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Foreign Ministry Spokesperson Mao Ning’s Regular Press Conference on October 24, 2023

2023-10-24 18:14

At the invitation of US Secretary of State Antony Blinken, Member of the Political Bureau of the CPC Central Committee and Foreign Minister Wang Yi will visit the US from October 26 to 28.

CCTV: We have noted that since the escalation of the Palestinian-Israeli conflict, China has engaged actively in diplomatic mediation efforts. Foreign Minister Wang Yi has spoken on the phone with foreign ministers of multiple countries and Zhai Jun, Special Envoy of the Chinese Government on the Middle East issue, has been to Arab countries for shuttle diplomacy, actively promoting ceasefire and cessation of hostilities. China’s mediation efforts and policy proposals have been commended by the international community. How do you comment on this?

Mao Ning: Since the outbreak of the current round of Palestinian-Israeli conflict, China has maintained close communication with relevant parties, actively participated in the consultations at the UN Security Council, and made every effort to promote peace talks and help deescalate the situation. The international community, especially the many Arab countries, commends China’s just position and the role it has played as a responsible major country. It is widely held that the vision of building a community with a shared future for mankind advocated by President Xi Jinping sets the direction for resolving the Palestinian-Israeli issue. It has also been said that the proposal put forward by Foreign Minister Wang Yi on ending the conflict is well-targeted. China has received appreciation for its important role in promoting a political settlement of the Palestinian issue and maintaining peace and stability in the Middle East.

We sincerely hope that the Palestinian question will be resolved in a comprehensive, just and lasting manner on the basis of the two-state solution. On the escalation of the Palestinian-Israeli conflict, our position is highly consistent with that of the Arab states. We all hope that the fighting will stop as soon as possible in order to prevent the situation from escalating or even spiraling out of control. We oppose acts that are against civilians and violate international law and call for protecting civilians and providing humanitarian aid to prevent an even worse humanitarian disaster. We all support the two-state solution and the realization of Palestinian people’s right to statehood and survival and their right of return, which we believe is the only viable way out of the Palestinian question. We all call for a more authoritative, influential and broad-based international peace conference to be held as soon as possible, an early resumption of peace talks and formulation of a timetable and road map to that end.

China will firmly support all efforts that are conducive to dialogue, ceasefire and peace and will do its best on everything conducive to the implementation of the two-state solution and a comprehensive, just and lasting settlement of the Palestinian question. China is ready to work together with the international community to make relentless efforts to that end.

Shenzhen TV: We noted that Under-Secretary-General of the UN for Management Strategy, Policy and Compliance Catherine Pollard has arrived in Beijing and started her visit to China. Could you share more on that?

Mao Ning: Today is the 78th United Nations Day. We welcome Under-Secretary-General of the UN for Management Strategy, Policy and Compliance Catherine Pollard to China. China always supports true multilateralism and the international system with the UN at its core. This year, UN Secretary-General António Guterres attended the third Belt and Road Forum for International Cooperation in China, and several Under-Secretary-Generals have also paid visits to China. China’s invitation to Under-Secretary-General Catherine Pollard to visit China demonstrates our firm support for the work of the UN. 

China is the biggest developing country and the second largest contributor to the UN’s regular budget and peacekeeping assessments. We always pay our assessed contributions in full, providing strong support to the UN with concrete actions. We also work to ensure that every penny of the UN could be fully leveraged to deliver tangible results. During Under-Secretary-General Catherine Pollard’s visit to China, Vice Foreign Minister Ma Zhaoxu and officials of relevant ministries will meet with her to have in-depth exchanges of views on topics in such fields as finance, management and human resources. We believe this visit will further strengthen the practical cooperation between China and the UN, support and promote a sound and steady progress of the work of the UN.

Bloomberg: Just to follow up on the visit by Foreign Minister Wang Yi to the US. Bloomberg is reporting that he will have meetings with Secretary of State Antony Blinken and the National Security Adviser Jake Sullivan. Can you confirm these details and offer any more details about the trip to the US?

Mao Ning: During his visit to the US, Foreign Minister Wang Yi will have in-depth exchanges of views with US high-level officials on bilateral relations and regional and international issues of shared interests, have friendly communication with various quarters in the US and state China’s principled position and legitimate concerns on the bilateral relations. We hope that the US will work with China to follow through on the important common understandings between the two heads of state, enhance communication and dialogue, expand practical cooperation, properly manage differences and jointly bring the bilateral relations back to the track of sound and steady development. On the schedule of Foreign Minister Wang Yi’s visit, we will release information in due course.

Hubei Media Group: The 16th Senior Officials Meeting of the Forum on China-Africa Cooperation (FOCAC) was held on October 23 in Beijing. Can you brief us on the outcomes of the meeting?

Mao Ning: Thank you for following China-Africa relations and FOCAC. This Senior Officials Meeting is another gathering of the 55 members of FOCAC. Nearly 300 participants, including senior officials and representatives of African members, senior officials of members of the Chinese FOCAC Follow-up Committee and observers from some international and regional organizations, attended this meeting.

Participants focused on China’s report on the implementation of the outcomes of the Eighth Ministerial Conference of FOCAC. They agreed that under the close cooperation between China and Africa, the nine programs proposed by President Xi Jinping, the Dakar Declaration of the Eighth Ministerial Conference of FOCAC, FOCAC Dakar Action Plan (2022-2024) and China-Africa Cooperation Vision 2035 are being implemented effectively. China and Africa enjoy frequent high-level exchanges, deepening political mutual trust, more efficient friendly cooperation and booming exchanges and mutual learning in various fields, which has been injecting new impetus for the development of China-Africa relations.

This meeting also discussed preliminary ideas for next year’s FOCAC. As fellow companions on the journey towards development and revitalization, both China and African countries have high expectations for next year’s FOCAC. The two sides will work together to make preparations and plan on the outcomes, seek synergy between China's Second Centenary Goal and Agenda 2063 of the AU, tap on opportunities brought by Belt and Road cooperation, take the high-level China-Africa community with a shared future to a new height, and bring common development and prosperity to the close to 3 billion Chinese and African people.

AFP: The China-US Economic Working Group held its first meeting today, during which both sides discussed the macroeconomic situation and bilateral economic relations. Could you share more details on what has been discussed?

Mao Ning: Regarding the meeting of the China-US Economic Working Group, I noticed that China’s Ministry of Finance has put out a press release. If you need more information, please refer to the competent authorities.

China News Service: It was reported that recently Venezuela’s government and opposition alliance the Unitary Platform resumed dialogue and reached agreement on preliminary arrangement for the 2024 presidential election in the country. US Department of the Treasury announced that it issued a six-month general license, temporarily lifting sanctions on PDVSA and relevant entities, and the US is prepared to amend the policy if the above-mentioned commitments are not followed through. What is China’s comment?

Mao Ning: China welcomes the resumption of dialogue between the government and opposition of Venezuela. We extend our congratulations on the important progress of the dialogue and are ready to continue playing a positive and constructive role on the Venezuelan issue. China’s position on this issue is consistent and clear. We firmly uphold the UN Charter and the basic norms governing international relations, and oppose relevant country’s unlawful unilateral sanctions and the so-called “long-arm jurisdiction” against Venezuela. We hope the US will immediately and fully stop interfering in the internal affairs of Venezuela, completely abolish the unlawful unilateral sanctions on Venezuela and other countries, and act more in ways conducive to world peace, stability and development.

Global Times: Australia announced a few days ago that it has finalized a security review regarding the Port of Darwin, and that it has reached agreement with China to solve the WTO dispute over wine. What is your comment?

Mao Ning: We noted the Australian announcement that it has finalized a review into the lease of the Port of Darwin, and decided it will not vary or cancel the lease. We welcome this announcement and hope Australia will continue to provide a sound environment for Chinese companies to invest and operate in the country.

On wine and other issues, China’s Ministry of Commerce has released information, which you may refer to. China stands ready to work with Australia to continue resolving each other’s concerns properly through dialogue and consultation, and promote further improvement and growth of bilateral relations.

AFP: Canada’s foreign ministry said that an organization connected to China has been spreading disinformation related to Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and other Canadian senior officials and Members of Parliaments by leaving a large amount of comments and “deepfake” videos online. Do you have any comment on this?

Mao Ning: The so-called statement by Canada’s foreign ministry misrepresents facts and is very misleading, which makes trumped-up charges against China. We deplore and firmly oppose that. 

For some time, the Canadian side has falsely accused China of spreading disinformation against Canadian politicians on multiple occasions, but it has never come up with any solid evidence. On its own part, however, the Canadian side has long made up lies including on Xinjiang, Xizang and Hong Kong to attack and smear China. It is the Canadian side that has been producing and spreading disinformation. We urge the Canadian side to respect facts and truth, stop spreading China-related lies, and stop words and deeds that would poison the atmosphere of China-Canada relations and damage bilateral relations.

Reuters: Taiwan “vice president” Lai has criticized the Chinese mainland over its tax probe into Foxconn. Lai said Beijing should cherish and treasure Taiwanese companies given their help to the mainland’s economic development and not put pressure on these companies during an election there. The Taiwan affairs office has not commented on Lai’s remarks. Would the foreign ministry comment on this?

Mao Ning: There is no “vice president” in Taiwan and what you mentioned is not related to foreign affairs.  

Ukrinform News Agency: My question is about the Ukrainian issue. Negotiations on the Ukrainian peace formula of President Volodymyr Zelenskyy will be held in Malta at the end of this week. Does China intend to send a representative to these talks?

Mao Ning: On the Ukraine issue, China is committed to promoting talks for peace and bringing about a political settlement of the crisis through dialogue and negotiation. China stands ready to continue to play a constructive role to this end. 

AFP: Yesterday, Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi held a phone conversation with the Israeli Foreign Minister. Wang said that all countries have the right to self-defense. Could you further clarify Wang’s statement? Does he say this in a general sense or can it be understood that China thinks Israel has the right to protect its national territory against attacks from Hamas? 

Mao Ning: China’s position on the Palestinian-Israeli conflict is very clear. Foreign Minister Wang Yi had talked over the phone with the foreign ministers of both Israel and Palestine yesterday. Foreign Minister Wang Yi has put it very clearly that all countries have the right to self-defense, but should respect the international humanitarian law and protect the safety of civilians and it is imperative to prevent the situation from escalating and avert an even worse humanitarian disaster. 

I would like to stress that China does not pursue any selfish interests on the Palestinian question. We sincerely hope that the Palestinian question can have a comprehensive, just and lasting settlement based on the two-state solution, so that the legitimate security concerns of all parties can be thoroughly addressed. 

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