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Foreign Ministry Spokesperson Mao Ning’s Regular Press Conference on February 22, 2024

2024-02-22 20:05

CCTV: Foreign Minister Wang Yi just wrapped up his visit to Europe. Apart from visiting Spain and France, Minister Wang also met during the Munich Security Conference with leaders or foreign ministers from several European countries, including Serbia, Germany, the UK and Poland. He also held a meeting with High Representative of the European Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy. What kind of signal does this visit send on the future of China-Europe relations?

Mao Ning: Two decades on since China and the EU forged a comprehensive strategic partnership, the two sides have become two major forces promoting a multi-polar world, two major markets supporting globalization and two major civilizations advocating diversity. The world has entered a new period of disorder and transformation, which further highlights the strategic significance and global influence of China-Europe relations.

Europe is a key priority for China’s major-country diplomacy with Chinese characteristics and also an important partner for achieving Chinese Modernization. We welcome Europe to share the opportunities provided by China’s supersize market and to actively participate in China’s high-level and institutional opening-up. We believe European countries will see more opportunities for cooperation in China’s high-quality development. The European side is positive in enhancing exchanges at all levels between China and Europe and is enthusiastic about deepening practical cooperation. They hope that more concrete outcomes will be achieved in cooperation of areas such as economy and trade, energy, green and digital development, education and people-to-people exchange.

Both China and Europe support a multi-polar world, greater democracy in international relations and the important role of the UN and oppose bloc confrontation and zero-sum games. The two sides will strengthen communication and coordination within multilateral frameworks, including the UN, WTO and G20 to jointly facilitate a political settlement of hot-spot issues and build international consensus and play a leading role in tackling climate change, AI and other major agenda. 

In the future, the two sides will always make partnership the underlining tone and cooperation the defining feature of China-EU relations. The two sides will seek common ground while shelving and resolving differences to promote steady progress and long-term development of China-Europe relations.

Reuters: Today, Mike Gallagher and other US lawmakers emphasized during their visit to Taiwan that the US will continue to support Taiwan, no matter who becomes the next US president. What’s your comment?

Mao Ning: Taiwan is an inalienable part of China’s territory. China opposes any form of official interaction between the US and Taiwan authorities and rejects US interference in Taiwan affairs in whatever form or under whatever pretext. We urge the US to be mindful of the extreme complexity and sensitivity of the Taiwan question, abide by the one-China principle and the three China-US joint communiqués, prudently and properly handle issues relating to Taiwan, stop official contact with Taiwan and stop sending any wrong signal to the separatist forces for “Taiwan independence”.

Xinhua News Agency: Today marks the 60th anniversary of diplomatic ties between China and the Republic of the Congo. How would China comment on the growth of China-ROC relations in the past six decades? What is China’s expectation for deeper and broader cooperation between the two countries and the growth of the overall relations between China and African countries in the future?

Mao Ning: Today marks the 60th anniversary of the diplomatic relations between China and the Republic of the Congo. President Xi Jinping and President Denis Sassou-N’Guesso exchanged messages of congratulations to commemorate this important day.

When meeting with President Sassou-N’Guesso last October, President Xi Jinping noted that shared ideals, mutual trust and mutual support are the key to the sustained and steady growth of China-Congo relations. Over the past six decades, no matter how the international landscape has evolved, the two countries have always shared weal and woe, and given each other mutual understanding and support on major issues of core interests. Our two countries have journeyed together with similar philosophies, and been each other’s true partners with mutual trust and iron-clad friends with mutual support. Over the past six decades, the two sides have striven forward together, made solid efforts and engaged in sincere cooperation that delivered tangible benefits to the two peoples. The No.1 National Highway in the Congo has shortened travel time between the capital Brazzaville and the economic center Pointe-Noire from one week to eight hours. The Sino-Congolese Bank for Africa is providing convenient financial services to local residents. The aircraft maintenance center that is under construction will further boost the aviation industry of the Congo and the sub-region. The China-Congo Friendship Primary School, built with the aid from the Congo to the earthquake-stricken area in Yushu, Qinghai, is a vivid illustration of China-Congo friendship that shines in difficult times.

Going forward, China stands ready to continue working with the Congo to deliver on the common understandings of the leaders of the two countries and bring the China-Congo comprehensive strategic cooperative partnership to a new level. China will take the Forum on China-Africa Cooperation meetings to be held this year as an opportunity to seek synergy between Chinese modernization and Africa’s peace and development, work with friendly countries of Africa including the Congo, and build the China-Africa community with a shared future at a higher level.

Fuji TV: The international community is closely watching the incident in the Taiwan Strait. No side wants to see any escalation. In China’s view, what’s the most appropriate way to maintain peace and stability in the Taiwan Strait?

Mao Ning: First of all, cross-Strait issues are not diplomatic issues, so I’d refer you to competent authorities. 

To uphold peace and stability in the Taiwan Strait, the key is to adhere to the one-China principle and firmly oppose “Taiwan independence.”

China Daily: It’s reported Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro recently commented that the old colonial world characterized by wars, interventions, genocide, and a superiority complex is being replaced by a new world order in which BRICS plays a significant role. What’s China’s comment?

Mao Ning: As an important platform for cooperation among emerging markets and developing countries, BRICS is committed to upholding multilateralism and has taken an active part in global economic governance to make the international order more just and equitable. Amid emerging risks and challenges in today’s world, the developing countries share an increasing desire to pursue solidarity and progress, reject external interference and seek strength through unity. That is why BRICS is widely recognized by the emerging markets and developing countries and has become a staunch force for good in international affairs.

BRICS advocates openness, inclusiveness and win-win cooperation for common development and prosperity. China stands ready to work with all parties to continue to deepen the BRICS strategic partnership, actively expand practical cooperation in various areas, with a view to advancing a more balanced and effective global governance architecture and making more BRICS’ contribution to world peace and development.

Bloomberg: I have two questions from Bloomberg. The first one is that there have been more media reports on the US telling allies that Russia plans to launch a nuclear weapon into space likely this year. Russia has denied such an intention. We wondered if the Foreign Ministry could share China’s position on sending nuclear weapons into space? The second question, according to the Chinese Embassy in the US, China’s wildlife agency reached an agreement with the San Diego Zoo in California and also the Madrid Zoo in Spain on a new round of international cooperation on panda conservation. We wondered if China will be sending more pandas to the United States?

Mao Ning: On your first question, China’s position on space arms control is consistent and clear. We advocate the peaceful use of space and oppose arms race in space or weaponizing the space.

On your second question, about giant panda international cooperation, this morning, the China Wildlife Conservation Association announced that China will carry out a new round of international cooperation on giant panda conservation. Giant pandas are a national treasure of China and enjoy affection from people across the world. Since the 1990s, China has carried out giant panda conservation cooperation with 26 institutions from 20 countries, which enhanced the capacity for giant panda conservation and research, increased international cooperation on rare and endangered wildlife conversation, and deepened friendship between the people of China and other countries.

We learned that relevant Chinese authorities have signed new agreements with Zoo Madrid of Spain and San Diego Zoo of the US on cooperation on giant panda conservation. There is ongoing consultation with the National Zoo in Washington D.C. and Schönbrunn Zoo in Austria on new giant panda cooperation.

We hope that the new round of international cooperation on giant panda conservation between China and relevant countries will further enrich scientific research in protecting giant panda and other endangered species, and forge closer bonds between our peoples.

CCTV: It’s reported the Pentagon said the US Department of State has approved the potential sale to Taiwan of advanced tactical data link system upgrade planning worth USD 75 million. What’s the Foreign Ministry’s comment?

Mao Ning: The US arms sales to China’s Taiwan region seriously violate the one-China principle and the stipulations of the three China-US joint communiqués, especially the August 17 Communiqué of 1982. Such sales undermine China’s sovereignty and security interests, and harm China-US relations and peace and stability across the Taiwan Strait. China always firmly opposes them. We urge the US to earnestly abide by the one-China principle and the stipulations of the three China-US joint communiqués, stop selling arms to Taiwan and having military contact with Taiwan, and stop creating factors that could cause tensions in the Taiwan Strait. China will take strong and resolute measures to firmly defend our sovereignty and territorial integrity.

AFP: A Chinese tech security company was able to breach foreign governments, infiltrate social media accounts and hack personal computers, according to a massive data leak analyzed by experts. This company is called Anxun. The company has competed for Chinese government contracts. I have a specific question for you. Can you specifically confirm or deny whether the Chinese government has hired third-party contractors to conduct hacking operations abroad?

Mao Ning: I don't have the specific information on what you mentioned. As a principle, China firmly opposes and combats all forms of cyberattacks in accordance with the law.

Kyodo News: According to a report by Japanese opposition party Social Democratic Party (SDP), when meeting with SDP Leader Fukushima Mizuho this January, Chinese Ambassador to Japan Wu Jianghao said China is considering removing the suspension of all seafood imports from Japan but such removal will not come off now. Can you confirm this consideration? 

Mao Ning: We stand by our position on the ocean discharge of Fukushima nuclear-contaminated water.

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