|Foreign Ministry Spokesperson Mao Ning’s Regular Press Conference on November 17, 2023|
At the invitation of Member of the Political Bureau of the CPC Central Committee and Foreign Minister Wang Yi, Minister of Foreign Affairs of Uzbekistan Bakhtiyor Saidov will visit China and hold the first China-Uzbekistan foreign ministers’ strategic dialogue from November 19 to 22.
CCTV: Yesterday in San Francisco President Xi Jinping attended and addressed a welcome dinner hosted by friendly organizations in the US. The audience burst into extended applause a dozen times during the speech. Many present have said that President Xi’s speech, sending a message of friendship to the American people, is of historic significance. Do you have more information to share with us?
Mao Ning: On November 15 local time, President Xi Jinping attended in San Francisco a welcome dinner hosted by friendly organizations in the US and delivered an important speech. Before the dinner started, President Xi held cordial meetings with representatives of the US business community and other sectors as well as friends from descendants of the Flying Tigers and General Joseph W. Stilwell, Kuliang, Iowa, Washington State, among others.
President Xi always values, supports and encourages people-to-people exchanges between China and the US. He said on many occasions that the hope of the China-US relationship lies in the people, its foundation is in our societies, its future depends on the youth, and its vitality comes from exchanges at subnational levels. Looking back on history, we can see clearly that none of the high-stake events in China-US relations would have been possible without the reaching out to each other by our peoples. During the second World War, the Chinese and American people forged a bond of the Flying Tigers, which has stood the test of blood and fire. In 1971, a small ball moved the globe, leading to the handshake across the Pacific. Kuliang Friends continue to add new chapters to a century-old friendship story. The Philadelphia Orchestra recently returned to China for a concert in commemoration of the 50th anniversary of its first visit. The goodwill and friendship between our two peoples has time and again brought China-US relations from a low ebb back onto the right track.
As President Xi Jinping noted in his speech, the foundation of China-US relations was laid by our peoples. The door of China-US relations was opened by our peoples. The stories of China-US relations are written by our peoples. The future of China-US relations will be created by our peoples. Once opened, the door of China-US relations cannot be shut again. Once started, the cause of China-US friendship cannot be derailed halfway. No matter how the global landscape evolves, the historical trend of peaceful coexistence between China and the United States will not change. The ultimate wish of our two peoples for exchanges and cooperation will not change. The expectations of the whole world for a steadily growing China-US relationship will not change.
At this San Francisco meeting, the two heads of state reached important consensus on facilitating travels and promoting people-to-people exchanges. The two sides will increase direct passenger flights, hold a high-level dialogue on tourism, and streamline visa application procedures. The Chinese side has announced that it is ready to invite 50,000 young Americans to China on exchange and study programs in the next five years. We hope that our two peoples will make more visits, contacts and exchanges, write new stories of friendship in the new era and inject fresh impetus into the sustained growth of China-US relations.
TASS: US National Security Council Coordinator for Strategic Communications John Kirby said at an online press conference that US President Biden made it clear that the US hopes to continue to provide self-defense capabilities to Taiwan. What is the Foreign Ministry’s comment on this?
Mao Ning: The Taiwan question remains the most important and most sensitive issue in China-US relations. The US needs to deliver on its pledge of not supporting “Taiwan independence” with concrete actions, stop arming Taiwan, stop interfering in China’s internal affairs, and support China’s peaceful reunification.
TV Asahi: In today’s meeting between the Chinese and Japanese leaders, President Xi Jinping referred to “a mutually beneficial relationship based on common strategic interests”, which hasn’t been mentioned in a long while. What’s the significance of revisiting the wording?
Mao Ning: On the afternoon of November 16 local time, President Xi Jinping met with Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida in San Francisco. China has released a readout on the meeting, which you may refer to.
The two leaders reiterated their commitment to the principles and consensus stipulated in the four political documents between the two countries, reaffirmed the positioning of comprehensively advancing a mutually beneficial relationship based on common strategic interests, and agreed to dedicate themselves to jointly building a constructive and stable China-Japan relationship that meets the demands of the new era.
Reuters: The US and the Philippines have signed a landmark agreement that allows the United States to export nuclear technology and materials to the Philippines, which is exploring nuclear energy to decarbonize and increase its own energy independence. How does China view this development?
Mao Ning: We noted relevant news. When it comes to international cooperation on the peaceful use of nuclear energy, countries should strictly abide by international obligations on nuclear non-proliferation and ensure nuclear safety and security.
Kyodo News: Japan’s Prime Minister Fumio Kishida clearly demanded the immediate removal of the ban on imports of Japanese aquatic products during his meeting with President Xi Jinping in San Francisco. Do you have any comment?
Mao Ning: During his meeting with Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida, President Xi Jinping noted that the discharge of Fukushima nuclear-contaminated water bears on the health of all humanity, the global marine environment and the international public interest. Japan should take seriously the legitimate concerns both from at home and abroad and properly handle this in a responsible and constructive manner.
I need to stress that the precautionary measures taken by China and some other countries in response to Japan’s move to protect food safety and people’s health are entirely legitimate, reasonable and necessary. We hope that the Japanese side will work with China to find an appropriate way to resolve the issue of the discharge of Fukushima nuclear-contaminated water through consultation and negotiation in a constructive manner.
Shenzhen TV: Pedro Sánchez was reelected as Spain’s Prime Minister on November 16. What’s China’s comment?
Mao Ning: We congratulate Mr. Sánchez on his reelection as the Prime Minister of Spain. In recent years, China-Spain relations have seen steady and smooth development with positive outcomes in cooperation across the board, which has improved the wellbeing of both peoples. China stands ready to work with the Spanish side to consolidate strategic mutual trust, deepen friendship and cooperation, jointly respond to global challenges, make greater progress in our comprehensive strategic partnership, and contribute to stronger exchanges and cooperation between China and Europe.
Reuters: US semiconductor equipment maker Applied Materials is under criminal investigation by the US Justice Department for potentially evading export restrictions sending equipment to China’s top chipmaker SMIC via South Korea without export licences. Sources have told Reuters this. Is the ministry aware of this investigation, and how is the ministry responding to this matter?
Mao Ning: China has repeatedly made clear its position on US chip export controls targeting China. The US should stop politicizing, instrumentalizing and weaponizing tech and trade issues and stop disrupting the global industrial and supply chains. We will closely follow the developments and firmly safeguard our rights and interests.
Dragon TV: On November 16 local time, the APEC CEO Summit was held in San Francisco. President Xi Jinping delivered a written speech to the event. Can you give us more information? Does China have a new vision for economic development in the Asia-Pacific?
Mao Ning: APEC is an important mechanism for economic cooperation in the Asia-Pacific. Three decades ago, Asia-Pacific leaders agreed unanimously to build a dynamic, harmonious and prosperous Asia-Pacific community. This major decision enabled Asia-Pacific development and economic globalization to embark on a fast track of growth. Over the past three decades, Asia-Pacific cooperation has been upholding the defining feature of openness and inclusiveness, pursuing the overarching goal of development and sticking to the best practice of seeking common ground while shelving differences. All these efforts have turned the region into a powerhouse for world economic growth and an anchor of stability for global development.
As President Xi Jinping noted in his speech, the story of Asia-Pacific prosperity and development shows that development is only possible with cooperation, absence of cooperation is the biggest risk, and that decoupling and supply-chain disruption are not in anyone’s interests. We should remain committed to open regionalism, and steadfastly advance the building of a Free Trade Area of the Asia-Pacific. We should respect laws governing economic development, bring out the best in each and every one of us, make our economies more interconnected, strengthen synergy between relevant regional trade agreements and development strategies, and build an open Asia-Pacific economy featuring win-win cooperation. The APEC Putrajaya Vision explicitly lays out its vision for an Asia-Pacific community by 2040, charting the course for further cooperation in our region. China will work with all in the Asia-Pacific to build an open, inclusive, clean and beautiful world of lasting peace, universal security and shared prosperity.
President Xi Jinping stressed that this year, China’s economy has been steadily recovering and turning for the better. Its growth rate is among the highest among major economies of the world. And solid gains have been made in our pursuit of high-quality development. China remains committed to pursuing development with our doors open. We will unswervingly advance high-standard opening up and further expand market access. No matter how the international situation evolves, China’s resolve to foster a market-oriented, law-based and world-class business environment will not change. And our policy of providing equal and quality services to foreign investors will not change. For the world, Chinese modernization means a broader market and unprecedented cooperation opportunities. It will also instill strong impetus in the global modernization endeavor. We hope to see an active part of the global business community in the Chinese modernization drive to benefit from the huge opportunities brought by China’s high-quality development.
Reuters: Local armed groups in Myanmar have pledged to eradicate online scam centers there. What’s China’s comment?
Mao Ning: For some time, China and Myanmar have continued to step up cooperation on combating telecom fraud and other cross-border illegal and criminal activities, which has achieved remarkable results. A large number of telecom fraud suspects have been turned over to the Chinese side. The Chinese side will continue to work with relevant parties to crack down on telecom fraud and other cross-border illegal and criminal activities and uphold the order and tranquility of the China-Myanmar border areas.
NHK: During the China-Japan summit talks today, Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida said that peace and stability in the Taiwan Strait is very important to the international community, including Japan. What is your comment on this?
Mao Ning: The Taiwan question is China’s internal affair and brooks no external interference. The most fundamental way to safeguard cross-Strait peace and stability is to uphold the one-China principle.
Reuters: Yonhap has reported that South Korea and China are in talks to arrange a summit. Are there any details to share about this, for example, when and where will the summit take place?
Mao Ning: I have no information to offer.