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Foreign Ministry Spokesperson Mao Ning’s Regular Press Conference on January 3, 2023

2023-01-03 18:33

Welcome to 2023’s first daily press conference. We look forward to working closely with you all to deepen mutual understanding between China and the rest of the world in the year ahead. The Information Department of the Foreign Ministry will, as always, provide necessary facilitation and support for your work and life in China.

CCTV: The 2023 New Year Address by President Xi Jinping has been well received by the international community. People from many countries said that the President’s words conveyed hope and confidence to the world. They believed that China’s wisdom and solutions will make important contributions to the cause of peace and development for all humanity. What efforts will China make in its diplomacy to achieve that in the new year?

Mao Ning: On New Year’s eve, President Xi Jinping delivered the 2023 New Year Address, which captured global attention and warm response. President Xi stressed that today’s China is a country closely linked with the world. We cherish peace and development and value friends and partners as we have always done. We stand firm on the right side of history and on the side of human civilization and progress. We work hard to contribute China’s wisdom and solutions to the cause of peace and development for all humanity.

The year 2023 marks the beginning of full implementation of the guiding principles laid down at the 20th CPC National Congress. We in the diplomatic service will spare no efforts to serve head-of-state diplomacy and central tasks and create new prospects for the cause of the Party and the country on the new journey in the new era. We will proactively expand global partnerships featuring equality, openness and cooperation, and work for a major-country relationship that features peaceful coexistence, overall stability and balanced development. We will continuously promote the building of an open world economy and trade and investment liberalization and facilitation and contribute to world economic recovery and development. We will act resolutely to safeguard China’s national interests and national dignity and firmly safeguard national sovereignty, security and development interests. We will actively participate in the reform and development of the global governance system, and build more consensus and take more actions for the cause of global security and development. We will continue telling engaging stories of the CPC and the Chinese people, and present the credible, amiable and respectable image of China.

In our diplomatic efforts in the new year, we will follow the guidance of Xi Jinping Thought on Socialism with Chinese Characteristics for a New Era, especially Xi Jinping Thought on Diplomacy, stay confident and strive hard, uphold fundamental principles and break new ground, and keep advancing on the journey ahead and write a new chapter in major-country diplomacy with Chinese characteristics.

China Daily: Recently, China announced the decision to manage COVID-19 with measures against Class-B infectious diseases and adopted provisional measures on cross-border travel. This has been well received by many countries, but some other countries have subsequently imposed restrictions targeting travelers arriving from China, including testing upon entry and quarantine for those who test positive for COVID-19. Do you have any comment?

Mao Ning: Since China released the provisional measures, many countries have responded warmly to them. We appreciate this and will continue to adapt and adjust our COVID response measures in light of the latest COVID situation, better facilitate the safe and orderly cross-border travel of Chinese and foreign nationals and international exchange and cooperation.

Regarding the restrictions targeting travelers arriving from China, my colleague responded to relevant questions last week. I’d like to reiterate China’s position. We stand ready to step up communication with the rest of the international community and work together to prevail over COVID. Meanwhile, we do not believe the entry restriction measures some countries have taken against China are science-based. Some of these measures are disproportionate and simply unacceptable. We firmly reject using COVID measures for political purposes and will take corresponding measures in response to varying situations based on the principle of reciprocity.

Beijing Youth Daily: Many are paying close attention to China’s communication with the international community over COVID infections. The WHO released a statement saying that competent Chinese authorities have met with the WHO. Can you share some details on that?

Mao Ning: Since COVID-19 began, China has actively participated in international cooperation against the pandemic and immediately joined the international response to the COVID challenge. Based on the latest changes in the COVID situation and the circumstances facing our response, the competent authorities in China have shared information in a timely, open and transparent manner in accordance with the law. We shared the genome data of the virus from the latest COVID cases in China via the Global Initiative on Sharing Avian Influenza Data (GISAID). Several days ago, the competent Chinese authorities had a virtual meeting with the WHO and had technical exchange on the current COVID situation, treatment and vaccination. The two sides agreed to continue technical exchanges and contribute to an early global victory over the pandemic.

Health experts from many countries have said that the main variant now spreading in China has previously been found elsewhere already, and that a new variant can emerge anywhere on the planet, which means entry restrictions targeting China are unnecessary. China always believes that for all countries, COVID response measures need to be science-based and proportionate. They should not be used for political manipulation, there should not be discriminatory measures against certain countries, and measures should not affect normal travel and people-to-people exchange and cooperation.

RIA Novosti: Russian President Vladimir Putin invited President Xi Jinping to visit Moscow in 2023. Has the Chinese side accepted the invitation?

Mao Ning: As comprehensive strategic partners of coordination, China and Russia are committed to building a new type of major-country relations featuring mutual respect and win-win cooperation. President Xi Jinping and President Putin have maintained close communication over China-Russia relations and major international and regional issues, and provided strategic guidance for the strategic partnership of coordination. In the new year, the two sides will strengthen exchanges at all levels and continue to advance the growth of bilateral relations.

CCTV: According to reports, the newly-inaugurated Brazilian President Lula da Silva tweeted on January 2 that he had received a letter from President Xi Jinping, who congratulated him on his inauguration and expressed readiness to expand China-Brazil cooperation. China is Brazil’s largest trading partner. The two sides can further expand bilateral ties. Could you offer more details? What’s China’s expectation for its bilateral ties with Brazil?

Mao Ning: On January 1 local time, Mr. Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva was sworn in as President of the Federative Republic of Brazil. President Xi Jinping sent him a letter to extend congratulations.

President Xi Jinping noted that China and Brazil are major developing countries with global influence and important emerging markets. The two countries are comprehensive strategic partners sharing extensive common interests and shouldering common development responsibilities. For the past 48 years since the establishment of China-Brazil diplomatic relations, thanks to the joint efforts of both sides, our bilateral relations have witnessed sustained and in-depth growth and have grown increasingly mature and dynamic. The China-Brazil relationship has become a model of relations between major developing countries with rich connotations and broad prospects. Xi said that he attaches great importance to the development of the China-Brazil comprehensive strategic partnership, and is willing to work with President Lula to continue the firm support to each other in taking a development path in line with respective national conditions, respect each other’s core interests, promote bilateral practical cooperation, strengthen multilateral coordination and cooperation, and guide the China-Brazil comprehensive strategic partnership towards a higher level from a strategic and long-term perspective, so as to better benefit the two countries and two peoples.

We are convinced that under the strategic guidance of President Xi and President Lula, the China-Brazil comprehensive strategic partnership will achieve new growth, make new progress, contribute to regional and world peace and stability and advance common prosperity.

The Paper: Mr. Qin Gang, the Chinese ambassador to the US, has been appointed China’s new foreign minister. We’re wondering who will be replacing him as the Chinese ambassador to the US?

Mao Ning: China attaches importance to its relations with the US. A new Chinese ambassador to the US will assume the post after completing due procedures. Please check back on our ministry’s website for updates on the appointment.

Reuters: The Financial Times reported that the European Union has offered three COVID-19 vaccines to China to help curb the outbreak here. Can you confirm if this is true? Will China accept this offer?

Mao Ning: As the COVID situation enters a new phase, we have seen rising vaccination rates, strengthened treatment capacity and expanded production capacity of medical supplies, which are generally in adequate supply. China has established the world’s largest production lines of COVID vaccines with an annual production capacity of over 7 billion doses and an annual output of over 5.5 billion doses, which meet the needs of ensuring that all people eligible for vaccination have access to COVID vaccines.

China’s COVID situation is predictable and under control. We stand ready to work with the international community in solidarity, tackle the COVID challenge more effectively, and better protect people’s lives and health.

Reuters: Philippine President Ferdinand Marcos Jr. is expected to bring up the South China Sea with Chinese leaders when he visits Beijing this week. Can you comment on how China might respond to his concerns?

Mao Ning: We will release timely information on Philippine President Marcos’s visit to China. Please check back for updates.

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