in Hangzhou. The meeting held in-depth discussions on new approaches to deepening cooperation on consumer product safety under new circumstances and reached new consensus on deepening the trilateral cooperation. A joint statement was published after the meeting. The three sides agreed to set up common standards, explore supervision models and approaches that are smarter and more effective, enhance joint supervision, focus on joint protection of consumer rights and interests, and protect the safety of consumer products.

The Chinese government attaches high importance to the safety of the imported and exported consumer products, and has been committed to enhancing governance capabilities on the safety of consumer products. China has been aligning consumer product safety supervision with international rules, making public the information of consumer product safety, and fostering a market-oriented, law-based and world-class business environment.

President Xi Jinping pointed out that only through win-win cooperation can we make big and sustainable achievements that are beneficial to all. China, the US, and the EU are important forces of the international community and important partners to each other in consumer products trade. There is every reason for us to enhance communication and cooperation. China stands ready to work with partner countries to pool consensus for cooperation, forge synergy in governance, improve global consumer product safety, promote global trade facilitation, and contribute to the well-being of people of all countries. 

Reuters: Hong Kong media reported that Chinese leader will visit Australia. Can you confirm it?

Mao Ning: On that specific question, I have no information to share. What I can say is that with the concerted efforts of China and Australia, bilateral exchange and cooperation at all levels and in various fields have gradually resumed in recent years. Last year, Australian Prime Minister Albanese visited China. The leaders of the two countries reached important common understandings on further improving China-Australia relations. We stand ready to work with Australia to implement the common understandings reached by leaders of the two countries, strengthen high-level exchanges, deepen practical cooperation, enhance mutual understanding and trust, and make the China-Australia comprehensive strategic partnership more mature, stable and fruitful.

Global Times: Philippine President Ferdinand Marcos Jr. recently said he was horrified to learn of the gentleman’ s agreement between the Duterte administration and China on Ren’ai Jiao and would ask for clarification regarding the agreement. He also said that he is willing to maintain contact with China at all levels to ease tensions with every effort. What’s China’s comment?

Mao Ning: First and foremost, I want to stress that Ren’ai Jiao is part of China’s Nansha Qundao and China has indisputable sovereignty over Nansha Qundao including Ren’ai Jiao and the adjacent waters. China is committed to managing the situation at Ren’ai Jiao with the Philippines through dialogue and consultation. The reasons behind the current situation at Ren’ai Jiao are very clear. First, the Philippines went back on its words and refuses to tow away the warship illegally grounded at Ren’ai Jiao. Second, the Philippines denies the existence of the gentleman’s agreement reached with China under the Duterte administration and has repeatedly infringed on China’s sovereignty in those waters and made provocations. Third, the Philippines has abandoned the current administration’s understanding with China on the Ren’ai Jiao issue, sent construction materials to the grounded warship for large-scale repair and reinforcement in an attempt to permanently occupy Ren’ai Jiao.

If the Philippines truly wants to ease tensions at Ren’ai Jiao through dialogue and communication, it needs to honor the commitments and understandings and stop provocations. On how to deal with the current situation at Ren’ai Jiao, China’s position is clear-cut.

First, by keeping its warship grounded at Ren’ai Jiao for decades running, the Philippines has been violating China’s sovereignty and the Declaration on the Conduct of Parties in the South China Sea (DOC), especially Article 5 which says refraining from action of inhabiting on the presently uninhabited islands and reefs. We demand that the Philippines tow away the warship at once and restore Ren’ai Jiao’s state of hosting zero personnel and facilities.

Second, before the warship is towed away, if the Philippines needs to send living necessities, out of humanitarianism, China is willing to allow it if the Philippines informs China in advance and after on-site verification is conducted. China will monitor the whole process.

Third, if the Philippines sends large amount of construction materials to the warship and attempts to build fixed facilities and permanent outpost, China will not accept it and will resolutely stop it in accordance with law and regulations to uphold China’s sovereignty and the sanctity of the DOC.

CCTV: It’s reported that China and Georgia yesterday signed an agreement on mutual visa exemption for ordinary passport holders, adding another country to the visa-free travel list for Chinese citizens. When will the agreement take effect? What other steps will China take to facilitate cross-border travels? We also noted that the World Tourism Organization in its latest report pointed out that global visa policy openness has been significantly improved and that Asia and the Pacific had the highest openness score in terms of global traveling. What’s your comment?

Mao Ning: On April 10, China and Georgia signed an agreement on mutual visa exemption for the two countries’ ordinary passport holders. The agreement will come into effect and be published after going through legal procedures of both sides. We believe this will further promote cross-border travels and enhance communication and cooperation at various fronts for the two countries.

The Chinese government has rolled out a series of measures to facilitate cross-border travels to contribute to high-quality development and high-level opening up and create better conditions for countries sharing the opportunities brought by China’s development. As Foreign Minister Wang Yi said, we hope more countries will work with us to build fast-track networks for cross-border travels, make it more convenient for Chinese citizens to travel abroad, and make foreign friends feel at home in China.

News 1 Korea: The ROK’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs said that the three sides are at the final stage to pin down the date of China-Japan-ROK leaders’ meeting. Japanese media reported previously that this meeting will be held from May 26 to 27. What’s China’s arrangement for the meeting?

Mao Ning: China attaches importance to China-Japan-ROK cooperation and hopes that the three sides will jointly create conditions for the leaders’ meeting. We are ready to maintain communication with the ROK and Japan for the meeting’s preparation.

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