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Foreign Ministry Spokesperson Mao Ning’s Regular Press Conference on January 30, 2023

2023-01-30 20:14

CCTV: The seventh Summit of the Community of Latin American and Caribbean States (CELAC) was recently held in Buenos Aires, the capital of Argentina. President Xi Jinping delivered a video address at the summit. Could you offer more information?

Mao Ning: On January 25 Beijing time, the seventh Summit of the Community of Latin American and Caribbean States (CELAC) was held in Buenos Aires, the capital of Argentina. Upon the invitation of President Alberto Fernández of Argentina, the rotating president of CELAC, President Xi Jinping delivered a video address at the summit. Relevant information was promptly released on the foreign ministry website.

I would like to stress that President Xi Jinping’s video address shows that China always supports the regional integration process of Latin America and the Caribbean and highly values our relations with CELAC. It has been warmly received by countries in the region. Guided by the principles laid out in the address, we stand ready to work with LAC countries to steadily strengthen the China-CELAC Forum, take the China-LAC relationship for a new era characterized by equality, mutual benefit, innovation, openness and benefits for the people to new heights, and build a China-LAC community with a shared future. 

China Daily: The US State Department Spokesperson has repeatedly mentioned Secretary Blinken’s upcoming visit to China, saying that his team will discuss with China how to responsibly manage competition and step up cooperation on transnational challenges, and also raise concerns on issues related to Taiwan, fentanyl, Ukraine and the Korean Peninsula. Do you have any comment?

Mao Ning: In growing relations with the US, China follows the three principles proposed by President Xi Jinping, namely mutual respect, peaceful coexistence and win-win cooperation, and at the same time remains committed to defending our sovereignty, security and development interests. 

China does not shy away or flinch from competition, but we are against defining the entire China-US relations with competition alone and using competition as an excuse to contain and suppress others. We are ready to have both bilateral and multilateral communication and cooperation with the US on the basis of mutual respect, equality and mutual benefit, but we need to remind the US that it cannot demand communication and cooperation from China while keeping interfering in China’s internal affairs and hurting China’s interests.

The Taiwan question is at the heart of China’s core interests. It is the bedrock of the political foundation of China-US relations, and the number one red line that must not be crossed between China and the US. At no time should the US ever seek to cross that red line.

With regard to international counternarcotics efforts, China is the first country in the world to have officially scheduled fentanyl-related substances as a class. China has taken an active part in international counternarcotics law enforcement cooperation under the framework of the UN conventions on drug control. China’s counternarcotics capacity has, however, been seriously hampered by US sanctions on relevant Chinese institutions. We are firmly against those sanctions and urge the US to reflect on its inadequate counternarcotics efforts instead of deflecting the blame.

On Ukraine and the Korean nuclear issue, China is committed to seeking a political settlement and bringing parties to the table. We are against any rhetoric or action that could fuel the tensions and make matters worse. Our policy and position can stand up to the test of history and facts.

The future of both our peoples — indeed, the future of the entire planet — depends on a healthy and stable China-US relationship. We hope the US will work with China and let China-US interactions be defined by dialogue and win-win cooperation, not confrontation and zero-sum competition, and deliver on the important common understandings reached by the two heads of state to bring bilateral relations back to the track of healthy and stable growth.

Xinhua News Agency: We noticed that this year’s Spring Festival holiday has seen a surge in outbound trips by Chinese tourists, who have been warmly welcomed by many countries as they see in this an opportunity to boost the recovery of tourism and economy. Would you like to comment on this?

Mao Ning: According to statistics, inbound and outbound trips during the Spring Festival holiday jumped 120.5% from last year to over 2.87 million, an average of 410,000 per day. Overall outbound travel orders during the Chinese New Year period soared by 640 percent and outbound air ticket bookings increased more than four times year-on-year. Countries have warmly welcomed Chinese tourists. The popular ski resort, Jungfrau in Switzerland, put up Chinese lanterns and decorations featuring the Year of the Rabbit at the terminal of the cable car. The airport in Indonesia’s Bali greeted Chinese tourists with traditional Chinese lion dance on the first day of the Chinese New Year. A grand watergate ceremony was performed at the Velana International Airport in the Maldives to welcome Chinese tourists. The Thai Deputy Prime Minister greeted Chinese tourists at the airport. The Philippine Tourism Secretary expressed gratitude to China for identifying the Philippines as one of the first countries where group tours are allowed and said that the Philippines is open and ready to welcome friends from China.

During this Spring Festival, the world has seen a China full of vitality and joy, as more than 300 million domestic trips were made in the country and the holiday box office sold 129 million tickets totaling 6.7 billion yuan. This tourism and consumption boom speaks to the Chinese passion for life and confidence in China’s development, and gives the world a sense of the strong momentum in China’s economic recovery and how much a strong Chinese economy means to the world.

RIA Novosti: I have two questions. According to Russian media, Chinese State Councilor Wang Yi will pay an official visit to Russia on February 20. Can the foreign ministry confirm this? And Kim Yo-jong, the younger sister of DPRK’s top leader Kim Jong-un and deputy department director of the Central Committee of the Workers’ Party of Korea, said that the US escalated conflicts by providing Ukraine with weapons and that the DPRK will always stand with the Russian military and people. What’s your comment?

Mao Ning: As to your first question, I’m not aware of the visit you mentioned at the moment. China and Russia are comprehensive strategic partners of coordination. We maintain close interactions at all levels. 

As to your second question, let me say that China’s position on the Ukraine issue is clear and consistent. We will continue to actively commit ourselves to promoting peace talks and deescalating the tension.

Yonhap News Agency: At present, the ROK and China still exercise restrictions on visa issuance to travelers from each other’s countries. What’s China’s view on this? Are the two governments in communication on this matter? Is China planning to talk with the ROK on this?

Mao Ning: In January this year, certain countries announced provisional COVID measures for travelers arriving from China. China has taken corresponding measures in response to varying situations based on the principle of reciprocity. We regret the ROK’s announcement of extending the visa suspension for Chinese citizens, which is not conducive to the flow of personnel as well as exchanges and cooperation between the two countries. We hope that the ROK side will lift its unreasonable restriction as soon as possible. On this basis, China is ready to take corresponding measures to facilitate personnel exchanges between the two countries.

CCTV: It was reported that according to sources, the US government obtained evidence suggesting some Chinese state-owned companies may be providing assistance of an economic as well as non-lethal military nature for Russia’s war effort in Ukraine. The US government has confronted the Chinese government to see if the latter is aware of that and warned China of the implications of providing material support to Russia. Do you have any comment?

Mao Ning: China’s position on Ukraine has been objective and just. We always stand on the side of peace and have played a constructive role in advancing the political settlement of the Ukraine crisis. We are never a bystander, and we would never add fuel to the fire, still less exploit the crisis. The US is the one who started the Ukraine crisis and the biggest factor fueling it, and has kept sending heavy and assault weapons to Ukraine, which has only prolonged and intensified the conflict. Rather than reflecting on its own acts, the US has been sowing paranoia and pointing fingers at China. We reject such groundless blackmail, and we will not sit by and watch the US harm the lawful rights and interests of Chinese companies.

If the US truly wants an early end to the crisis and cares for the lives of the Ukrainian people, then it needs to stop sending weapons and profiteering from the fighting. The US needs to act responsibly by helping the situation deescalate as soon as possible, and create the necessary environment and conditions for peace talks between the parties concerned.

Dragon TV: It has been reported that Tyre Nichols, a black man from Memphis, Tennessee, recently died after a traffic stop where he was brutally beaten by five police officers. This has sparked protests and demonstrations across the US. Do you have any comment?

Mao Ning: This is a heart-wrenching tragedy. With George Floyd’s desperate plea “I cannot breathe” still ringing in our ears, police brutality in the US has claimed yet another victim. According to data released by Mapping Police Violence, a non-profit organization, US police killed 1,186 people in 2022, which averaged to 3.2 per day, more than any other year since the record began in 2013. Black people were 26% of those killed despite being only 13% of the population.

We often hear the words democracy, freedom and human rights from the lips of US officials and see how these concepts are being used to justify US interference in other countries’ internal affairs. The US government needs to stop treating itself with double standard, stop looking the other way when it comes to police brutality and racial discrimination at home, and stop such tragedies from happening again.

Kyodo News: The Chinese embassy in Japan announced yesterday the resumption of ordinary visa issuance for Japanese citizens. However, the Japanese government has yet to scrap COVID-related port management measures for travelers from China. Now that China has taken the initiative to lift countermeasures on Japan, does that mean the Chinese side will no longer ask it to remove restrictive measures as soon as possible?

Mao Ning: The Japanese embassy and consulates in China announced on January 20 the resumption of visa issuance for Chinese citizens. China has resumed issuing visas for Japanese citizens in the past few days. I would like to stress that we are against politicizing COVID response and call for the removal of discriminatory restrictions targeting China. We stand ready to work with all countries to do more to ease the normal flow of cross-border travel.

AFP: A US general has predicted a possible military conflict between the US and China probably over Taiwan in 2025. What’s your comment on this?

Mao Ning: Taiwan is part of China. Resolving the Taiwan question is a matter for the Chinese. The real cause of the new round of tensions across the Taiwan Strait is the DPP authorities’ continued act of soliciting US support for “Taiwan independence” and the agenda among some people in the US to use Taiwan to contain China. We urge the US to abide by the one-China principle and the three China-US joint communiqués, deliver on US leaders’ commitment of not supporting “Taiwan independence”, stop meddling in the Taiwan question, stop military contact with Taiwan and stop creating new factors that could lead to tensions in the Taiwan Strait. 

Hubei Media Group: Recently, Vanuatu’s Minister of Foreign Affairs, International Cooperation and External Trade Jotham Napat issued a statement titled “Vanuatu, China Relations Healthy and Flourishing”. In this statement, Napat spoke highly of Vanuatu-China relations. He said that “Vanuatu subscribes to the One China Policy and unequivocally maintains this stance...China has continued to be a valued partner in Vanuatu’s development aspirations”, and that China will always be a valued friend. Do you have any comment on this?

Mao Ning: We welcome Foreign Minister Napat’s statement on Vanuatu-China relations. As I understand, this is the first statement Foreign Minister Napat has issued on Vanuatu’s bilateral relations with any country since he took up the post in November last year, which speaks to the high importance Vanuatu attaches to its relations with China. The statement calls China a valued and respected partner and a valued friend. It also says that the Government of Vanuatu has reaffirmed its commitment to continuing strong diplomatic relations with China and that Vanuatu subscribes to the one-China policy and unequivocally maintains this stance.

Over the years, as a responsible major developing country, China has been committed to building a community with a shared future for mankind. Based on the principles of equality, mutual respect, win-win cooperation, openness and inclusiveness, China has cooperated with Vanuatu and other Pacific island countries, shared with them the dividends of China’s development and delivered tangible benefits to their peoples. The statement issued by Vanuatu fully shows that China is always there for the Pacific island countries and has been warmly welcomed by the governments and peoples of these countries. In line with the principles of sincerity, real results, affinity and good faith, China will continue to elevate the China-Vanuatu comprehensive strategic partnership and bring more benefits to the two peoples.

Associated Press: There have been reports in recent days about an agreement reached by the US with Japan and the Netherlands to limit the export of equipment to China that’s needed to build advanced semiconductors. Do you have any comment or response to these reports?

Mao Ning: The US has been abusing export controls, coercing and roping in countries to form small blocs designed to contain China, politicizing tech and trade issues and using them as a weapon and bringing down market rules and the international economic and trade order, in order to hold on to its hegemony and serve its selfish agenda. China is firmly against this. Such practices serve no one’s interests. They destabilize global industrial and supply chains and have given rise to global concerns. Many from the business community believe that the abuse of export controls will create levels of disruption and affect efficiency and innovation.

Anyone who attempts to block others’ way will only have his own path blocked. We will closely follow the developments and firmly defend our legitimate interests. Parties concerned need to act with prudence and approach this issue in light of their own long-term interests and the common interests of the international community.

Bloomberg: Republican House Speaker Kevin McCarthy is reportedly expected to visit Taiwan in the spring, and the Pentagon is already planning his trip. How does the foreign ministry respond to this?

Mao Ning: China opposes any form of official interaction between its Taiwan region and countries having diplomatic ties with China. We hope US lawmakers will abide by the one-China principle and the three China-US joint communiqués and refrain from doing things detrimental to China-US relations and peace and stability in the Taiwan Strait.

Reuters: France has extended mandatory COVID tests for travelers from China until February 15. Does the Chinese foreign ministry have any comment and is it planning retaliatory measures?

Mao Ning: As we have stressed repeatedly, China is against discriminatory restrictions targeting China. We hope relevant countries will make sure that their COVID response measures are science-based and proportionate.

Reuters: NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg said on Monday while visiting South Korea that while China is not NATO’s adversary, it has become “much higher on NATO’s agenda”. He said, “we should engage with China on issues like arms control, climate change and other issues, but at the same time, we are very clear that China poses a challenge to our values, to our interests, and to our security”. Does the foreign ministry have any comment? 

Mao Ning: China is a cooperation partner of all countries, not a challenge. 

While claiming to remain a regional defensive alliance, NATO has constantly gone beyond its traditional areas for defense, made advances into new domains, and strengthened military and security ties with Asia-Pacific countries. Such developments call for high vigilance among regional countries. NATO needs to abandon the Cold War mentality and bloc confrontation mindset, and do things that will contribute to the security and stability of Europe and the wider world. We hope regional countries will stay committed to the right path of cooperation in the Asia-Pacific and play an active part in defending and promoting world peace, stability, development and prosperity.

Prasar Bharati: I’m seeking clarification on your comment on the COVID test requirement for international travelers to China. Will China impose COVID tests for international travelers from a particular country if that country imposes test requirement for Chinese travelers? And conversely, if a country removes that test requirement, will China also remove it? 

Mao Ning: The foreign ministry and other relevant Chinese government agencies have issued notices on China’s COVID protocol concerning entry and exit, which you may refer to. 

I would like to stress that China’s measures apply equally to all countries alike. In response to the discriminatory entry measures against China adopted by a few countries this month, we adopted reciprocal countermeasures in light of the actual circumstances.

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