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Foreign Ministry Spokesperson Mao Ning’s Regular Press Conference on October 8, 2022

MASTV: Assistant Foreign Minister Hua Chunying recently posted 13 pictures on social media featuring landmark infrastructure projects printed on the banknotes of Pakistan, Sri Lanka, Thailand, Laos, Algeria, Malawi, Sudan, the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Qatar, Kuwait and Tajikistan. All the projects are built by China. Can you tell us more on that?

Mao Ning: The tweets you mentioned posted by Assistant Foreign Minister Hua Chunying have indeed attracted wide attention and received many thumbs-ups for “built by China”. The infrastructure printed on those banknotes include ports, bridges, power stations, mosques, parliament buildings, stadiums and libraries. They are well-known name cards of “built by China” and shining examples of China’s cooperation with fellow developing countries. 

As the largest developing country in the world, China has always been committed to supporting and helping other developing countries in improving people’s livelihood and growing their economies. China has made tangible contributions to the economic and social development of these countries, which have been welcomed by the local people. By taking these concrete actions, China is honoring its commitment of always standing together with fellow developing countries. 

We are also truly happy to see that recently, some key cooperation projects between China and other developing countries have made fresh progress. The Phnom Penh-Sihanoukville Expressway connecting Cambodia’s capital and Sihanoukville started trial use on October 1. The expressway, the first of its kind in Cambodia, is a key project of its Belt and Road cooperation with China and marks the beginning of the age of expressway for Cambodia. A ceremony was recently held for the inauguration of the Jazan City for Primary and Downstream Industries Port (JCPDI Port), which is the first port designed, constructed and partially operated by Chinese companies in Saudi Arabia. It is expected to facilitate the socioeconomic development of Jazan Province and the Southwest part of Saudi Arabia. On October 6, the Velana International Airport in Maldives launched the first Code-4F runway and a modern seaplane terminal, which meet the takeoff and landing requirements of large planes like Airbus A380 and will notably improve the airport’s ability of receiving tourists. It is a landmark project of China-Maldives Belt and Road cooperation. With more progress expected under the Belt and Road Initiative and the Global Development Initiative, China will deliver even more tangible benefits for the developing countries. We are sure that more such good news is still to come. 

Reuters: Tesla founder Elon Musk in an interview with Financial Times suggested that a reasonably palatable solution to cross-Strait tensions would be for China to make Taiwan into a special administrative zone. How do you comment about this?

Mao Ning: The Taiwan question is China’s internal affair. China’s position on resolving the Taiwan question is consistent and clear. We remain committed to the basic principle of peaceful reunification and One Country, Two Systems and aim to work with the greatest sincerity and effort to achieve peaceful reunification. At the same time, we will resolutely defeat attempts to pursue the “Taiwan independence” separatist agenda, push back interference by external forces, and safeguard our sovereignty and territorial integrity.

China Review News: Recently, the US Foreign Policy Association released a report titled The Business of America and China Is Business, calling on US policymakers to re-calibrate their mistaken assumptions and policy toward China, view China from a correct perspective and strengthen US-China economic and trade cooperation. Do you have any comment on this?

Mao Ning: I have read this report too and I am impressed by some of its observations. For example, the report essentially argues that China and the US have close economic and trade ties and US companies’ trust in China as an investment destination is increasing; China is an important business opportunity for the US and US tariffs levied on Chinese imports have hurt the US more than they have hurt China; and only when the US views China in an objective light can it formulate the right China policy and foreign policy. 

The business and academic communities in the US have been calling for strengthening China-US cooperation recently. Institutions including the US-China Business Council and AmCham China said that it’s important to cooperate with rather than decouple from China, and that the US government needs to lower tariffs on China as soon as possible. According to statistics, the average return on US direct investment in China was 14.7% between 2000 and 2020, far higher than that of US outbound direct investment of 9.7%. In the first half of this year, China-US trade grew by 12.7% and the US paid-in investment in China increased by 26.1% year-on-year. This fully shows that the Chinese and American peoples aspire for cooperation and that China-US cooperation can deliver mutual benefits.

US policymakers need to listen more to the rational and objective voices of the business and academic communities, stop handling China-US relations with the outdated mindset of zero-sum games, stop letting its China policy be guided by the so-called “political correctness”, seriously uphold the principles of mutual respect, peaceful coexistence and win-win cooperation, and bring China-US relations back onto the track of sound and steady development. 

Shenzhen TV: According to reports, in recent years, the Tokyo Electric Power Company Holdings Inc. (TEPCO), which runs the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant, has been exaggerating the safety of treated nuclear-contaminated water to visitors using a dosimeter that fails to detect radioactive tritium and only responds to highly concentrated cesium above a certain level. What is China’s comment? 

Mao Ning: We have noted relevant reports. TEPCO is known to have previously falsified data and covered up safety issues in the operation of the nuclear power plant. The international community has long held serious concerns over the legitimacy of Japan’s proposal to discharge the nuclear-contaminated water into the ocean, the reliability of its data, the effectiveness of the treatment system and the uncertainties about the environmental impact. 

The potential harm of nuclear-contaminated water discharge to the marine environment, food safety and public health cannot be overlooked. It bears not only on the Japanese people’s basic human rights such as the right to health, but also on the rights and interests of all those living along the coasts of the Pacific Ocean.

We once again urge Japan to take seriously the legitimate and justified concerns of the international community and its own people and to have full consultation with stakeholders including neighboring countries and relevant international agencies. It must stop trying to push through the ocean discharge plan and instead dispose of the nuclear-contaminated water in a truly science-based, open, transparent and safe manner.

Yonhap News Agency: Recently, the DPRK has fired several ballistic missiles. It also denounced today the joint military exercises held by the ROK and the US. Do you have any comment on that?

Mao Ning: We noted relevant reports. We have also noted that the ROK and the US have recently held another joint military exercise. We hope parties concerned will stay committed to seeking a political settlement of the Korean Peninsula issue and resolving each other’s concerns in a balanced way through dialogue and consultation. Given the delicate and complex situation on the Korean Peninsula, we hope relevant parties will refrain from moves or rhetoric that may be perceived as provocative and create conditions for the resumption of dialogue.

Hubei Media Group: It is reported that 38 people including more than 20 preschoolers were killed and many others were injured in a serious shooting at a daycare center in Thailand’s northeastern province of Nong Bua Lam Phu on October 6. Do you have any comment?

Mao Ning: We are shocked by the tragic shooting incident in Nong Bua Lam Phu Province of Thailand. We are deeply saddened by the loss of lives and express sincere sympathies to the bereaved families and the injured. 

AFP: The US Department of Commerce has just announced new export controls on chips intended to stop China from acquiring sensitive technologies. This comes after the US blacklisted 13 more Chinese companies on Thursday, including DJI. Do you have any response to these decisions?

Mao Ning: In order to maintain its sci-tech hegemony, the US has been abusing export control measures to wantonly block and hobble Chinese enterprises. Such practice runs counter to the principle of fair competition and international trade rules. It will not only harm Chinese companies’ legitimate rights and interests, but also hurt the interests of US companies. It will hinder international sci-tech exchange and trade cooperation, and deal a blow to global industrial and supply chains and world economic recovery. By politicizing tech and trade issues and using them as a tool and weapon, the US cannot hold back China’s development but will only hurt and isolate itself when its action backfires.

The Hindu: This is the question on the UNHRC vote on Xinjiang, which I know that the foreign ministry already issued a response too. So India was among the countries that did not support the vote and abstained on it. At the same time yesterday, India’s foreign ministry said that the human rights of people in Xinjiang should be respected, and India hopes that the relevant party will address the situation objectively and properly. I was just wondering if you have a comment on that. 

Mao Ning: I have noted relevant reports. I want to stress that the issues related to Xinjiang are not about human rights. They are about countering violent terrorism, radicalization and separatism. Thanks to strenuous efforts, there has been no violent terrorist incident in Xinjiang for over five consecutive years. The human rights of people of all ethnic backgrounds in Xinjiang are protected to the greatest extent possible. The voting result at the Human Rights Council reflects the position of the international community, especially developing countries, of firmly rejecting the politicization of human rights issues. This once again shows that truth will always prevail and the attempt to use Xinjiang-related issues to suppress and contain China will not succeed.

Phoenix TV: According to new analysis by the Australian Strategic Policy Institute (ASPI), Chinese diplomats have been running a disinformation campaign in Solomon Islands. They have successfully convinced Solomon Islands outlets to republish Chinese government press releases and state media pieces and tried to shape public opinion. The ASPI report found that negative comments about China dropped from 49% of the total to 29% during this campaign, while positive comments about Beijing jumped sharply, from just 8% of the total to 41%. Critical comments about the West bounced up, from zero to 18%. What’s your comment?

Mao Ning: Since China and Solomon Islands established diplomatic relations three years ago, the Chinese side has vigorously promoted friendly exchanges and practical cooperation with Solomon Islands in various sectors guided by the principle of mutual respect, equality, mutual benefit, openness and inclusiveness. This has yielded tangible and fruitful outcomes and delivered concrete benefits to the local people. This is the fundamental reason why people in Solomon Islands have developed a more positive and appreciative view of China and why friendship has been deepening between our two countries.

In Solomon Islands and other Pacific Island Countries, people think highly of China because we have delivered for their countries. The people there know it best and their recognition means more than anyone else’s. People can tell who exactly is running a disinformation campaign, and who is genuinely contributing to island countries’ development. Those who deliberately seek to sow discord with false narratives will achieve nothing.

CGTN: Recently, Burkina Faso saw the second coup this year. A group of military officers ousted the transitional president and dissolved the government and the interim parliament. They also plan to hold a national conference to elect a new transitional president. Do you have any comment?

Mao Ning: We are closely following the developments in Burkina Faso. We note its announcement that Burkina Faso will continue to observe the transition timeline that was previously agreed upon with the Economic Community of West African States. China respects the independent choices of the people of Burkina Faso and believes that they are capable of handling their internal affairs and keeping the country peaceful and stable. China is ready to work with the international community to play a constructive role in Burkina Faso’s efforts to achieve stability and development. 

Beijing Youth Daily: Earlier this month, the 101st session of the Executive Council of the Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW) reviewed and approved the destruction plan beyond the year 2022 for the chemical weapons abandoned by Japan in China. Do you have any comment?

Mao Ning: Japan’s abandoned chemical weapons (ACWs) are one of the serious crimes committed by Japanese militarists during their war of aggression against China. The ACWs have long been a serious threat to people’s lives and property and ecological environment in the relevant areas in China. China has been urging Japan to completely and thoroughly destroy its ACWs in China as soon as possible in accordance with the Chemical Weapons Convention (CWC) and the memorandums between the two governments. Japan missed the deadlines for the relevant destruction plan three times already and will soon miss the deadline for the fourth time. The way Japan is fulfilling its commitments is not satisfactory for people in both countries and the international community. 

The OPCW held the 101st session of the Executive Council from October 4 to 7, during which it reviewed and approved the destruction plan beyond the year 2022 for the chemical weapons abandoned by Japan in China jointly submitted by China and Japan. This shows that the international community attaches importance to and supports the handling of Japan’s ACWs. China appreciates this. China strongly urges Japan to fulfill its political and legal commitments to the international community and China, implement the new destruction plan in a comprehensive, complete and faithful manner, and act in accordance with the CWC and inter-governmental memorandums to mobilize resources and increase input in an effort to move ahead the destruction process and completely and thoroughly eliminate the harm of ACWs as soon as possible.

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