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Foreign Ministry Spokesperson Mao Ning’s Regular Press Conference on September 6, 2023

2023-09-06 17:00

CCTV: The 2023 China International Fair for Trade in Services (CIFTIS) concludes today. As the global economy struggles to recover and China’s economy faces pressure, what message do you think this year’s CIFTIS sends to the world?

Mao Ning: The China International Fair for Trade in Services (CIFTIS) provides the world with a window into China’s high-level opening-up and an important platform for exchanges and cooperation between businesses around the globe. President Xi Jinping addressed the Global Trade in Services Summit of the 2023 CIFTIS via video and announced important measures on opening the services sector wider to the world. It shows China’s determination and commitment to expand high-level opening-up and cooperation for shared benefit. By hosting CIFTIS, China hopes to share opportunities in trade in services, help grow global trade, and create new growth drivers for global economic recovery.

In recent years, despite the complex and challenging external environment, China’s trade in services has grown fast and shown strong resilience. Imports and exports of services for 2022 approached RMB 6 trillion, up 12.9 percent year-on-year, hitting a record high and ranking second in the world for the ninth year in a row. WTO Director-General Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala noted in her video remarks to the summit that since China’s accession to the WTO in 2001, its share in global trade in services has risen by over 1.5 times from 2.4 percent to 6.5 percent. China is now the world’s fourth largest exporter and second largest importer of services, and is becoming a global center for the supply and demand of services.

The world economy thrives in openness and withers in seclusion. China stands ready to work with all parties to promote inclusive development with openness in the services sector, jointly safeguard free trade and the multilateral trade system, and provide more and better Chinese services to the world.

AFP: The US climate envoy John Kerry has said he hopes China and the US can come together on climate, adding that climate change is not a bilateral issue but a universal threat to the planet. Does China agree with Mr. Kerry’s assessments or have any other comments on these remarks?

Mao Ning: Climate change is a global challenge and calls for a global response. China’s position on addressing climate change is consistent and clear. China is committed to building a fair and equitable system of global climate governance that benefits all. We do our best to undertake due international responsibilities and obligations commensurate with China’s national conditions and have made positive contributions to the international cooperation in addressing climate change. China and the US jointly facilitated the conclusion and coming into effect of the Paris Agreement. We hope the US will work with China to create enabling conditions and atmosphere for China-US climate cooperation.

Nikkei: The ASEAN Plus Three Summit is held in Indonesia today. Will China raise the issue of the ocean discharge of the “treated water” from the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant at the summit? China’s reference to the “treated water” as “nuclear-contaminated water” has not been recognized by the international community. How do you view this?

Mao Ning: On China’s participation in the leaders’ meetings on East Asia cooperation, we will release information in due course. We noted the media reports that Japan said it would explain the discharge to other countries during the meetings. We hope Japan will face up to international concerns and explain its position with sincerity and a science-based attitude, which will gain the international community’s faith, rather than continue to downplay or veil the harm of the discharge.

Japan coined the term “treated water” and keeps telling the world that the concentration of tritium is up to standard in order to create an impression that there is only tritium as a radioactive substance in the nuclear-contaminated water and that since the concentration of tritium is up to standard, the nuclear-contaminated water is harmless. But this narrative can hardly deceive the international community. As a matter of fact, the Fukushima waste water contains a complex range of elements. Even after purification, the water will still contain dozens of radionuclides such as carbon-14, cobalt-60, strontium-90, iodine-129 and caesium-137. No matter what name Japan gives to the water, these radionuclides will not just disappear by themselves. This is a fact that Japan needs to face.

China News Service: The first phase of the Dhaka Airport Elevated Expressway project in the capital of Bangladesh was recently completed. Chinese companies invested and participated in the construction and operation of the project. Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina attended the ceremony to inaugurate the project and hailed it as a new milestone for Bangladesh’s transportation infrastructure which is expected to ease traffic congestion in Dhaka and boost Bangladesh’s economic growth. What’s China’s comment?

Mao Ning: Bangladesh is the first South Asian country to sign a Belt and Road cooperation MOU with China. Our two countries have had fruitful high-quality Belt and Road cooperation in recent years. The Dhaka Airport Elevated Expressway project is the first of its kind and the first and so far the biggest PPP project in Bangladesh. Chinese companies invested and participated in its construction and operation. As Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina said at the inauguration ceremony, the project will greatly improve traffic in Dhaka and have a positive impact on Bangladesh’s socioeconomic development.

As a friendly neighbor and strategic partner of Bangladesh, China will continue to work with the country to advance the high-quality Belt and Road cooperation and support Bangladesh in realizing the “Sonar Bangla” dream at an early date.

AFP: Japan’s Chief Cabinet Secretary Hirokazu Matsuno has criticized the release of a Chinese government map that shows what Japan calls the Senkaku Islands and what China calls the Diaoyu Islands belonging to China. Matsuno said that Japan had complained to China through diplomatic channels and demanded the retraction of that map. What’s China’s response to that?

Mao Ning: Diaoyu Dao and its affiliated islands have all along been China’s territory. It is only natural that they are marked as Chinese territory on a map. China does not accept Japan’s protest.

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