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Foreign Ministry Spokesperson Mao Ning’s Regular Press Conference on December 13, 2023

2023-12-13 19:43

At the invitation of the President of the Republic of Madagascar Andry Nirina Rajoelina, President Xi Jinping’s Special Envoy and Vice Chairman of the National Committee of the Chinese People’s Political Consultative Conference Hu Chunhua will attend the inauguration of President Rajoelina in Madagascar’s capital Antananarivo on December 16.

CCTV: General Secretary and President Xi Jinping started his state visit to Viet Nam yesterday. The leaders of the two countries jointly announced a new characterization of the relationship for the two parties and two countries. Can you share more information with us?

Mao Ning: General Secretary of the CPC Central Committee and President Xi Jinping is in Viet Nam for a state visit. General Secretary Xi Jinping and General Secretary of the Communist Party of Viet Nam Central Committee Nguyen Phu Trong held talks and jointly witnessed the signing of cooperation documents between the two sides. President Xi Jinping also met or held talks with Viet Nam’s State President Vo Van Thuong, Prime Minister Pham Minh Chinh and Chairman of the National Assembly Vuong Dinh Hue.

General Secretary Xi Jinping and General Secretary Nguyen Phu Trong jointly announced a new characterization of the relationship for the two parties and two countries, working together for a China-Viet Nam community with a shared future that carries strategic significance on the basis of deepening the comprehensive strategic cooperative partnership. The two General Secretaries agree that China and Viet Nam, as close and friendly neighbors, share the same aspiration and philosophy. As good neighbors, good partners, good brothers, and good comrades, China and Viet Nam have unique advantages of following the trend of the times, geographic proximity and shared cultural affinity in building a community with a shared future that carries strategic significance. The two sides should carry forward the traditional friendship forged by older-generation leaders, build a community with a shared future together, and make steady progress in their modernization drives, so as to achieve win-win outcomes and common success, benefit the two peoples, and contribute to regional peace and prosperity.

China and Viet Nam are both socialist countries and neighbors with time-honored friendship. In 2008, the two countries established the comprehensive strategic cooperative partnership. The new characterization of China-Viet Nam relationship is a continuation, buildup and upgrading of the 15 years of comprehensive strategic cooperative partnership. It is a natural result in line with the trend of the times, serves the common interests of the two parties, two countries and two peoples, and meets the strategic need of revitalizing the world’s socialist cause. We believe that with concerted efforts of both sides, the China-Viet Nam relations will enter a new stage that enjoys deeper political mutual trust, more substantive security cooperation, deeper mutually beneficial cooperation, a more solid public foundation, closer coordination on multilateral affairs, better management of differences, and joint efforts for new achievements in the socialist development of the two countries.

China News Service: UK Secretary of State for Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Affairs David Cameron reportedly met with Sebastien Lai, the son of Jimmy Lai, on the night of December 12 local time. The UK side said it opposes the Hong Kong National Security Law and will continue to stand by Jimmy Lai and the people of Hong Kong. During a recent visit to the US, David Cameron also said that the world has changed a lot, China has become much more aggressive, and they must offer other countries an alternative to China rather than leave them to the mercy of Chinese debt traps and better protect themselves from China’s cyber attacks and other hostile acts. What’s China’s comment?

Mao Ning: It’s public knowledge that Jimmy Lai is one of the most notorious anti-China elements bent on destabilizing Hong Kong and a mastermind of the riots that took place in Hong Kong. He blatantly colluded with external forces to undermine China’s national security and is responsible for numerous egregious acts. The Hong Kong SAR took action to hold him accountable in accordance with the law. This is beyond reproach. The UK apparently considers itself a country based on the rule of law, but it is now openly interfering in an ongoing judicial process. The UK has recently adopted its own National Security Bill, but it is now brazenly opposing China’s national security legislation for Hong Kong. That says everything about the UK’s hypocrisy and hidden agenda. More than three years on since the Hong Kong National Security Law was adopted, more than 80 percent of people in Hong Kong believe the law has made Hong Kong safer. What the UK has done is laughably pointless, especially when Hong Kong has already restored order and is set to thrive. We ask the UK to respect facts and the rule of law and stop meddling in Hong Kong’s affairs, which are China’s internal affairs.

By calling China “aggressive”, the UK is misrepresenting facts. China follows an independent foreign policy of peace. We are a partner presenting opportunities to other countries, not a threat posing challenges. We are committed to developing relations with other countries on the basis of mutual respect and mutual benefit. At the same time, we will resolutely defend our sovereignty, security and development interests.

The UK’s “debt trap” rhetoric is not based on facts. China’s investment and financing cooperation with fellow developing countries is carried out in compliance with international rules, market laws and the principle of debt sustainability and has been widely welcomed. In fact, not a single cooperation partner has accused China of creating “debt traps”. It is a handful of Western countries who have been spreading the fallacy of “Chinese debt traps”. The multilateral financial institutions and commercial creditors these countries dominate are the major creditors of developing countries and constitute the major source of stress for them in terms of debt repayment. They are the ones that need to make substantive contributions to easing developing countries’ debt burden.

Cybersecurity is a global challenge. China firmly cracks down on cyber attacks and holds that cybersecurity needs to be jointly safeguarded by all countries through dialogue and cooperation. We oppose politicizing cybersecurity issues and smearing other countries without any factual basis.

We call on the UK to reject the Cold War mentality, stop spreading “China threat” narratives, look at China and China-UK relations in an objective and rational light, and work with China for the sound and steady development of bilateral ties. 

Reuters: According to reports in Argentinean media, Argentina has sent China a letter about the currency swap arrangement between People’s Bank of China and Argentinean central bank. These reports say that China asked Argentina to clear up its stance towards China after Argentinean President Milei made anti-China remarks on his campaign trail. Could you confirm whether this is the case? 

Mao Ning: On the currency swap arrangement between China and Argentina, I’d refer you to competent Chinese authorities. On the relations between China and Argentina, we have previously stated our position. China and Argentina are both major developing countries and important emerging economies. The two countries are comprehensive strategic partners and our bilateral relations are in good shape. China values the growth of its relations with Argentina from a strategic and long-term perspective. We stand ready to work with the new government of Argentina for the sustained and steady development of the China-Argentina comprehensive strategic partnership.

AFP: A select committee of the US House of Representatives issued a report yesterday calling for a reset on the US-China economic relationship. What is China’s response?

Mao Ning: The committee you mentioned is obsessed with attacking and smearing China. It is biased and hostile and has no rationality to speak of. What they have said fully shows that some in the US are attempting to politicize and weaponize trade and tech issues between China and the US. We firmly oppose this.

China-US economic and trade cooperation benefits both sides. There is no winner in a trade war or tariff war. Curbs and protectionism will only disrupt normal trade and destabilize industrial and supply chains. They do not serve the interests of any party. The US needs to earnestly respect the principles of market economy and international trade rules, and create a favorable environment for China-US economic and trade cooperation, rather than do the opposite.

CRI: On December 10 local time, US State Department released a statement making groundless accusation against China’s law enforcement measures in waters near Huangyan Dao and Ren’ai Jiao and threatening once again that the US Philippines Mutual Defense Treaty extends to the South China Sea. What’s China’s comment?

Mao Ning: I’ve elaborated on the facts and China’s position concerning the recent incidents in waters of China’s Ren’ai Jiao and I’ll not go over it again. But what needs to be pointed out is that Huangyan Dao has always been part of China’s territory and China has indisputable sovereignty over Huangyan Dao and its adjacent waters. On December 9, three official vessels of the Philippines, without permission from the Chinese side, intruded into adjacent waters of Huangyan Dao. China Coast Guard took necessary measures in accordance with the law, which were professional, restrained, lawful and legitimate. The US State Department, in disregard of the facts, issued a statement to groundlessly attack China’s fully justified law enforcement activities to safeguard our rights at Ren’ai Jiao and Huangyan Dao. The statement is an attempt to endorse the Philippines’ infringement of Chinese sovereignty and provocation. We firmly reject it.

For some time, out of selfish geopolitical interests, the US has incited, supported and assisted in the Philippines’ infringement and provocation at sea, and repeatedly made threats by citing the US Philippines Mutual Defense Treaty. Such moves blatantly embolden the Philippines’ violation of China’s sovereignty, seriously violate the purposes and principles of the UN Charter and gravely jeopardize regional peace and stability. China has made clear that the so-called arbitral award on the South China Sea is illegal, null and void, and has no binding effect whatsoever. The US itself would not implement the judgement of the International Court of Justice and international arbitral awards. In what position is the US to tell China that it should implement an illegal arbitral award? The US needs to know that no threat, coercion or unfounded attack and accusation will lead anywhere or shake China’s firm resolve and will in safeguarding its territorial sovereignty and maritime rights and interests. China will continue to resolutely uphold its legitimate sovereignty and rights and interests in accordance with domestic and international law. The US’s attempts will not succeed.  

Antara: The UN General Assembly has adopted a resolution demanding an immediate humanitarian ceasefire in Gaza, but it is an unbinding resolution. How can China as a member state of Security Council use this resolution as the next step in the Security Council?

Mao Ning: At the request of Arab and Islamic countries, the UN General Assembly held an emergency special session on the Palestinian question on December 12, which adopted a resolution tabled by Arab countries requesting an immediate humanitarian ceasefire in Gaza, compliance with the obligations under international law, including international humanitarian law, notably with regard to the protection of civilians, the immediate and unconditional release of all hostages as well as ensuring humanitarian access. This is the second time that the UNGA emergency special session voted overwhelmingly for a resolution on the current Palestinian-Israeli conflict, which reflects the strong international call for a ceasefire and what the world wants between war and peace. China fully supports the resolution. We co-sponsored and voted for it. We hope to see the full implementation of this resolution, ceasefire and end of hostilities as soon as possible, alleviation of the humanitarian crisis and restoration of peace and stability in the region. China stands ready to continue working with all parties to play a positive and constructive role in realizing lasting peace between Palestine and Israel through the two-state solution.

China Review News: According to reports, TEPCO made an announcement on December 11, confirming that a worker decommissioning the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant’s No.2 reactor was contaminated with radioactive substances and radioactive materials may have been incorporated into the body due to exposure to internal radiation. What is China’s comment?

Mao Ning: I noted the reports. During the decommissioning of Japan’s Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant and the handling of the nuclear-contaminated water, accidents have happened one after another involving workers being sprayed with nuclear-contaminated water or exposed to radioactive substances. This speaks to the seriousness of the problem and once again proves the vital importance of properly handling the nuclear-contaminated water.

Japan’s discharge of the nuclear-contaminated water into the ocean is scheduled to last 30 years or even longer, and this poses enormous risks. China urges Japan to take seriously the concerns of stakeholders, fully cooperate in establishing an international monitoring arrangement that has the substantive participation of relevant parties and will remain effective over the long haul, and take concrete actions to avoid the long-term harm of the discharge to marine environment and people’s health.

The Paper: We noted that the Supreme Court of India, at the request of some in India, made a verdict, upholding the validity of the order abrogating Article 370 of Constitution, asking the Indian government to restore the statehood in Union Territory of Jammu and Kashmir at the earliest, and upholding the validity of the decision of the Indian government in 2019 to carve out the so-called union territory of Ladakh. What is China’s comment?

Mao Ning: China has never recognized the so-called union territory of Ladakh set up unilaterally and illegally by India. India’s domestic judicial verdict does not change the fact that the western section of the China-India border has always belonged to China.

AFP: The COP28 Presidency released a proposed text of a final climate deal today. Can you share China’s position on the text as well as this year’s COP28?

Mao Ning: We noted the progress of COP28 negotiations. COP28 is a very important conference. China has taken an active part in the discussion and negotiation on the agenda items and supports the host country the UAE in making the conference a success. We hope the outcomes of this meeting will contribute to the full and effective implementation of the Paris Agreement and lend more support to developing countries’ efforts to realize energy transition and better cope with climate change.

Bloomberg: The US has sanctioned more than 250 companies and individuals in China, Türkiye and the UAE over alleged support for Russia in its war efforts. Would the Foreign Ministry like to comment on this?

Mao Ning: China opposes the US’s unilateral sanctions and long-arm jurisdiction. The US needs to correct its wrong practice and stop containing and going after Chinese companies. China will do what is necessary to firmly safeguard Chinese companies’ lawful rights and interests.

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