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Foreign Ministry Spokesperson Mao Ning’s Regular Press Conference on April 4, 2023

CCTV: According to the World Bank’s East Asia and Pacific April 2023 Economic Update released a few days ago, growth in developing East Asia and the Pacific is forecast to accelerate to 5.1% in 2023 as the Chinese economy rebounds strongly. The report also noted that the tech decoupling and trade restrictions could pose long-term threats to Asia’s growth. What’s your comment?

Mao Ning: I noted that the Boao Forum for Asia also released its annual report last week, which pointed out that Asia is expected to accelerate its pace in overall economic recovery in 2023 and far outdo the world average in terms of growth rate, and that China will be the biggest source of growth for the Asian economy.

At the same time, just as the World Bank report noted, many countries are concerned about the US’s practices of decoupling and disruption of industrial and supply chains and trade protectionism, which destabilize the industrial and supply chains, do not serve world economic growth and are in no country’s interest.

China will steadfastly promote high-standard opening-up, add more certainty to the world with its stability, and provide new opportunities to the world with its new development. We are ready to work with the international community, advocate win-win cooperation, openness and inclusiveness, oppose building “small yards with high fences” and decoupling and fragmenting industrial and supply chains, and stay committed to building an open world economy.

Reuters: US House Speaker Kevin McCarthy will meet with Tsai Ing-wen this Wednesday. Will China hold military drills again? 

Mao Ning: China firmly opposes the US’s arrangement for Tsai Ing-wen’s “transit” trip to the US and a meeting between her and House Speaker Kevin McCarthy, the third highest-ranking official of the US government, because it seriously contravenes the one-China principle and provisions in the three China-US joint communiqués and gravely undermines China’s sovereignty and territorial integrity.

We urge the US to abide by the one-China principle and provisions in the three China-US joint communiqués, not to allow Tsai Ing-wen’s “transit” trip to the US, and not to arrange for any meeting or contact between Tsai and US political figures and officials. The Chinese side will closely monitor the situation as it develops and resolutely defend our sovereignty and territorial integrity.

NBC: US officials have told NBC News that before the unmanned airship claimed by China was shot down last month, it had gathered intelligence and that during its flight over the continental US, the balloon was in fact being maneuvered. What is your comment?

Mao Ning: We have made it clear time and again that the unmanned Chinese civilian airship drifting over the US was a purely unexpected and isolated event caused by force majeure. China firmly rejects distortion, hyping up and political manipulation of this unexpected and isolated event.

Follow-up: It has been over two months since China confirmed that the unmanned airship belonged to China. If it’s a civilian aircraft, can you please confirm which company, department or organization owns the balloon? 

Mao Ning: China has made it clear multiple times that the unmanned airship is a civilian airship used for meteorological and other research purposes.

Follow-up: Can you confirm which company owns the balloon?

Mao Ning: I have nothing more to add.

Reuters: President of the European Commission Ursula Von der Leyen said in an interview that China should play a constructive role in bringing peace to Ukraine and called on China to rein in Russia’s moves in Ukraine. What’s China’s comment?

Mao Ning: China is not a party to the Ukraine crisis, but a firm supporter and active promoter of the peaceful resolution of the crisis. We are ready to communicate and exchange views with the EU side on the political settlement of the crisis. We also hope the EU will show strategic autonomy and political wisdom and take firm steps toward achieving long-term peace and security in Europe.

Xinhua News Agency: Recently, President Xi Jinping replied to a letter from representatives of well-known Arab artists participating in the “Silk Road: Artists’ Rendezvous” visit to China. Could you offer more information about the visit?

Mao Ning: The “Silk Road: Artists’ Rendezvous” visit to China is an important cultural exchange program under the China-Arab States Cooperation Forum. Since its launch in 2009, a total of 11 trips have been organized, which have brought more than 100 artists from 22 Arab countries to China and inspired the creation of nearly 500 artworks in the form of painting, sculpture and ceramic art.

After the success of the first China-Arab States Summit, over 50 well-known Arab artists who participated in the “Silk Road: Artists’ Rendezvous” visit to China sent a joint letter to President Xi Jinping. President Xi Jinping replied to the letter and encouraged the artists to create more artworks that reflect China-Arab friendship, and make new contributions to enhancing friendship between the Chinese people and the Arab people.

Civilizations are like water, moistening everything silently. The history of exchanges between the Chinese and Arab civilizations dates back a long time ago and is a front-runner in the world. With mutual appreciation and mutual learning, our two sides have jointly advocated dialogue between civilizations and efforts to preserve the diversity of civilizations, setting a fine example of exchange and mutual learning between different civilizations. We believe that with the further deepening of China-Arab culture and civilization exchanges, more and more people from various sectors on both sides will contribute to our friendship, cooperation, harmonious coexistence and prosperity.

Not long ago, President Xi Jinping proposed the Global Civilization Initiative, which received warm welcome in the international community. We look forward to working hand in hand with other countries in the world to replace estrangement with exchange, clash with mutual learning, superiority with inclusiveness, so that our world of diverse civilizations will flourish with strong vitality.

AFP: China’s State Council on Sunday approved the renaming of 11 locations in the Indian State of Arunachal Pradesh, a decision that has since been criticized by Indian officials. Does the foreign ministry have any comments on the reasoning behind China’s renaming of these places in Indian territory?

Mao Ning: Zangnan is part of China’s territory. In accordance with relevant stipulations of the administration of geographical names of the State Council, competent authorities of the Chinese government have standardized the names of some parts of Zangnan. This is within China’s sovereign rights.

Reuters: China is the world’s biggest net energy importer and China’s relations with Saudi Arabia have grown closer in recent months. How is the recent OPEC surprise production cut led by Saudi Arabia affect China’s near-term energy security? 

Mao Ning: Petroleum is a global commodity. It is vital to ensure the security of global energy supply and the stability of the oil market. China is ready to maintain communication and strengthen cooperation with all parties including OPEC+ to keep the market balanced and stable in the long term. As for your question about the specifics, I would refer you to competent authorities.

AFP: The Philippines is allowing the US military to open four new bases in its territory, the specific locations of which were announced yesterday. One of the new bases is just on the edge of the South China Sea. Does the foreign ministry have any comments on this announcement?

Mao Ning: Facts are very clear that the US has been increasing its military deployment in the region driven by a zero-sum mentality in pursuit of selfish interests. This would only lead to more tensions and less peace and stability in the region. Regional countries need to think about what is right for the region and mutually beneficial so as to make a choice that serves regional peace and stability as well as their own interests.

Reuters: The Australian government said on Tuesday that it would remove TikTok on all federal government devices due to security issues. What’s China’s response?

Mao Ning: We noted the reports and have made solemn démarches to the Australian side. China always believes that digital security should not be used as a tool to suppress foreign companies in an overstretch of the concept of national security and abuse of state power. We urge Australia to earnestly observe the rules of market economy and the principle of fair competition, and provide a fair, transparent and non-discriminatory environment for Chinese companies.

AFP: The South China Morning Post reported today that China has issued an in-principle invite for Australia’s prime minister to visit Beijing around this autumn coinciding with the 50th anniversary of the first trip by an Australian prime minister to China. Can the foreign ministry confirm this or does it have any other comments on the possible visit?

Mao Ning: I have nothing to share regarding your specific question. The healthy and stable development of China-Australia relations serves the common interests of both countries and the peoples of the two countries. We stand ready to work with the Australian side to follow through on the important common understandings reached between the leaders of the two countries in their meeting in Bali and the outcomes of the China-Australia Foreign and Strategic Dialogue, uphold the principles of mutual respect, win-win cooperation and seeking common ground while shelving differences, maintain high-level exchanges, expand mutually-beneficial cooperation, properly manage and control differences and bring the bilateral relations back on track.

People’s Daily: Parliamentary elections were held smoothly in Turkmenistan a few days ago. What’s China’s comment?

Mao Ning: We congratulate Turkmenistan on the smooth elections of deputies of the Mejlis (parliament) of the 7th convocation. As a friendly neighbor and comprehensive strategic partner, China firmly supports Turkmenistan in following a development path suited to its national realities. We believe that under the leadership of President Serdar Berdimuhamedov, Turkmenistan will enjoy lasting stability and realize development goals under its strategy of “the Epoch of the Revival of the new era of powerful state”. China stands ready to continue working together with the Turkmen side to consolidate political mutual trust, deepen cooperation across the board, strengthen coordination in multilateral mechanisms, and make new progress in our bilateral relations.

Reuters: Malaysian Prime Minister Anwar Ibrahim said he told the Chinese government that an exploration project by the state energy firm Petronas in the South China Sea was within Malaysian waters. Malaysia’s Foreign Ministry will issue protests if there are collisions between Malaysian and Chinese vessels in the area, he said. What’s China’s comment?

Mao Ning: China is firmly committed to safeguarding our lawful rights and interests in the South China Sea. At the same time, we are ready to work together with the Malaysian side and continue to properly handle maritime disputes through dialogue and consultation.


In observance of the 2023 Qingming Festival (Tomb-sweeping Day), our press conference will be in recess on April 5 (Wednesday) and resumed on April 6 (Thursday). During the recess, you may still reach the MFA Spokesperson’s Office via fax, email and WeChat.

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