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Foreign Ministry Spokesperson Mao Ning’s Regular Press Conference on September 30, 2022

CCTV: In the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO)’s Global Innovation Index 2022 released on September 29, China ranks the 11th, up by one place compared to last year. Do you have any comment?

Mao Ning: Actually, China’s ranking in the Global Innovation Index has gone up steadily for 10 consecutive years. It moved up by 23 places within 10 years from the 34th in 2012 to the 11th in 2022. This is the latest example of “China speed” and a reflection of China’s achievement in intellectual property (IP) protection. 

China attaches great importance to scientific and technological innovation, actively integrates itself into the global innovation network, and strictly protects IP rights. China has blazed a path of IP development with Chinese characteristics. From 2012 to 2021, China’s research and development (R&D) spending increased from 1.03 trillion yuan to 2.79 trillion yuan, with the ratio of total national R&D expenditures to GDP jumping from 1.91% to 2.44%. The full-time equivalent of R&D personnel in China has exceeded five million person-years, ranking first in the world for years running. Public satisfaction over China’s IP protection hit a record-high score of 80.61 out of 100, up from 63.69. 

Scientific and technological innovation is a powerful driving force for the development and progress of human society. No country can become an innovation hub all by itself or keep all the outcomes of innovation to itself. China is not only an important participant in cutting-edge innovation globally, but also an important contributor to joint efforts to solve global issues. In May this year, agreements including the Hague Agreement Concerning the International Registration of Industrial Designs entered into force in China, marking China’s accession to almost all major international IP conventions. The WIPO Arbitration and Mediation Shanghai Service was established to further strengthen exchanges and cooperation in cross-border IP dispute settlement. 

China will continue to step up cooperation with countries in scientific and technological innovation with more openness, take an active part in global IP governance, and make greater contribution to the balanced, inclusive and sustainable development of global IP protection. 

AFP: President Biden announced to provide more than $800 million for the Pacific Islands and said that the security of the US and the world depends on the security of the Pacific Islands. What’s China’s comment?

Mao Ning: We have noted that President Biden attended the US-Pacific Island Country Summit and that the US expressed its desire to enhance its presence in the region. I would like to emphasize China’s openness to the increase of normal exchange and cooperation between Pacific Island Countries (PICs) and countries interested in doing so. That being said, PICs must not be viewed as chess pieces in any contest between major powers. We hope the US will genuinely support PICs in responding to climate change and realizing development and revitalization, instead of engaging in geopolitical jostling in the name of cooperation, still less introducing bloc confrontation to the Pacific Islands region.

Bloomberg: Just related to that earlier question. Given that China hasn’t managed to arrive at a similar agreement with the Pacific Island Countries, can we expect the doubling of China’s efforts to engage with the region now that the US has signed this initiative with the countries and made this pledge to the countries in the Pacific?

Mao Ning: China attaches high importance to developing relations with PICs. We always adhere to the principle that all countries, regardless of size, are all equal. We fully respect the sovereignty and will of PICs. Our cooperation is open, transparent and above-board with no political strings attached. We never impose our will on others or target any third party. Our cooperation has been warmly welcomed by PICs and can stand the test of time and history. We will not engage in geopolitical jostling in the name of cooperation.

Shenzhen TV: According to reports, the 20,000th sea-rail intermodal train of the new western land-sea corridor arrived at Tuanjiecun Station in Chongqing not long ago carrying cargo including Vietnamese trunkings and calcium carbonate. Could you offer more information on the cross-border cooperation under this corridor?

Mao Ning: The new western land-sea corridor is an important artery, which covers all the provinces, autonomous regions and municipality in western China and connects ASEAN and the Eurasian continent. It is an important economic corridor for China-ASEAN trade.

Since the running of the first sea-rail intermodal train of the new western land-sea corridor, the number of trips by this train service has risen at an accelerated pace. The service ran its first 10,000 trips over a period of 1,461 days and it took the service only 487 days for its second 10,000 trips. During the first half of this year, 2,705 trips were made, transporting 269,000 TEUs of goods, a year-on-year increase of 112% and 319% respectively. Today, this corridor goes through 111 stations in 59 cities of 16 Chinese provinces. It connects seamlessly with the China-Europe Railway Express and reaches 335 ports in 113 countries and regions around the world. Its cargo variety has increased from several dozens in the beginning to 640 categories today. The corridor has significantly improved the efficiency and reduced the cost of international logistics, which benefits China, ASEAN and other RCEP members.

The new western land-sea corridor provides a new engine for Belt and Road cooperation. It is a vivid illustration of China’s commitment to higher level of opening-up. We believe this corridor, which signifies openness, cooperation and common development, will continue to bring more development opportunities for China and other regional countries.

Reuters: Just to circle back on this summit the US held with the Pacific Island Countries. After the conclusion of the summit, President Biden said on Thursday that the US will work harder to satisfy the needs of Pacific Island Countries. He did not mention China in his remarks on Thursday, but during the summit, the US did release a paper detailing its vision for US ties with Pacific Island Countries. And it did say in that paper that one of the challenges facing the region was pressure and economic coercion from China. Does the foreign ministry have any comment on this?

Mao Ning: China never engages in economic coercion. In developing relations with PICs, China always adheres to the principle that all countries, big or small, are equal. We fully respect the sovereignty and will of PICs. We never attach any political strings or impose our will on anyone. We firmly reject the US’s vilification and denigration.

Beijing Youth Daily: According to reports, Pakistani Foreign Minister Bilawal Bhutto Zardari took an interview with Foreign Policy on September 27. In response to a comment that “China hasn’t quite come to Pakistan’s aid in a big way this year” when the floods hit, he said “that’s absolutely incorrect”. He added that “As far as helping Pakistan, China has helped Pakistan whenever we have been in difficult times... Lifesaving decisions for our economy were made first and foremost by China as far as our floods are concerned—not only the immediate aid relief but also as far as our loan payments are concerned.” Do you have any comment?

Mao Ning: We’ve noted the remarks by Foreign Minister Bilawal Bhutto Zardari. They reflect the strong friendship and deep mutual trust between China and Pakistan, which define our relations. China and Pakistan are neighbors connected by mountains and rivers. Our futures are linked together. From the devastating floods in 2010 to the locust attack in 2021 in Pakistan, and from the 2008 Wenchuan mega-earthquake to this year’s Luding earthquake in Sichuan province, China and Pakistan have always stood together and come to each other’s aid. China has always been among the first to give Pakistan our full support when the country is confronted either by natural disasters or economic and financial challenges.

There are two things worth noting about China’s assistance to Pakistan in the wake of the recent floods. One is the notable speed, scale and intensity of our assistance. The Chinese government decided to provide 400 million yuan worth of humanitarian assistance to Pakistan. China promptly collected all the supply reserves stored under the social and livelihood cooperation framework of the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor and delivered them to Pakistan for disaster relief. We provided emergency cash assistance to Pakistan, shared real-time weather forecast and quickly delivered urgently needed supplies such as tents and vegetables to Pakistan through air, land and sea transportation. The other is that our assistance has been a whole-of-government, whole-of-society and all-dimensional effort. A total of 125 million yuan worth of donations and flood-relief supplies have been raised by friendly sub-national governments, companies and charitable individuals. China’s civilian rescue teams have volunteered to assist in Pakistan, and even primary school students have donated their pocket money. China and Pakistan are truly brothers who share weal and woe and form a community with a shared future. China-Pakistan friendship is vibrant and deeply rooted in the hearts of the two peoples.

At present, China and Pakistan are in close communication on the delivery of relief supplies into the hands of the people in need and post-disaster reconstruction. China will continue to stand firmly with Pakistan and cherish our iron-clad friendship as we address risks and challenges together. We also have full confidence that the Pakistani government and people will prevail over the floods and rebuild their homes soon.

Bloomberg: Two US lawmakers are calling on the State Department to save documents that are linked to what they call the “confinement” of more than a dozen American diplomats in China during COVID-19. These Republican lawmakers are saying that China’s “confinement” of American diplomats could potentially constitute a national security concern. Does the foreign ministry have any comment on this?

Mao Ning: I assume what you call “confinement” is in fact the quarantine measures designed to stave off COVID-19. Let me stress that China’s COVID containment methods are science-based and effective. They are applied to Chinese and foreign nationals coming to China alike. Our COVID policy is based on openness and transparency. All regular US travelers, US officials paying short-term visits, and personnel of the US embassy and consulates in China have come to China after having learned about and accepted China’s COVID measures including pre-departure protocols and post-entry medical observation and health monitoring. They experienced no such thing as “confinement”.

The remarks and narrative of the US lawmakers are simply far-fetched and groundless. They reflect the deeply flawed perception that some US lawmakers have of China and a severe degree of “China-phobia”.

Reuters: The US on Thursday imposed sanctions on companies it accused of involvement in Iran’s petrochemical and petroleum trade. This includes companies based in China. Does the foreign ministry have any comment on this?

Mao Ning: China has always been firmly opposed to illegal and unjustifiable unilateral sanctions and so-called long-arm jurisdiction by the US. The international community, including China, has conducted normal cooperation with Iran within the framework of international law. This is reasonable and lawful without harm done to any third party, and deserves to be respected and protected. The US side needs to abandon the wrong practice of resorting to sanctions at every turn and do more things that are conducive to negotiations on resuming compliance with the JCPOA. 

NHK: Russian President Vladimir Putin will unilaterally announce today the annexation of the four Ukrainian regions into Russia. However, UN Secretary-General Guterres has strongly condemned these unilateral actions. China always says that the sovereignty and territorial integrity of all countries should be respected, the purposes and principles of the UN Charter should be observed, and efforts should be made to uphold the UN-centered international system. How does China see the acts of Russia? 

Mao Ning: China’s position on the Ukraine issue is consistent and clear. We believe that all countries deserve respect for their sovereignty and territorial integrity, that the purposes and principles of the UN Charter should be observed, that the legitimate security concerns of any country should be taken seriously, and that support should be given to all efforts that are conducive to peacefully resolving the crisis. We hope the parties concerned will properly address differences through dialogue and consultation. China stands ready to work with members of the international community to continue to play a constructive part in deescalation efforts.

Yonhap News Agency: According to reports, the DPRK fired two ballistic missiles off the east coast of the Korean Peninsula on September 29, the third such activity after previous ones on September 25 and 28. What’s China’s comment?

Mao Ning: We have noted relevant foreign media reports. We have also noted that the US and others have conducted multiple joint military exercises in this region recently. The crux of the current situation on the Korean Peninsula is that the legitimate and reasonable security concerns of the DPRK have not been duly responded to. We hope that all parties concerned on the issue of the Korean Peninsula will keep to the direction of seeking political settlement and address each other’s concerns in a balanced way through dialogue and consultation.

Nikkei: The provisional agreement on the appointment of bishops between China and the Vatican will expire soon. Will it be extended? Are the two sides in communication over this?

Mao Ning: Since China and the Vatican signed the provisional agreement on the appointment of bishops, the agreement has been successfully implemented thanks to the efforts of both sides. The two sides will continue with the relevant work in accordance with the agreed agenda.


In observance of the National Day Holiday, the MFA regular press conference will be adjourned from October 3 (Monday) to October 7 (Friday) and resumed on October 8 (Saturday). During the recess, you can reach the Spokesperson’s Office by fax, email or WeChat. 

Happy National Day Holiday!

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