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​Foreign Ministry Spokesperson Mao Ning’s Regular Press Conference on January 19, 2024

2024-01-19 18:02

At the invitation of the government of the Republic of Liberia, President Xi Jinping’s Special Envoy and Vice Chairperson of the National Committee of the Chinese People’s Political Consultative Conference Bater will attend the inauguration of President Joseph Nyumah Boakai in Liberia’s capital Monrovia on January 22.

At the invitation of Premier Li Qiang of the State Council, Prime Minister of Antigua and Barbuda Gaston Browne will pay an official visit to China from January 22 to 28.

Beijing Daily: President of the Republic of Uzbekistan Shavkat Mirziyoyev will pay a state visit to China from January 23 to 25. Could you share with us China’s evaluation of the current China-Uzbekistan relations and expectation for the visit?

Mao Ning: Since the establishment of diplomatic ties 32 years ago, China and Uzbekistan have treated each other with respect, enjoyed good neighborliness and mutual benefits, and kept solidarity in trying times. The bilateral relations have achieved leapfrog growth and cooperation in various fields has born fruitful results. This provides a strong boost to the development and revitalization of the two countries and positive energy to the peace and stability of Central Asia and the world at large.

The upcoming visit to China by President Shavkat Mirziyoyev early in the new year fully reflects the strength of our bilateral relations and the deep friendship between the two heads of state. The two sides will take this opportunity to elevate bilateral relations and add new dimensions to the China-Uzbekistan community with a shared future. During this visit, the two countries will hold events on culture, education and sub-national cooperation, deepen cooperation across the board and bring more benefits to the two countries and two peoples.

Reuters: Yesterday India’s top industrial policy bureaucrat Singh said at the World Economic Forum that India could ease its heightened scrutiny of Chinese investments if the two countries’ border remains peaceful. What is your response?

Mao Ning: In recent years, the international community has been questioning that there are hidden calculations behind the discriminatory measures and selective law enforcement adopted by India against Chinese companies there. If relevant reports are true, then it proves that the questions are not made in a vacuum.

China always believes that China-India boundary question is a historic issue and should be placed and resolved appropriately in our bilateral relations. The situation on the China-India border has been stable on the whole, and the settlement process should not influence the normal development of our bilateral relationship. In fact, the two-way trade volume between China and India has exceeded USD 100 billion in recent consecutive years and kept rising annually, which shows the resilience and potential of economic and trade cooperation between the two countries.

China hopes that India could fully recognize the win-win nature of China-India economic and trade cooperation, and provide a fair, just, transparent and nondiscriminatory business environment for Chinese companies investing and operating in India.

Dragon TV: To follow up on your announcement that Prime Minister of Antigua and Barbuda Gaston Browne will pay an official visit to China, can you share with us the arrangements of the visit and China’s expectation?

Mao Ning: China welcomes Prime Minister Gaston Browne’s visit to China after the previous one in 2014. During the visit, President Xi Jinping will meet with Prime Minister Browne, Premier Li Qiang will hold a welcoming ceremony for him, have talks and jointly attend the signing ceremony of cooperation documents with him, and Chairman of the NPC Standing Committee Zhao Leji will meet with him. The two sides will have an in-depth exchange of views on bilateral relations and issues of mutual interest and jointly draw a blueprint for the future of the bilateral relations. Besides Beijing, Prime Minister Browne will also visit Zhejiang and Shanghai.

Antigua and Barbuda is an important country in the Caribbean and an important cooperation partner of China in this region. Over recent years, China and Antigua and Barbuda have achieved steady progress in the bilateral relations and set an example of countries of different sizes respecting each other, carrying out equal-footed and mutually beneficial cooperation and achieving common development. The just-concluded year of 2023 marked the 40th anniversary of diplomatic relations between the two countries. China believes that this visit will further promote political mutual trust, deepen practical cooperation in various areas, consolidate the traditional friendship, and bring the bilateral relations to a new level.

CCTV: Foreign Minister Wang Yi concluded his visit to Egypt, Tunisia, Togo and Côte d’Ivoire yesterday. This is the 34th consecutive year that Africa has been the destination of Chinese foreign ministers’ annual first overseas visit. Could you share with us some of the highlights during this visit? What signals have been sent out? What does China envisage for the future growth of China-Africa relationship and cooperation?

Mao Ning: Foreign Minister Wang Yi’s visit is a continuation of the fine tradition that our foreign ministers make their first overseas trips to Africa at the beginning of a new year. It is a concrete action to interpret and practice the principle of sincerity, real results, amity and good faith proposed by President Xi Jinping and the spirit of China-Africa friendship and cooperation. It also demonstrates the importance attached by China to Africa and China’s firm support for Africa’s development and revitalization. It shows that China-Africa friendship has stood the test of time, built on our past achievements and opened up a new future.

During the visit, Foreign Minister Wang Yi had an in-depth exchange of views on bilateral relations and regional and international issues of mutual interest with the African sides, reached broad consensus, consolidated the political mutual trust, and promoted exchanges and cooperation in all fields. The African sides reiterated their commitment to the one-China principle and support for China’s efforts in safeguarding national sovereignty and territorial integrity. The two sides will jointly call for an equal and orderly multipolar world and a universally beneficial and inclusive economic globalization. Working hand in hand on the path of modernization, the two sides will stay committed to the defining feature of solidarity and coordination of the Global South.

This year, the new edition of the Forum on China-Africa Cooperation will be held in China. China will work with Africa to promote the synergy between high-quality Belt and Road cooperation, the Global Development Initiative, the Global Security Initiative and the Global Civilization Initiative, and the Agenda 2063 of the African Union and African countries’ development strategies. We will deepen exchanges on experience of governance, advance cooperation initiatives in line with the development needs of China and Africa in the new era, and lend strong impetus to a high-level China-Africa community with a shared future.

AFP: It’s reported that a senior official of the Houthis promised the safe passage of Russian and Chinese ships through the Red Sea. Could you confirm it? 

Mao Ning: I’m not aware of the situation you mentioned. On the situation in the Red Sea, Foreign Minister Wang Yi has elaborated on China’s position in time in Egypt, which you may refer to. I want to reiterate that the Red Sea is an important international trade route for goods and energy. China calls for a halt to the harassment and attacks on civilian ships to keep global industrial and supply chains unimpeded and safeguard the international trade order. At the same time, fueling tensions in the Red Sea and heightening security risks in the whole region should be avoided. Foreign Minister Wang Yi also stressed that the tension in the Red Sea is a prominent manifestation of the spillover of the Gaza conflict. The priority now is to end the fighting in Gaza as soon as possible to avoid further escalation and prevent the situation from getting out of control.

Hubei TV: According to local media reports, a handover ceremony for China-aided mine-clearance equipment to Cambodia was held in Phnom Penh on January 18, and China and Cambodia also signed a memorandum of understanding on mine-clearance cooperation. Do you have any comment on this?

Mao Ning: As one of the countries worst affected by landmines, Cambodia is, under the leadership of Prime Minister Hun Manet, making all-out effort to achieve the mine-free goal by 2025. As a good neighbor, good partner and good brother of Cambodia, China has cared much about the landmine problem in Cambodia. Since 1998, we have been providing Cambodia with support of various forms, including funding, mine-clearance equipment and personnel training. Mine-clearance cooperation has become an important part of the China-Cambodia comprehensive strategic cooperative partnership, an important component of the “diamond hexagon” bilateral cooperation framework, and a vivid example of the two sides working together to implement the Global Security Initiative.

The signing of the MOU on mine-clearance cooperation provides a more solid basis for deeper cooperation in this area. Going forward, China stands ready to step up cooperation with Cambodia and provide more support for Cambodia in its effort to clear all landmines and achieve the mine-free goal by 2025 as scheduled.

Antara: The eighth meeting of the China-Philippines Bilateral Consultation Mechanism on the South China Sea was held in Shanghai yesterday and co-chaired by China’s Assistant Foreign Minister Nong Rong and Philippine Foreign Ministry Undersecretary Theresa Lazaro. What are the results? 

Mao Ning: The Chinese side has released the readout, which you may refer to. I want to stress that China and the Philippines agreed to implement the important common understandings reached by the two heads of state on maritime issues, continue to properly manage maritime differences and disagreements through friendly consultation, advance practical maritime cooperation, and jointly uphold peace and stability at sea. The two sides also reached common ground on advancing the maritime communication mechanism and cooperation on coast guard, marine science and technology, and other fields.

CCTV: We noted that Dennis Francis, President of the 78th Session of the United Nations General Assembly (UNGA), wrote on social network X reaffirming that the work of UNGA will adhere to the one-China principle guided by UNGA Resolution 2758. In the past few days, ASEAN, the League of Arab States, the African Union and the Shanghai Cooperation Organization reiterated in different ways their support for the one-China principle. What’s your comment?

Mao Ning: The one-China principle is a prevailing international consensus and a basic norm governing international relations.

So far, over 100 countries and international organizations have openly reiterated their commitment to the one-China principle. Apart from countries and organizations that have already been mentioned, more countries and organizations, including Malaysia, Yemen, Algeria, Sudan, South Sudan, Nigeria, Côte d’Ivoire, Guinea-Bissau, Angola, Zambia, Ghana, Benin, Mauritania, Togo, Seychelles, Gabon, Malawi, Cabo Verde, Georgia, Croatia, Cyprus, Bosnia and Herzegovina, North Macedonia, Samoa, Nauru, Mexico, Ecuador, Uruguay, Panama, the Dominican Republic, Costa Rica, Grenada and ASEAN, have spoken up by various means. We highly commend these countries and organizations.

TASS: Ukrainian Foreign Minister Dmytro Kuleba, when attending the World Economic Forum, said that he is planning to arrange a telephone conversation between Ukrainian President Zelenskyy and Chinese leader. What is China’s comment on this plan? 

Mao Ning: China and Ukraine have kept smooth communication channels and exchanged views on issues of mutual concerns. On the specifics you mentioned, I have no information to offer.

AFP: Has China helped mediate between Pakistan and Iran to cool down the tension?

Mao Ning: We noticed that Pakistan and Iran communicated with each other. We support the two sides in resolving differences and disagreements through dialogue and consultation. If needed, China is willing to play a constructive role.

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