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Foreign Ministry Spokesperson Mao Ning’s Regular Press Conference on May 31, 2023

2023-05-31 19:48

At the invitation of the Chinese government, Her Royal Highness Princess Maha Chakri Sirindhorn of the Kingdom of Thailand will visit China from June 1 to 6. This will be Her Royal Highness Princess Sirindhorn’s 50th visit to China.

CCTV: You just announced that Her Royal Highness Princess Sirindhorn of Thailand will visit China. Can you share more about this visit? What does China expect to achieve through this visit?

Mao Ning: The Chinese and Thai people are brothers and our fraternity lasts forever. China warmly welcomes Her Royal Highness Princess Sirindhorn, a good and old friend of the Chinese people and recipient of the Friendship Medal, to pay the 50th visit to China. I believe that this visit will be another good story in the history of China-Thailand friendly exchanges, further enrich the profound culture of China-Thailand community with a shared future and create a new chapter of the special friendship between the two countries as close as one family.

During the visit, the Chinese leader will meet with Her Royal Highness Princess Sirindhorn and jointly attend the event held by the Chinese People’s Association for Friendship with Foreign Countries to celebrate Her Royal Highness’s 50th visit to China. Her Royal Highness Princess Sirindhorn will also travel to Guangdong besides Beijing.

TASS: During his meeting with Chinese Ambassador to Belgrade Chen Bo yesterday, Serbian President Aleksandar Vucic asked the Chinese Ambassador to convey to the Chinese leadership the request to exert influence on the international community regarding Kosovo and Metohija. Do you have any comment? Could you share more information?

Mao Ning: Yesterday, the Chinese Ambassador to Serbia met with President Aleksandar Vucic upon invitation. The two sides exchanged views on issues of mutual interest.

China and Serbia are comprehensive strategic partners and iron-clad friends. China always supports Serbia’s effort to uphold its sovereignty and territorial integrity. Under the current circumstances, escalation of tensions needs to be avoided and the peace and tranquility of the Western Balkan region upheld.

The Paper: According to reports, relevant institution recently released a report on incidents in the village of Moura pointing out that Malian forces and foreign mercenaries violated human rights in anti-terrorist operations. What’s China’s comment?

Mao Ning: China supports the Malian government’s effort of fighting terrorism and safeguarding national security and stability. China always advocates that all sides should have constructive dialogue and cooperation on human rights issues and opposes meddling in other countries’ internal affairs under the excuse of human rights.

Yonhap News Agency: According to reports, the DPRK fired a “space projectile” on May 31 and it fell into the Yellow Sea due to its engine failure. The ROK, the US and other countries accused the DPRK of violating the UN Security Council resolutions. What’s China’s position?

Mao Ning: How the Korean Peninsula issues developed into the current situation is clear and the situation today is not what China wants to see. The only way to prevent the situation from worsening is that all sides should face up to the crux of the absence of a peace mechanism on the Korean Peninsula, resume meaningful dialogue under the “dual track” approach and address each other’s reasonable concerns in a balanced way.

Reuters: Our first question is that the US said a Chinese fighter jet carried out an “unnecessarily aggressive” maneuver near a US military plane last week over the South China Sea in international airspace. Will the ministry comment on this? The second question is that Tesla CEO Elon Musk has met with the Foreign, Commerce, and Industry ministers last evening and earlier today. Which other ministries or senior officials will Elon Musk meet, and what has Elon Musk expressed to officials so far about what he hopes to achieve from his meetings in China?

Mao Ning: On your first question, I would like to point out that for quite some time, the US side has frequently sent aircraft and vessels to conduct close-in reconnaissance on China, seriously threatening China’s sovereignty and security. Such provocative and dangerous moves are the root cause for maritime security issues. The US needs to immediately stop such dangerous acts of provocation. We will continue to take necessary measures to firmly safeguard our sovereignty and security.

On your second question, China has released information on the relevant meetings, which you may refer to. I have nothing more to share at the moment.

Bloomberg: Does China support NATO’s efforts to send more troops to Kosovo and does China think that sending more troops is truly contributing to peace?

Mao Ning: China pays high attention to relevant developments. We support Serbia’s effort to safeguard sovereignty and territorial integrity, oppose unilateral actions by the temporary institutions in Pristina, and hope that the duty of establishing an association/community of Serb majority municipalities will be fulfilled. NATO needs to respect relevant country’s sovereignty and territorial integrity and truly make contribution to peace in the region.

RIA Novosti: Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro said Venezuela would like to become part of the BRICS as this association forms a new world order. Do you have any comment on this?

Mao Ning: As an important platform for cooperation among emerging markets and developing countries, BRICS is committed to upholding multilateralism, vigorously advancing the reform of the global governance system and increasing the representation and say of emerging markets and developing countries. It has become a positive, stable and constructive force in international affairs. China always believes that BRICS is an open and inclusive mechanism and supports the BRICS expansion process. We stand ready to bring more like-minded partners into the big family of BRICS.  

Joong-Ang Ilbo: My first question is, today The Hankyoreh reported that Director-General of the Department of Asian Affairs of the Foreign Ministry Liu Jinsong visited Seoul last week, conveying the “four noes” position of the Chinese government. China’s Foreign Ministry said that “he made clear China’s serious position on its core concerns”. Is this the “four noes” position? Do you have any comment on The Hankyoreh report? My second question is, Minister of the Chinese Embassy in the ROK Fang Kun said at an ROK-China-Japan cooperation day event yesterday that China always supports ROK-China-Japan cooperation. Do you have any comment?

Mao Ning: On your first question, we shared information on the consultations Director-General of the Department of Asian Affairs of the Foreign Ministry Liu Jinsong had in the ROK last week and you may refer to that. I want to stress that the current difficulties and challenges in the China-ROK relations are not caused by China. In recent consultations, China has seriously and comprehensively made clear its solemn position on its core interest to the ROK side. The ROK side should have an in-depth understanding of the crux of the problem, take it seriously and work with China to make positive effort for the sound and steady growth of China-ROK relations.

On your second question, China, Japan and the ROK are close neighbors. Cooperation among the three countries serve the common interests of all. China attaches importance to China-Japan-ROK cooperation. The three sides need to work together to safeguard the political foundation of bilateral relations and promote the steady, healthy and sustained growth of the trilateral cooperation.

AFP: The Wall Street Journal reports that China and India have effectively kicked out a large number of each other’s journalists recently by denying visa renewals. Can you confirm that this is happening and tell us why?

Mao Ning: Chinese journalists have suffered unfair and discriminatory treatment in India for a long time. In 2017, the Indian side shortened the period of validity of visas held by Chinese journalists in India to three months or even one month without any valid reason. Since 2020, the Indian side has refused to review and approve Chinese journalists’ applications for stationing in India. As a result, the number of Chinese journalists stationed in India has plummeted from 14 at the normal time to just one. As we speak, the Indian side still has not renewed the visa of the last Chinese journalist in the country. The number of Chinese journalists stationed in India is about to drop to zero. Considering this, the Chinese side has no choice but to take appropriate counter-measures to safeguard the legitimate rights and interests of Chinese media organizations. I would like to stress that China is still willing to maintain communication with India under the principles of mutual respect, equality and mutual benefit. We hope that India will work in the same direction with China, seriously respond to China’s legitimate concerns, and take concrete steps as soon as possible to create favorable conditions for restoring normal exchange between the media organizations of the two countries.

AFP: Myanmar media reports that China’s military official met with Myanmar vice-senior general Soe Win yesterday and the two of them discussed cooperation between the two countries’ armies. Can you confirm that this meeting took place and do you have any details of what was discussed?

Mao Ning: I’m not aware of what you mentioned. Please refer to the competent authorities.

Bloomberg: The US has accused several Chinese companies of shipping machines that make counterfeit pills to the US and Mexico and has hit more than a dozen entities with sanctions. Does the foreign ministry have any comment?

Mao Ning: The US has taken the so-called illicit drug-related crimes as an excuse to impose unreasonable sanctions on Chinese entities and individuals, which severely harms the lawful rights and interests of these companies and individuals. China strongly deplores and firmly opposes this.

The excuse for the US sanctions is that relevant Chinese companies and individuals exported pill press machines and die molds to the US and Mexico. It is well known that these are common goods that are not under control both in China and the wider world. In international trade, the responsibility for preventing relevant equipment from being used for making illicit drug lies with the importer. I’ll make an analogy to explain the situation: A knife can be used for cutting up vegetable or for killing. If someone attacked others with a knife, who should be brought to account? The one who used the knife to attack others or the producer of the knife? I think the answer is quite clear.

The US has itself to blame for its domestic drug abuse. Unilateral sanctions will not solve the US’s own problems but will only create further obstacles for China-US cooperation. China will continue to take necessary measures to safeguard the lawful rights and interests of Chinese companies and individuals.

AFP: Just to clarify the previous question on Indian journalists, you mentioned that China has to take appropriate countermeasures against India’s actions. Does it mean that China has indeed refused to renew visas for Indian journalists?

Mao Ning: We have been actively providing assistance and convenience to Indian journalists working and living in China. We treat them like friends and family. I believe many of you here know that some Indian journalists have been working and living in China for more than 10 years. The current situation is not what we want to see. We hope that the Indian side will immediately correct its wrongdoing and provide facilitation to the normal work and life of journalists from both countries.

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