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​Foreign Ministry Spokesperson Mao Ning’s Regular Press Conference on May 28, 2024

2024-05-28 20:03

At the invitation of the government of El Salvador, President Xi Jinping’s Special Envoy and Minister of Culture and Tourism Sun Yeli will attend the inauguration of the second term of El Salvador’s President in San Salvador on June 1.

CCTV: At the ninth China-Japan-ROK Trilateral Summit Meeting held yesterday, the three countries issued the joint declaration of the meeting. How does China see this outcome?

Mao Ning: Yesterday, the China-Japan-ROK Trilateral Summit Meeting was held in Seoul after a hiatus of more than four years. The meeting adopted the Joint Declaration of the Ninth China-Japan-ROK Trilateral Summit. It sent a message of East Asian countries working together to strengthen solidarity, deepen cooperation and promote economic integration in the region, and injected stability and positive energy into a turbulent and rapidly changing world.

The joint declaration gave a positive assessment of the significance and role of the trilateral cooperation, identified key cooperation areas, and set some new ambitious targets, all of which shows the strong demand and internal driving force for the trilateral cooperation.

China, Japan and the ROK reaffirmed commitment to implementing the Trilateral Cooperation Vision for the Next Decade adopted at the trilateral summit meeting in 2019. The three countries agreed to deepen trade and economic cooperation, discuss speeding up negotiations for a trilateral FTA and encourage accelerated discussion on the accession procedures of new membership to RCEP. They reaffirmed their commitment to keeping markets open, decided to strengthen supply chain cooperation, continue communication in the field of export control and work to ensure a global level playing field. The three countries agreed to promote cooperation in science and innovation and in digital transformation, recognized the importance of communication on AI, and agreed to strive to resume the Trilateral Science and Technology Ministers’ Meeting and the Trilateral ICT Ministers’ Meeting. The three countries agreed to enhance people-to-people and cultural exchanges and designated 2025-2026 as the Year of Cultural Exchange among the three countries. We will strive to increase the number of people-to-people exchanges among the three countries to 40 million by 2030. China, Japan and the ROK will also maintain close communication in the UN, on East Asian cooperation and within other multilateral frameworks where all three countries participate.

In addition to the joint declaration, the meeting also issued two outcome documents, namely the Joint Statement on a 10 Year Vision for Trilateral IP Cooperation, and the Joint Statement on Future Pandemic Prevention, Preparedness and Response.

China-Japan-ROK cooperation has embarked on a new journey of all-round growth. Going forward, China will work with the ROK and Japan to deliver on those outcome documents and deepen friendly exchanges and practical cooperation in various areas, so as to give a stronger boost to the development of the three countries, bring benefit to the people in the region, and uphold peace, stability and prosperity of Northeast Asia and beyond.

Yonhap News Agency: I have two questions. First, the DPRK’s launch of a reconnaissance satellite yesterday ended in failure. Analysts say that the DPRK notified other countries of its plan to launch a reconnaissance satellite on the early morning of the day of the ROK-China-Japan trilateral summit meeting to throw cold water on the trilateral cooperation. Other analysts say that the launch violates UN Security Council resolutions. What is China’s position on this? Second, the Joint Declaration of the Ninth ROK-China-Japan Trilateral Summit does not include the goal of denuclearization on the Korean Peninsula which was mentioned in previous meeting documents. Some media reports say that this is due to China’s opposition. What is China’s position on this?

Mao Ning: On your first question, China noted the developments on the DPRK’s satellite launch, including the DPRK statement and the response from other parties. We believe that ensuring peace and stability on the Korean Peninsula and advancing the political settlement of the Korean Peninsula issue serves the common interests of all parties, and we call on all parties to make constructive efforts to this end. 

On your second question, China’s basic position on the Korean Peninsula issue remains unchanged.

Dragon TV: Last weekend, the China-Europe Railway Express (CRE) registered over 90,000 trips in total, shipping freight worth over USD 380 billion. For the past 10 plus years of its development from scratch to what it is today, how do you think of the role of the CRE in China-Europe and global trade?

Mao Ning: Congratulations on the new record. As a flagship project and signature brand of Belt and Road cooperation, the China-Europe Railway Express (CRE) has reached 223 cities in 25 European countries, and linked more than 100 cities in 11 Asian countries. For the past 8 years, the annual trips have increased from 1,702 to over 17,000 with the value of annual freight up from USD 8 billion to USD 56.7 billion. The CRE has no doubt opened a “golden channel” for trade in Eurasia.

Transport leads to prosperous industries. What the CRE carries are goods, but what it brings are opportunities and hope. The CRE not only makes it faster and more convenient for Chinese and European goods to reach each other’s market, but also keeps fostering new logistic services, industries, business centers and industrial parks. It now serves as a bridge for mutually beneficial trade.

We will work with countries along the lines to promote high-quality development of the CRE, inject more stability to the world economy and provide more driving force for common development.

TV Asahi: The DPRK’s foreign ministry said in a statement released last night that some content in the Joint Declaration of the Ninth China-Japan-ROK Trilateral Summit constitutes gross interference in the DPRK’s internal affairs and that the DPRK strongly condemns it. What’s the Foreign Ministry’s comment?

Mao Ning: The ninth Trilateral Summit Meeting among China, Japan and the ROK was held in Seoul yesterday, and the three countries issued a joint declaration. The three parties reaffirmed that maintaining peace, stability and prosperity on the Korean Peninsula and in Northeast Asia serves the common interest and is the common responsibility of the three countries. They reiterated positions on regional peace and stability, denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula and the abductions issue, respectively. They agreed to continue to make positive efforts for the political settlement of the Korean Peninsula issue.

We hope relevant parties will firmly uphold peace and stability on the Peninsula and promote the political settlement of the Korean Peninsula issue.

Reuters: Also on the joint declaration by China, South Korea and Japan. What steps will China take to meet this commitment to the denuclearization on the Korean Peninsula? And will China’s bilateral relations with North Korea risk decline?

Mao Ning: Maintaining peace and stability on the Korean Peninsula and working for the political settlement of the Korean Peninsula issue serve all parties’ interests, and require constructive efforts from all parties.

On China-DPRK relations, China’s position is consistent.

Antara: Israeli air attack on tents housing displaced people in Rafah, Gaza killed more than 40 Palestinians, including many children. Some global leaders urge the implementation of International Court of Justice order to halt Israel’s assault. How Chinese government can support humanitarian assistance for Gaza and also the implementation of the ICJ order?

Mao Ning: China is gravely concerned over Israel’s military operation in Rafah. We noted that the UN International Court of Justice has for the third time delivered the order for provisional measures on the Palestinian-Israeli conflict and for the first time explicitly asked for ceasing the military offensive in relevant region. This reflects the world’s consensus on and strong call for an urgent ceasefire, protection of civilians and deescalation of the humanitarian crisis. Relevant provisional measures should be effectively implemented as soon as possible.

China’s position on the Palestinian-Israeli conflict is consistent and clear. We oppose any action that violates international law, including international humanitarian law. We ask all parties to protect civilians and civilian facilities, and strongly urge Israel to heed the call of the international community and stop the offensive on Rafah. The world needs to work together to deescalate and end the humanitarian crisis in Gaza.

Ukrinform News Agency: Last time, China often calls for deescalation in the Russia-Ukraine war but does not name the countries to whom such calls are addressed. Russia, for more than two years, has continued invasion in neighboring Ukraine. So, earlier this month, Russia opened a new front in the eastern Ukrainian Kharkiv region, and last week, it launched a series of airstrikes on civilian objects in Kharkiv city. Can you specify whether the Chinese side’s calls for deescalation are addressed to Russia or not?

Mao Ning: China believes that dialogue and negotiation is the only viable way out of the Ukraine crisis. Parties need to all be committed to deescalating the situation and seeking political settlement of the crisis. This position has been clear and consistent.

Phoenix TV: It’s reported that the spokesperson of the US State Department issued a statement last weekend and expressed “concern over the People’s Liberation Army joint military drills around Taiwan.” What’s your comment? 

Mao Ning: The Taiwan question is purely China’s internal affair that brooks no external interference. The US has no right to make irresponsible remarks on it. Our joint drills around the Taiwan island are a resolute punitive response to the provocation for “Taiwan independence” made by the leader of the Taiwan region in his May 20 speech and a serious warning to external forces that connive at and support “Taiwan independence” and interfere in China’s internal affairs. It is a just move to safeguard national sovereignty and territorial integrity and is necessary, legitimate and fully consistent with international law and common practices.

After coming into office, the Taiwan region’s leader did not even wait before laying bare his true identity as a separatist for “Taiwan independence.” His speech on May 20 is a declaration of his agenda for “Taiwan independence,” which fully reveals his nature as a “worker for Taiwanese independence.” What has happened shows once again that the most dangerous change to the cross-Strait status quo and the biggest source of damage to cross-Strait peace are the separatist moves for “Taiwan independence” and connivance and support from US-led external forces.

In disregard of China’s firm opposition, the US is the one that acted wrongly first by sending a delegation and issuing a congratulatory statement by the Secretary of State on the so-called “inauguration ceremony,” which sent a seriously wrong signal to “Taiwan independence” separatist forces. The groundless accusation the US then made against China’s lawful and legitimate steps to uphold national sovereignty and territorial integrity just compounded its mistake. We urge the US to fully recognize the fundamental nature and dangerous ambition of “Taiwan independence” separatist forces, and the grave harm and enormous risks of “Taiwan independence” separatism to peace and stability in the Taiwan Strait and to China-US relations, earnestly abide by the one-China principle and the three China-US joint communiqués, honor the commitment made by US leaders on the Taiwan question and stop emboldening and supporting “Taiwan independence” separatist forces in any form. 

Our resolve to defend our sovereignty and territorial integrity will not waver. Our determination to oppose external interference in China’s internal affairs will not change. “Taiwan independence” will lead nowhere and anyone who plays with fire by supporting “Taiwan independence” will get burned. Anyone who seeks to challenge the one-China principle will invariably fail. 

Reuters: A few countries have already sent relief teams to Papua New Guinea after the deadly landslide. What practical help will China offer or has offered? And will China send a relief team to Papua New Guinea?

Mao Ning: China is closely following the situation and maintains close communication with Papua New Guinea. We will provide assistance in light of the situation and the needs for disaster relief.

Beijing Youth Daily: It is reported that Prime Minister of Bangladesh Sheikh Hasina publicly criticized in her speech US interference in her country’s internal affairs, saying that she was offered a hassle-free reelection by a white man of a foreign country if she allowed that country to build an airbase in Bangladesh. And she also said that it was not the first time the country made offers to her and she would never “come to power by renting part of the country or handing it over to another country.” What’s your comment? 

Mao Ning: We noted Prime Minister Hasina’s speech that demonstrates the Bangladeshi national ethos of pursuing independence and not being intimidated by foreign pressure. Certain country, in order to seek its selfish interests, wantonly uses other countries’ elections as a bargaining chip, blatantly interferes in the internal affairs of other countries, and undermines regional security and stability. It fully shows the hegemonic, domineering and bullying nature of that country. 

China firmly supports Bangladesh in safeguarding its sovereignty, independence and territorial integrity, firmly supports it in pursuing an independent foreign policy, and firmly supports it in opposing foreign interference to jointly safeguard regional peace, stability, development and prosperity. 

Macau Monthly: It was reported that the recent flooding in northern Armenia has affected dozens of settlements and close to 4,000 people, with four people dead, many more injured, and 17 bridges and many roads damaged. What is your comment on this?

Mao Ning: China noted that the flooding in northern Armenia has resulted in multiple fatalities, injuries and loss of property. China expresses sympathies to Armenia. We believe the Armenian people will overcome the disaster and rebuild their homes. China is, as always, ready to do everything we can to help.

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