|Foreign Ministry Spokesperson Mao Ning’s Regular Press Conference on May 26, 2023|
At the invitation of State Councilor and Foreign Minister Qin Gang, Minister of Foreign Affairs and International Trade of Zimbabwe Frederick Shava will pay an official visit to China from May 27 to June 2.
CCTV: We noted that at the opening ceremony of the Global Trade and Investment Promotion Summit of 2023 held a few days ago, many expressed optimism about China’s economic prospect and said that decoupling will bring extra burden to global economic development. Chairman of the board of German company Siemens and CEO of US chip-maker NVIDIA also said in their interviews that the Chinese market is irreplaceable and pulling out of the market is not an option. What’s your comment?
Mao Ning: Since early this year, the Chinese economy has shown sound momentum of recovery and market potential has been unleashed, which has attracted foreign investors around the world. In the first four months of this year, China’s actual use of foreign capital hit RMB 500 billion, up by 2.2 percent year-on-year. A recent report by the China Council for the Promotion of International Trade shows that 92.4 percent of the surveyed foreign-funded enterprises see no decline in China’s position in global investment decisions. Swiss Centers’ recent report shows that 62 percent of surveyed Swiss companies in China expect higher profits this year. These facts show that countries are optimistic about China’s economic prospect and China remains an attractive destination for global investment.
For development, China needs the world, and the world needs China. We will continue to foster a market-oriented, law-based and world-class business environment and share China’s market and dividend of openness with companies of all countries. China will never close its door to the world. We are ready to work together with all countries that wish to pursue win-win cooperation with us for global prosperity and common progress.
Reuters: Vietnam says it has urged China to remove Chinese survey, coast guard and fishing vessels from its waters. The vessels, which first entered Vietnam’s exclusive economic zone a few weeks ago, have been operating close to gas blocks operated by Russian firms in South China Sea. Can the Chinese side provide further information or comment on the incident? Has it had any contact with Vietnam or Russia on the matter?
Mao Ning: China has sovereignty over Nansha Islands and its adjacent waters and sovereign rights and jurisdiction over relevant waters. It is legitimate and lawful for relevant Chinese vessels to carry out normal activities in waters under China’s jurisdiction. There is no such a thing as entering in other countries’ exclusive economic zones.
On issues related to the South China Sea, we are in communication with all relevant parties and stand ready to handle disputes appropriately through dialogue and consultation to ensure peace and stability in the South China Sea. We remain, in the meantime, fully committed to protecting China’s lawful rights and interests.
Global Times: Recently tensions on the Korean Peninsula seem to have worsened. The US, Japan and the ROK continue to promote the sharing of DPRK missile warning data in real time, agreeing to enhance trilateral security cooperation and holding missile defence drills with other countries. The US and the ROK held the largest ever “combined annihilation firepower drills” near the military demarcation line between the DPRK and the ROK, imposed further unilateral sanctions on the DPRK at the same time, and may hold the first meeting of the US-ROK Nuclear Consultative Group in early June. Japan’s draft defense white paper characterizes the DPRK as a more critical and imminent threat. The DPRK media published several op-eds condemning the US moves in Northeast Asia to forge a US-Japan-ROK trilateral military alliance, promote “NATO-style” nuclear sharing and create a NATO-replica in Asia, which pose a major threat to world peace and security. Do you have any comment on this?
Mao Ning: China is following the recent developments on the Korean Peninsula. We are concerned over relevant parties putting together exclusive military blocs, carrying out various kinds of provocative military drills and stepping up “extended deterrence” and intelligence sharing. These moves do no help alleviate the situation on the Peninsula. They will only ratchet up an arms race, disrupt the nuclear non-proliferation regime and undermine peace and stability in the region.
TASS: Japanese Prime Minister Kishida Fumio is planning to attend the NATO summit in July in Lithuania, where he is expected to have talks with the NATO secretary general to discuss the opening of a NATO liaison office in Tokyo. What’s your comment? Secondly, it is learned that the Black Sea grain deal will be extended for another two months. Western countries only partially comply with this agreement as part of their support for Ukraine. Russia, however, has been under Western restrictions and cannot freely export grain to the rest of the world. How does the Chinese foreign ministry see this?
Mao Ning: To answer your first question, we have noted relevant reports. This has certainly drawn our attention. China believes that the relations between countries should be conducive to world peace and stability and not target any third party or harm others’ interests. The Asia-Pacific lies beyond the geographical scope of the North Atlantic. NATO’s attempt to make eastward inroads into the Asia-Pacific will inevitably undermine regional peace and stability. The countries and people in this region are on high alert against this and firmly oppose any words or actions designed to bring military blocs into this region and stoke division and confrontation. Japan needs to draw lessons from history, stay committed to the path of peaceful development, and avoid doing things that may erode the trust between countries and undermine peace and stability in the region.
On your second question about the Black Sea grain deal, China hopes that the agreement will continue to be implemented in a balanced, comprehensive and effective manner. We welcome the consensus on extending the deal and support relevant parties in continuing their dialogue on this and striving to find a solution that accommodates all parties’ concerns. China has also put forward the cooperation initiative on global food security, and would like to strengthen communication and cooperation with all parties over this to build up international consensus and contribute to world food security.
CRI: We noted that the official website of the Forum on China-Africa Cooperation issued an announcement of the results of the “My Dream” Painting Competition for African Youth yesterday. Could you share more details with us?
Mao Ning: In March this year, the Secretariat of the Chinese Follow-up Committee of the Forum on China-Africa Cooperation (FOCAC), the China Manned Space Engineering Office and the Chinese diplomatic and consular missions in Africa co-hosted a painting competition on the theme of “My Dream”. More than 2000 African youngsters submitted their paintings, of which 50 stood out. In the second half of this year, the hosts of this competition will organize an awarding ceremony and invite some of the prize-winners to China.
The youth are ambitious and passionate dream-chasers. The youth from Africa, with their colorful paintings, have expressed the best wishes for China-Africa cooperation, peace and development, human progress and a better life. This is a true picture of the cultural exchanges and people-to-people bond between China and Africa. China stands ready to offer a platform for African youth to show the world their youthful vitality and their African dream and renew the China-Africa friendship. In the meantime, we stand ready to share our experience and outcomes in the development of high-tech, enhance technology transfer in the agricultural and industrial fields and give a boost to Africa’s modernization drive. I’d like to take this opportunity to send my best wishes to the African youth, who are so ambitious, passionate and hard-working in their pursuit of dreams. I hope that their vitality and vigor will be a source of stability, development and prosperity for the African continent and a driving force for renewing the enduring China-Africa friendship.
Hokkaido Shimbun: It has been nearly four years since Professor Yuan Keqin of Hokkaido University of Education was arrested. Could you tell us Professor Yuan Keqin’s physical condition and the current progress of the case? Voice in Japan calling for his release is growing. What’s China’s response?
Mao Ning: I am not aware of the specifics. I can tell you that China is a country under the rule of law and handles the case in accordance with the law.
Phoenix TV: The UK government issued the so-called six-monthly report on Hong Kong yesterday, which asks for the “removing of the National Security Law” and says that the UK will continue to monitor the proposed electoral changes to Hong Kong’s District Council. Do you have any response?
Mao Ning: The government of the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region has issued a press release refuting UK’s so-called six-monthly report on Hong Kong. Nearly 26 years after Hong Kong’s return, the UK still hasn’t woken up from its colonial dream and continues seeking to interfere in Hong Kong affairs through a misleading “report” which is steeped in ideological bias and inconsistent with the facts. This gravely violates the principles of international law and the basic norms governing international relations. We strongly deplore and reject this.
Since the return of Hong Kong, the Chinese government has remained firmly committed to fully and faithfully implementing One Country, Two Systems, Hong Kong people administering Hong Kong and a high degree of autonomy. Hong Kong residents now enjoy far more rights and freedoms in accordance with law than they did before 1997. The effective implementation of the law on safeguarding national security and the new electoral system has enabled Hong Kong to bring chaos to an end and enter a new stage in which Hong Kong has restored order and is set to thrive. Its rule of law and business environment have improved, confidence from foreign investors have been growing, and its status as an international finance, trade and shipping hub is further consolidated. The UK has no sovereignty, jurisdiction or right of “supervision” over Hong Kong after its return to China. The legal basis for the Chinese government’s governance of Hong Kong is China’s Constitution and the Basic Law of the Hong Kong SAR, not the Sino-British Joint Declaration.
Hong Kong is China’s Hong Kong and Hong Kong affairs are purely China’s internal affairs. To smear Hong Kong or talk down its prospects will not sway China’s steady course of advancing One Country, Two Systems.
AFP: The senior EU official Enrique Mora met with China’s envoy Li Hui in Brussels yesterday. At the meeting, Mora said the EU expects China to use its influence on Russia to help end the Ukraine conflict. Can you share any details of these remarks of that meeting? And what is your response to the EU’s expectations?
Mao Ning: We have released information on Special Representative Li Hui’s visit. You may refer to that. We have noted that according to the European External Action Service, the EU side welcomed Special Envoy Li’s visit to Europe and China’s recent engagement with Ukraine. On the Ukraine crisis, China has held an objective and just position and actively promoted talks for peace. This has received broad understanding and support in the international community. Given that the crisis is in Europe, China supports Europe in making greater efforts for peace and putting forward a peaceful solution acceptable to all. China stands ready to continue to play a constructive role in promoting talks for peace.
Shenzhen TV: It was reported that a Taiwan defense official said on May 25 that the US government has started to deliver its plan to send weapons aid to Taiwan via presidential drawdown authority, with the first batch of Stinger anti-aircraft missiles already arrived in Taiwan on May 24. Do you have any comment on this?
Mao Ning: The US provision of weapons to Taiwan gravely violates the three China-US Joint Communiqués, especially the August 17 Communiqué, interferes in China’s internal affairs, harms China’s sovereignty and security interests, and undermines cross-Strait peace and stability. This is extremely wrong and dangerous. China strongly deplores and firmly rejects this and has made serious démarches to the US.
From US politician’s clamoring for “destroying TSMC” to arming the island of Taiwan into a “porcupine”, it is all too obvious that the US would stop at nothing – even if it means destroying Taiwan – to contain China. The over 1.4 billion Chinese people, including our Taiwan compatriots, will not accept this.
We urge the US to abide by the one-China principle and the three China-US joint communiqués, stop military contact with Taiwan and arming Taiwan, stop creating factors that heighten tensions across the Strait, and stop conniving at and supporting separatist forces’ attempt to seek “Taiwan independence” by force. We would like to, once again, make it clear to the DPP authorities that attempting to solicit foreign support for independence and reject reunification by force will only end in failure. China will closely follow the developments of the situation and resolutely safeguard our nation’s sovereignty, security and territorial integrity.
Kyodo News: It’s reported that on May 27, an Indo-Pacific Economic Framework (IPEF) ministerial meeting will be held in the US to discuss issues including keeping the semiconductor supply chain stable, and a preliminary document is expected to be formulated after the meeting. Does the foreign ministry have any comment? Second, the Chinese and US commerce ministers had talks in the US and expressed their respective concerns. How does China view this talks between the two ministers? Is it a sign of any turning point for the currently tense bilateral relations?
Mao Ning: On your first question, openness, cooperation and mutual benefits are vital for the success of the Asia-Pacific economy. Regional cooperation frameworks, in whatever name, need to stay open and inclusive, rather than discriminatory, exclusive or protectionist.
The global industrial and supply chains are shaped by the laws of market dynamics and the choices of businesses. The US, in an attempt to hold back China’s development and perpetuate its hegemony, has politicized and instrumentalized trade and tech issues, and coerced or co-opted some countries into adopting export restrictions against China. Such acts seriously disrupt the stability of the global semiconductor industrial and supply chains. We firmly oppose that. The world needs to work together to oppose US economic coercion and bullying, uphold the multilateral trading system, and maintain a stable and unblocked global industrial and supply chain.
On your second question about the meeting between Chinese and US commerce ministers, the Chinese side has released information on that, which you may refer to. China views and grows its relations with the US in accordance with the three principles of mutual respect, peaceful coexistence and win-win cooperation proposed by President Xi Jinping. China and the US maintain necessary communication. What’s important is that the US cannot demand communication and cooperation from China while hurting and curbing China’s interests in all possible means. The US needs to work with China to jointly bring bilateral relations back to the right track of sound and steady development.
China Daily: US State Department spokesperson Matthew Miller told a press briefing on May 25 that the US Intelligence Community assesses that “China almost certainly is capable of launching cyber-attacks that could disrupt critical infrastructure services within the United States, including against oil and gas pipelines and rail systems. It’s vital for government network defenders and the public to stay vigilant”. US Secretary of the Navy Carlos Del Toro told an interview that the US Navy “has been impacted” by the cyberattacks from China, adding that it was “no surprise that China has been behaving in this manner, not just for the last couple years, but for decades.” Do you have any response?
Mao Ning: We noted relevant reports. All countries care about the security of their critical infrastructure. The perpetrators of the Nord Stream blasts have yet to be brought to justice. Compared to physical sabotage, how to deal with cyber attacks on critical infrastructure is a bigger challenge.
We note with concern that the US National Security Agency, which also serves as the US Cyber Force Command, declared last year that the critical infrastructure of other countries is a legitimate target for US cyber attacks. Such an irresponsible policy puts the world’s critical infrastructure at great risks. The possibility of a Nord Stream-style attack in the cyber space has risen considerably.
Since last year, China’s cybersecurity agencies have released reports revealing the US government’s long-running cyber attacks on China’s critical infrastructure. We will continue to take necessary action to prevent and stop all kinds of cyber attacks that threaten the security of our critical infrastructure.