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Foreign Ministry Spokesperson Mao Ning’s Regular Press Conference on June 3, 2024

2024-06-03 21:15

At the invitation of Vice President Han Zheng, Vice President of the Federative Republic of Brazil Geraldo Alckmin will pay an official visit to China from June 4 to 8.

At the invitation of Member of the Political Bureau of the CPC Central Committee and Minister of Foreign Affairs Wang Yi, Venezuela’s Foreign Minister Yván Gil Pinto will visit China from June 4 to 7.

CCTV: The Chinese side said publicly last week that it will not attend the Summit on Peace in Ukraine organized by Switzerland. Does this mean China does not support Switzerland and Ukraine in holding this summit? Some believe that not attending the summit means not supporting peace and standing on the side of Russia in opposition to Ukraine. What is China’s comment on this?

Mao Ning: China believes that all efforts that are conducive to the peaceful settlement of the crisis should be supported. We have attached great importance to Switzerland’s organizing the Summit on Peace in Ukraine from the very beginning and have been in close communication with Switzerland, Ukraine and other relevant parties on this. China has repeatedly stressed that the international peace conference needs to meet the three important elements, namely, recognition from both Russia and Ukraine, equal participation of all parties, and fair discussion of all peace plans. As far as China is concerned, the meeting does not yet seem to meet these three elements and that is exactly why China would not be able to take part in the meeting. Let me stress that China’s position on the peace conference is fair and just. Our position does not target any party and certainly not this particular summit. China’s decision on participation is purely based on our assessment of the meeting itself, and we believe relevant parties can understand our position.

Whether one supports peace or not should not be judged by a particular country or on the basis of a particular meeting. China sincerely hopes that a peace conference will not turn into a platform used to create bloc confrontation. Not attending it does not mean not supporting peace. For certain countries, even if they do participate, they do not necessarily whole-heartedly want the conflict to stop. What matters is what kind of action that is being taken. What has happened shows that China has been most firmly and actively committed to promoting talks for peace. China has never sat idly by or fueled the flames, still less profiteered from the conflict. Instead, we have worked relentlessly for a ceasefire, and this has been highly commended by various parties, including Russia and Ukraine.

Xinhua News Agency: To follow up on the announcement of Brazil’s Vice President Geraldo Alckmin’s visit to China. What’s the program and China’s expectation for the visit?

Mao Ning: During the official visit of Brazil’s Vice President Geraldo Alckmin to China, Vice President Han Zheng will have talks with him, and the two vice presidents will co-chair the 7th meeting of the China-Brazil High-level Coordination and Cooperation Committee.

China and Brazil are both major developing countries and important emerging markets, and are each other’s comprehensive strategic partners. This year marks the 50th anniversary of China-Brazil diplomatic ties and the 20th anniversary of the establishment of the China-Brazil High-level Coordination and Cooperation Committee. China hopes that this visit will help further consolidate political mutual trust, strengthen strategic communication, and deepen practical cooperation in various fields between the two sides for the sustained growth of our bilateral comprehensive strategic partnership. 

Beijing Youth Daily: A question on Venezuela’s Foreign Minister Yván Gil Pinto’s visit to China. What’s the program of the visit and how does China view its current relations with Venezuela?

Mao Ning: China and Venezuela are all-weather strategic partners. Last September, Venezuelan President Nicolás Maduro paid a successful state visit to China. Under the strategic guidance of President Xi Jinping and President Nicolás Maduro, bilateral relations have entered a new historical period. This year marks the 50th anniversary of China-Venezuela diplomatic ties. We welcome Foreign Minister Yván Gil Pinto to visit China and attend the events celebrating that anniversary. We hope and believe the visit will be a good opportunity to continue to implement the important common understandings reached between the two presidents, carry forward our traditional friendship and provide sustained driving force for our all-weather strategic partnership.

NOS: Last week, a Dutch marine ship passed through first the South China Sea then the Taiwan Strait as part of a bigger freedom of navigation exercise in the region. Is China aware of this transit through the Taiwan Strait? Have Chinese marine vessels for instance also monitored the ship? How does China view this passing?

Mao Ning: I’d refer you to competent authorities for the specifics. Let me say that China respects countries’ right to navigation in accordance with international law, but firmly opposes undermining China’s sovereignty and security in the name of freedom of navigation. The Asia-Pacific is a shining example of peace and development. We hope countries outside the region will do things that are conducive to regional peace and stability, instead of making provocations and stirring up trouble for the peace and stability in the region.

China News Service: The US State Department Spokesperson announced new visa restrictions on officials of the Central Government and the Hong Kong SAR government in a statement released last week on the verdict issued by the Hong Kong court on some of those involved in the case of conspiring to commit subversion. What’s China’s comment?

Mao Ning: The US has deliberately attacked the principle of One Country, Two Systems, smeared the Law on Safeguarding National Security in the Hong Kong SAR, irresponsibly commented on democracy and freedoms in Hong Kong, sought to meddle with Hong Kong SAR’s judicial matters and abused visa restrictions. Such moves blatantly interfere in China’s internal affairs, and violate international law and basic norms governing international relations. China strongly deplores and opposes it.

Let me be clear, the so-called “primary election” organized by those involved in the case who are anti-China and sought to destabilize Hong Kong amounts to a serious challenge to the constitutional order in Hong Kong and endangers national security. Among the defendants involved in the case, 31 have already pleaded guilty. It is reasonable and lawful for the law enforcement and judicial authorities in the Hong Kong SAR to carry out their duties in accordance with the law and punish all acts that undermine national security. The central government firmly supports this.

I would like to stress that Hong Kong affairs are purely China’s domestic affair that brooks no external interference. We urge the US to earnestly respect China’s sovereignty and the rule of law in Hong Kong, and abide by international law and basic norms governing international relations. The US should not in any way meddle with Hong Kong affairs. If the US implements the visa restrictions on officials of the Central Government and the Hong Kong SAR government, China will take firm countermeasures. 

BBC: Can you tell us anything more about this case of the alleged courting of spies in Britain by the UK’s intelligence service MI6? There was a public announcement about this. Do you know anything about the case? Who the people are? Who they work for? Why MI6 might want to use these people as spies? Are we going to see any sort of response from the Chinese government in terms of retribution or something like that?

Mao Ning: Relevant authorities have released detailed information on the case you mentioned. I have nothing to add.

Dragon TV: On June 2, defense ministers of the US, Japan and the ROK held a trilateral meeting in Singapore and issued a joint press statement, in which they blamed China, saying “they strongly oppose any unilateral attempts to change the status quo in the waters of the Indo-Pacific,” “emphasized the importance of peace and stability across the Taiwan Strait,” “called for the peaceful resolution of cross-Strait issues,” opposed “unlawful maritime claims” in the South China Sea, and stressed the importance of fully respecting international law including the freedom of navigation and overflight.” The media note of the US-Japan-ROK Trilateral Vice Foreign Minister-Level Dialogue held in Washington on May 31 contains similar negative content on China. US Deputy Secretary of State Campbell claimed that they asked for China to weigh in on Pyongyang to ask them to refrain from the provocative actions and to accept the offers of dialogue that the US, Japan and the ROK have put on the table. What is China’s comment on this?

Mao Ning: We noted this. The US, Japan and the ROK used their trilateral defense ministers’ meeting and trilateral vice foreign minister-level dialogue to advance the so-called “Indo-Pacific Strategy,” point fingers on the Taiwan question, grossly interfere in China’s internal affairs, once again deliberately attack and vilify China on maritime issues and sow discord between China and neighboring countries. Such moves seriously violate basic norms governing international relations. China strongly deplores and opposes this. 

First, China firmly opposes the practice of bloc politics, anything said or done to instigate or intensify tensions and undermine other countries’ strategic security and interests, and the attempt to form exclusive groupings in the Asia-Pacific. The US needs to act on its word that the revitalization of its alliances is not targeted at China and stop seeking selfish gains at the expense of other countries’ strategic security and the wellbeing of the people in the Asia-Pacific.

Second, the one-China principle is a universal consensus of the international community and basic norm in international relations. The Taiwan question is purely China’s internal affair that brooks no external interference. The biggest threat to cross-Strait peace now is the separatist activities of “Taiwan independence” forces and external connivance and support for them. If relevant countries truly care about cross-Strait peace and stability and want the world to be safe and prosperous, they should uphold the one-China principle, unequivocally oppose “Taiwan independence” separatist activities, and support China’s reunification.

Third, China will always defend its territorial sovereignty and maritime rights and interests. We are committed to properly settling bilateral maritime issues with countries directly concerned through dialogue and consultation. That said, we firmly oppose countries outside the region meddling with and escalating the situation. In recent years, the US has been inciting and supporting certain countries in provoking China and infringing on China’s sovereignty and maritime rights at sea, and frequently conducted joint military exercises and close-in reconnaissance with its allies in waters close to China, including the South China Sea, to flex muscles and intensify tensions in the region. This has become the biggest threat and challenge to regional peace and stability.

Fourth, China’s basic position on the Korean Peninsula issue is consistent. We believe that ensuring peace and stability on the Korean Peninsula and advancing the political settlement of the Korean Peninsula issue serves the common interests of all parties. Resorting to military deterrence and imposing sanctions and pressure will only intensify differences and heighten tensions. We urge relevant parties to be prudent in words and deeds and refrain from fueling the tension in the Korean Peninsula which is already highly complex and challenging. We will continue to handle Korean Peninsula affairs based on their merits and our own position.

Shenzhen TV: Yesterday, China’s Chang’e-6 touched down in the South Pole-Aitken Basin on the far side of the moon, which has received international attention. Head of the European Space Agency Josef Aschbacher commented that it’s a wonderful accomplishment that ESA is thankful and proud to have a part in. What’s your comment? 

Mao Ning: On June 2, about one month after its launch on May 3, Chang’e-6 successfully landed at the designated landing area on the far side of the moon. It is there to collect lunar soil and rock samples, and conduct scientific exploration, and has gained valuable video footage and data. The mission also carries international payloads from the European Space Agency, France, Italy, and Pakistan for joint scientific exploration. This is a historic step in China’s space exploration and, more importantly, a step of the peaceful use of space in human history.

Understanding and exploring the universe is humanity’s shared aspiration and the peaceful use of space will improve the well-being of all. We stand ready to deepen international space exchanges and cooperation, share development fruits with other countries, and unravel the mysteries of the universe on the basis of equality, mutual benefit, peaceful use and inclusive development. We look forward to the safe return of the Chang’e-6 probe with its collection from the lunar trove.

Bloomberg: I just want to follow up on the question on Ukraine. President Zelenskyy when he was in Singapore said that Russia is doing everything it can to disrupt the upcoming peace conference by using Chinese influence and Chinese diplomats. What is your view on these comments?

Mao Ning: Just now I shared China’s position on Switzerland’s hosting the first Summit on Peace in Ukraine. We have attached great importance to the meeting from the very beginning and have been in close communication with Switzerland, Ukraine and other relevant parties on this. I noted that the Federal Department of Foreign Affairs of Switzerland acknowledged this publicly on May 31. I want to say that China’s position is open, transparent, fair and just. We believe relevant parties can understand and support our position.

Since the full escalation of the Ukraine crisis, China has maintained communication and cooperation with Ukraine. China is still Ukraine’s largest trading partner. Our Embassy in Ukraine continues to function normally. China values its strategic partnership with Ukraine.

Beijing Daily: The Congress of Peru adopted a decision with 108 votes in favor and zero against on May 29, announcing that it will designate February 1 of every year as the “Peru-China Fraternity Day.” What is China’s comment?

Mao Ning: China and Peru are good friends who treat each other with sincerity and mutual trust and good partners seeking common development. The Congress of Peru has voted almost unanimously in favor to designate February 1 of every year as the “Peru-China Fraternity Day.” This fully shows that Peru values its relations with China, that the friendship between China and Peru is deep-rooted in the people, and that the China-Peru relations enjoy a solid public foundation and have enormous potential and promising prospect for further growth. China stands ready to work with Peru for more outcomes of the comprehensive strategic partnership and more benefit to the two peoples.

Anadolu Agency: Mr. Zelenskyy implied that Chinese diplomats were pressuring the third countries and trying to dissuade them from participating in the summit. Is that true?

Mao Ning: China’s position on the peace conference is fair and just. Our position does not target any party and certainly not this particular summit organized by Switzerland. Hegemonism and power politics are not China’s diplomatic style. There is no such thing as China pressuring other countries.

Al Jazeera: According to Iranian media reports, Iran’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs summoned the Chinese Ambassador to Iran to protest against the joint statement issued by China and the UAE regarding the disputed islands between Iran and the UAE. What’s your comment?

Mao Ning: China’s position on the issue of the three islands is consistent. We call on parties concerned to resolve differences in a peaceful way through dialogue and consultation. The joint statement between China and the UAE is consistent with China’s position on this issue. China-Iran relations are solid. We value our comprehensive strategic partnership with Iran.

Bloomberg: On May 14, your colleague said that all accusations of spying by China are groundless and unacceptable vilification. Today, the Ministry of State Security obviously posted about two people that have been found spying for the British. So to confirm your position: the Chinese government has never spied on the UK but the Chinese government is now accusing the UK of spying on China. Is that correct?

Mao Ning: We oppose hyping up the so-called “China spying” to smear China. On the case that you mentioned, China’s competent authorities have released information.

Bloomberg: To follow up, so you are saying that the British case announced in May is groundless, but there are grounds for this case. Is that your statement or there has never been any spying? Can you confirm that there has never been any spying by China on the UK?

Mao Ning: My colleague shared China’s position on the case you mentioned in May. What happened is very clear. The UK’s arbitrary arrest of and charge against relevant Chinese citizens is a pure hype of the so-called “China spying” and vilification of China. On the case that relevant Chinese authorities unveiled today, I do not have details to add. But let me stress that China is a country under the rule of law. Any officially released information is supported by facts.

Bloomberg: There was a Chinese influencer on a Chinese social media platform who posted over the weekend an indecent video of himself at the gate of Yasukuni Shrine in Tokyo. What is the position of the Foreign Ministry on how Chinese citizens should act when they are overseas?

Mao Ning: I noted the report. Let me stress that the Yasukuni Shrine is a spiritual tool and symbol of Japanese militarists’ war of aggression against other countries. Japan needs to earnestly honor its word on facing squarely and reflecting on the history of aggression, and earn the trust of its Asian neighbors and the world through concrete actions. That said, I would like to again remind Chinese nationals overseas to observe local laws and regulations and express their grievance and sentiments in a rational way.

AFP: According to the Financial Times, Beijing has unreasonable demands on price and supply levels about a Russia-China gas pipeline called Power of Siberia 2. Is the deal between Beijing and Moscow stuck as the report suggests?

Mao Ning: The presidents of China and Russia agreed to look for areas where our interests converge, deepen the integration of interests, and enable each other’s success. We stand ready to work with Russia to deliver on important common understandings reached between our two leaders and deepen our all-round cooperation of mutual benefit.

Al Jazeera: According to China’s Foreign Ministry, Türkiye’s Foreign Minister arrived in China today for a three-day visit. What are on the agenda of his talks with the Chinese side? Will they talk about the war in Gaza, the Ukraine war and other international hotspot issues?

Mao Ning: The two sides will exchange views on issues of mutual concern. China will release timely details about the visit. Please stay tuned.

Reuters: This is regarding what Ukraine President Zelenskyy said at the Shangri-La Dialogue over the weekend as well. According to reports, President Zelenskyy said that there are elements that are part of Russia’s weaponry that come from China. How does China respond to these remarks?

Mao Ning: China is not a creator of or a party to the Ukraine crisis. We are committed to promoting talks for peace. China does not provide weapons to the parties to the conflict and strictly controls the export of dual-use articles, which is widely applauded by the international community. Our normal trade with Russia is done aboveboard. It’s consistent with WTO rules and market principles, and does not target any third party.   

I noted that there are statistics which show that over 60 percent of Russia’s imports of weapon components and dual-use articles come from the US and other Western countries. President Zelenskyy himself also mentioned this in his remarks.

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