عربي Español Русский Français 简体中文

Foreign Ministry Spokesperson Mao Ning’s Regular Press Conference on February 23, 2024

2024-02-23 19:08

Reuters: According to Kiribati officials, Chinese police are carrying out cooperation with the country on community policing. Does the Ministry of Foreign Affairs have any further information to offer on this cooperation?

Mao Ning: I am not aware of the specifics you mentioned and I’d refer you to competent authorities. 

China always engages in cooperation with relevant countries on the basis of equality, mutual respect, mutual benefit, openness and inclusiveness.

CCTV: Secretariat of the Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO) held a reception in celebration of its 20th anniversary yesterday. Could you share more with us? In the world undergoing both transformation and upheaval today, what special significance does advocating the Shanghai Spirit have? What role does China expect SCO to further play?  

Mao Ning: Yesterday, Member of the Political Bureau of the CPC Central Committee and Foreign Minister Wang Yi attended and addressed the reception to mark the 20th anniversary of the SCO Secretariat. Since its inception, the SCO has grown with sound and steady momentum. The SCO family now has 26 countries. Parties have enhanced good-neighborliness and political mutual trust and deepened cooperation in security, economy, and people-to-people and cultural exchange. These are important efforts to advance the theory and explore actual ways of building a community with a shared future for mankind and have set a good example of a new type of international relations and regional cooperation.

In today’s turbulent world where challenges keep emerging, parties need to stand together and seek joint response. Over 20 years ago, SCO member countries put forth the Shanghai Spirit of mutual trust, mutual benefit, equality, consultation, respect for diversity of civilizations and pursuit of common development. Today the Shanghai spirit is more relevant than ever. Under the new circumstances, we need to further promote the Shanghai Spirit, make sure the SCO stays on a steady and sustained course forward, and create more certainty, stability and positive energy for the world.

As a founding member of the SCO, China sees the SCO as a priority in our diplomacy. China stands ready to work with SCO partners under the vision of a community with a shared future for mankind, enhance solidarity and mutual trust, build consensus on cooperation, expand cooperation across the board, actively participate in global governance, and advance the Global Development Initiative, the Global Security Initiative, and the Global Civilization Initiative to contribute more SCO strength to the lasting peace and common prosperity of the world. 

Dragon TV: We noted that in 2023, over 20 Chinese cities passed the RMB-one-trillion GDP benchmark. Quite a few Chinese provinces and cities have the economic size of a medium- or small-sized country. Chinese provinces, regions and cities are advancing high-level opening up and looking to enhance exchanges and cooperation with foreign partners. The world hopes to learn more about not just major cities such as Beijing, Shanghai and Guangzhou but also the rest of China, so as to have a full understanding of the country. What role has the Foreign Ministry played in helping Chinese provinces and cities increase interaction and cooperation with the rest of the world?

Mao Ning: In 2023, among the 31 Chinese provinces, regions and cities, the number of Chinese cities with GDP exceeding RMB one trillion increased from 24 to 26. The economies of each province and city, like rivers, flow together and form the vast ocean of the Chinese economy. They provide an inexhaustible source of dynamism and potential for China’s development.

The Foreign Ministry, for its part, has always focused on our country’s major development strategies and the development needs at the subnational level. We have worked to serve high-standard opening up, showcase a multi-faceted and vibrant China and present Chinese provinces and cities to the world. Over the past year, we held key diplomatic activities and large events in places such as Shaanxi, Sichuan, Zhejiang, Shanghai and Hainan, and invited foreign leaders to visit places outside Beijing during their visits to China, which helped elevate the profile of these provinces and cities in the world. Under regional cooperation mechanisms such as the Forum on China-Africa Cooperation, the China-Arab States Cooperation Forum, the China-CELAC Forum, China-CEEC cooperation, the Lancang-Mekong Cooperation and China-Central Asian countries cooperation, we have introduced cooperation platforms hosted by provinces and cities, which boosted their cooperation with the rest of the world on economy and trade, industrial and green development, and cultural and people-to-people exchange. We have organized tours for foreign diplomats to visit different places in China to explore more channels for major local industries to seek foreign cooperation partners.

In the year ahead, China will bring countries more opportunities as it continues to advance Chinese modernization. The Foreign Ministry will continue to be a bridge for Chinese provinces and cities in having more cooperation and exchanges with other countries and serve China’s high-quality development.

Bloomberg: Bloomberg has reported that the US and China are discussing new measures to prevent a wave of emerging market sovereign defaults. The talks, according to people familiar with the matter, include ways to preemptively extend loan periods before countries miss payments and are broadly aimed at both easing the USD 400 billion-plus annual debt service burden for poor countries and finding an alternative to the high borrowing rates those nations now face in the market. Could the Foreign Ministry confirm China and the US are discussing such measures and does the Foreign Ministry have any comment on emerging markets’ debt?

Mao Ning: I’d refer you to competent authorities for specific questions on debt.

Let me say more broadly that China attaches great importance to developing countries’ sovereign debt issues and follows the principle of equal-footed consultation and win-win cooperation in helping developing countries alleviate their debt burden and advance sustainable development. China actively participates in the G20 Common Framework for Debt Treatments beyond the DSSI and other cooperation. China and the US are in communication on debt issues via bilateral and multilateral channels. China stands ready to work with all parties to further contribute our effort in easing developing countries’ debt burden.

Kyodo News: Tomorrow will be the six-month mark of China’s decision to suspend all imports of aquatic products from Japan after the Japanese government started the ocean discharge of “treated water” from the Fukushima nuclear power plant. What is China’s comment?

Mao Ning: The ocean discharge of Japan’s Fukushima nuclear-contaminated water bears on the health of all humanity, the global marine environment and the international public interest. The precautionary measures taken by China and some other countries in response to Japan’s move are aimed at protecting food safety and people’s health. These measures are entirely legitimate, reasonable and necessary. Japan needs to respond to international concerns with all seriousness, dispose of the nuclear-contaminated water in a responsible way, and offer full cooperation in setting up an independent international monitoring arrangement that remains effective in the long haul and has the substantive participation of Japan’s neighboring countries and other stakeholders, so as to avoid irrevocable consequences stemming from the ocean discharge.

Kyodo News: According to Japanese media, the Chinese and the Japanese governments discussed the “treated water” online in January, but have yet to release any result of that discussion. Could you confirm this report? Does the Chinese government view the discussion as the “expert meeting” agreed to between the leaders of the two countries? 

Mao Ning: I have no information to offer on your specific question. As I understand, the two sides maintain communication on the issue of the Fukushima nuclear-contaminated water. 

Bloomberg: The executive director of the Port of Los Angeles said Chinese-made cranes pose a potential risk to national security. However, shortage of other countries that build the giant container-moving machines makes it challenging to address the issue. And separately, the Wall Street Journal reported the Biden administration plans to invest billions in the domestic manufacturing of cargo cranes. Does the Foreign Ministry have any comments on these latest comments on Chinese cranes?

Mao Ning: The accusation that China-made cranes pose security risks is completely unfounded. We firmly oppose the US overstretching the concept of national security and abusing state power to go after Chinese products and companies. Weaponizing economic and trade issues will exacerbate security risks in global industrial and supply chains and inevitably backfire. The US needs to respect the principles of market economy and fair competition, and provide a fair, just and non-discriminatory environment for Chinese companies. China will continue to firmly protect the legitimate and lawful rights and interests of Chinese companies.

Bloomberg: The House Select Committee has written a letter to the CEO of Volkswagen, urging Volkswagen to immediately comply with the Uyghur Forced Labor Prevention Act within its global supply chain and cease operations in Xinjiang. What’s the Foreign Ministry’s comment? 

Mao Ning: We’ve stated on multiple occasions that the so-called “forced labor” in Xinjiang is nothing but a lie propagated by anti-China forces who aim to smear China. There is no “forced labor” in Xinjiang. The US uses the false accusation as a pretext to politicize normal business cooperation, break international trade rules, and disrupt market order. The US will end up hurting its own interests. 

Suggest to a friend