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Foreign Ministry Spokesperson Mao Ning’s Regular Press Conference on September 14, 2022

Xinhua News Agency: The 10,000th trip of the China-Europe Railway Express since the beginning of 2022 was made to Europe the other day, reaching the mark 10 days earlier than last year. What is China’s comment? 

Mao Ning: The China-Europe Railway Express made its 10,000th trip this year sooner than last year despite the stress on the global supply chain and the global economic slowdown. This is indeed inspiring. The China-Europe Railway Express currently runs on 82 routes and reaches 200 cities in 24 European countries. The service is an accelerator for China-Europe trade and a boon for the socioeconomic development of countries and regions along the routes. It has also played an important role in stabilizing the global industrial and supply chains and promoting post-COVID world economic recovery.

China and Europe are each other’s important trade and economic cooperation partners and key forces for shaping an open world economy. Despite COVID-19 and other complex factors, China-Europe trade and economic cooperation has shown strong resilience and dynamism. Bilateral trade hit a record high of $820 billion in 2021. The latest data from Eurostat shows that in the first half of 2022, trade between the 27 EU countries with China reached 413.9 billion euros, up by 28.3% year-on-year. These figures are evidence of the close economic ties and vast cooperation potential between China and Europe. 

In the face of increasingly complex international landscape, the world needs more bridges and roads rather than walls. China and Europe need to work together for development and prosperity and jointly advance international cooperation and human progress. That is where China-Europe relations should be headed.

AFP: My question is still about President Xi Jinping’s state visits. Yesterday you didn’t disclose his agenda. Could you share some information today, especially on whether the flight taking the delegation to Central Asia has already taken off? When will they arrive in Kazakhstan? A Russian official said yesterday that President Xi will meet President Putin on Thursday. Can the foreign ministry confirm this?  

Mao Ning: Thank you for your interest in President Xi’s visits. We will release relevant information in due course. Please stay tuned. 

Phoenix TV: Canada’s Fraser Institute continued to rank Hong Kong at the top of 165 economies in the Economic Freedom of the World 2022 Annual Report it lately released. Do you have any comment?

Mao Ning: I have also taken note of the report you mentioned. The Hong Kong Special Administrative Region (HKSAR) Government welcomed the report in a statement. Since Hong Kong’s return to the motherland 25 years ago, with the full support of the Central Government, its economy has flourished, its status as an international financial, shipping and trading center has continued to be consolidated and its free, open and law-based business environment has been maintained. Hong Kong has been ranked among the freest and most competitive regions by multiple international institutions. This is a vote of confidence from the international community for the city’s unique advantages and bright prospects for development. Businesses from across the world are welcome to capitalize on this and come to Hong Kong to find the many business opportunities it has to offer and achieve greater success.

Dragon TV: We noted that the 22nd China International Fair for Investment and Trade (CIFIT) was successfully held in recent days and achieved many important outcomes, which received high attention from the international community and unanimous praise from foreign participants. What is China’s expectation and outlook for further opening-up and cooperation in the future?

Mao Ning: The 22nd China International Fair for Investment and Trade (CIFIT) concluded successfully recently. Under the theme of “Global Development: Sharing Digital Opportunities, Investing in Green Future”, the fair was participated online and offline by more than 800 business and trade groups, more than 4,000 companies and about 60,000 business people from over 90 countries and regions. Participants reached cooperation agreements on more than 480 projects with a total investment value of 342 billion yuan. The success of CIFIT once again demonstrates China’s positive attitude toward expanding opening-up and cooperation and integrating into the world.

I wish to draw your attention to a highlight of this year’s fair — economic and trade cooperation under the Belt and Road Initiative (BRI). More than 60 events were held on Belt and Road international cooperation. Participants agreed that since the BRI was launched nine years ago, trade between China and participating countries has reached a new level and investment cooperation has made new progress. According to the General Administration of Customs of China, China’s imports and exports with BRI partner countries totaled 8.77 trillion yuan in the first eight months of this year, up by 20.2% year-on-year. This shows that high-quality Belt and Road cooperation not only improves infrastructure connectivity among countries, but also fosters a new platform for deepening global trade and investment. 

Going forward, China will continue to advance international economic and trade cooperation and promote global development and prosperity. China will open its door wider to the world. 

Bloomberg: A Taiwan-based outlet reported that Chinese Ambassador to the US Qin Gang told US Deputy Secretary of State Wendy Sherman last month that China-US ties would “face disintegration” if the Taiwan Policy Act is passed. My question is, does that accurately characterize Ambassador Qin’s remarks? 

Mao Ning: I have no knowledge of what Ambassador Qin specifically said, but I believe he was stressing the importance of upholding the one-China principle to China-US relations. The Chinese side has repeatedly expressed its firm opposition to the Taiwan Policy Act of 2022. The one-China principle constitutes the political foundation of China-US relations. This principle is at the heart of the three China-US joint communiqués. The US side needs to abide by the one-China principle and the provisions of the three China-US joint communiqués and stop advancing the relevant Taiwan-related Act. Only by handling Taiwan-related issues prudently and properly can further damage be prevented to China-US relations.

Global Times: It is reported that Russian President Putin appointed Morgulov Igor Vladimirovich, Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs of Russia, as the new Ambassador to China on September 13. What is China’s comment? 

Mao Ning: China welcomes Russia’s appointment of a new Ambassador to China. We believe that Mr. Morgulov will play a key part in promoting friendship and mutual trust between the two peoples, and advancing cooperation between the two countries in various fields. We thank the outgoing Russian Ambassador to China Andrey Denisov for his contribution to the development of bilateral relations. We wish him all the best in all endeavors.

China is ready to continue to work with Russia to follow through on the important common understandings between the two heads of state and keep bringing our comprehensive strategic partnership of coordination for a new era to new heights.

Yonhap News Agency: Chairman Li Zhanshu will pay a friendly visit to the Republic of Korea (ROK) this week. I wonder if you could share the purpose and schedule of the visit. 

Mao Ning: At the invitation of the ROK’s National Assembly Speaker Kim Jin-pyo, Chairman of the Standing Committee of the National People’s Congress Li Zhanshu will visit the ROK from September 15 to 17. This upcoming visit will be an important high-level exchange between China and the ROK amid COVID-19 and the first visit to the ROK by China’s Chairman of the Standing Committee of the National People’s Congress after seven years. During his visit, Chairman Li Zhanshu will meet with President Yoon Suk-yeol, have talks with Speaker Kim Jin-pyo, and have friendly exchanges with people from various sectors in the ROK. China looks forward to having in-depth exchange of views on bilateral relations and issues of mutual interest during the visit so as to further deepen the China-ROK strategic cooperative partnership. 

Reuters: I’d like to ask a question about a Reuters report that came out yesterday. So the United States is considering options for a sanctions package against China in order to deter it. And the European Union has come under diplomatic pressure from Taipei to do the same. This is according to sources familiar with these discussions. These are a response to fears which have grown as military tensions escalate in the Taiwan Strait. Does the foreign ministry have any comment?

Mao Ning: The root cause of the current tensions across the Taiwan Strait is that the one-China principle has been challenged and the DPP authorities keep pursuing the “Taiwan-independence” separatist agenda. The Taiwan question is purely China’s internal affair. No foreign country has the right to interfere in it. Let me stress that no country or individual should underestimate the Chinese government and people’s strong resolve and firm will to safeguard our sovereignty and territorial integrity and to realize national reunification. 

AFP: Pope Francis of the Roman Catholic Church said yesterday when he arrived in Kazakhstan that he was willing to go to China at any time. Does China consider having talks with the Pope?

Mao Ning: I have also noted relevant reports and appreciate the friendship and goodwill conveyed by Pope Francis. China and the Vatican maintain good communication. We are also ready to keep our dialogue and cooperation with the Vatican going and actively advance the process of improving relations.

Reuters: This is another question regarding a Reuters report that also came out yesterday. Taiwan’s representative in Washington on Tuesday hosted international lawmakers in Washington who back sanctions on China if it continues to proceed with military drills around Taiwan. Does the foreign ministry have any comment?

Mao Ning: The one-China principle is the political foundation for the establishment and development of diplomatic relations between China and other countries. China firmly opposes any form of official exchanges between the Taiwan region and countries having diplomatic ties with China. Recently more than 170 countries and many international organizations have made their voice of justice heard. They reiterated their commitment to the one-China principle and expressed support for China’s efforts to firmly uphold its sovereignty and territorial integrity. This once again shows that the one-China principle is a shared consensus of the international community.

China opposes all foreign interference and never accepts any threat. The DPP authorities’ attempt to collude with external forces in pursuit of the “Taiwan-independence” separatist agenda will only lead to a dead end. Only by returning to the one-China principle and the 1992 Consensus can peace and stability across the Taiwan Strait be effectively ensured.

Reuters: Does the foreign ministry plan on announcing whom it will send to the funeral of Queen Elizabeth II?

Mao Ning: China is actively considering sending a high-level delegation to the state funeral of Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II. We will release the information in due course. Please check back for updates.

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