China FO press conference on Jan 4, 2023

6 Min
China FO press conference on Jan 4, 2023

The Chinese foreign ministry spokesperson Mao Ning held a presser on January 4, 2023. Some excerpts

Shenzhen TV: It is reported that US State Department Spokesperson Ned Price said that China lacks transparency in sharing COVID information. He said that China should provide more COVID information, as it is in the world’s interest and also in the interest of China. White House Press Secretary Karine Jean-Pierre said that the US and other countries are taking health measures targeting people travelling from China to protect their citizens, and China should not take retaliatory measures. What is China’s comment?

Mao Ning: Since COVID began, China has always put the people and their lives above all else. We have made the best effort to protect people’s life and health and effectively coordinated COVID response with economic and social development. China has always shared its information and data responsibly with the international community. According to incomplete statistics, over the past three years, China has carried out over 60 technical exchanges with the WHO, two of which were conducted after the release of the 10 new measures alone. China continues to share the genome data of the virus via the Global Initiative on Sharing Avian Influenza Data (GISAID). Health experts from many countries have said that entry restrictions targeting China are unnecessary.

The Chinese government has taken responsible policies and measures, done its best and made important contributions to protecting Chinese people’s lives and health and promoting global solidarity against the pandemic and world economic recovery and growth.

We have noted that recently some people in the US have made comments on China’s COVID policy adjustment. We also noted that quite many people have said if the US had not politicized the epidemic, and had treated it responsibly and put people’s life first like the Chinese government, perhaps the COVID situation in the US and the whole world would not have become what it is today.

We truly hope the focus will be on tackling the virus rather than politicizing the COVID issue, and countries can step up solidarity and make joint efforts to defeat the pandemic at an early date.

Global Times: The International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) recently released the third report of its Task Force established to review the safety of Japan’s handling of the nuclear-contaminated water at the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power station. Do you have any comment?

Mao Ning: We noted this IAEA report. Preliminarily speaking, this report focuses on the handling of the nuclear-contaminated water at the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power station and its environmental impact and proposes the methods and plans for the assessment and review of relevant data. It needs to be pointed out that no conclusion has been drawn in the report on some important issues of high concern, including the authenticity and accuracy of the data related to the nuclear-contaminated water and whether the data collection methods meet safety standards.?

This above-mentioned report again shows that the international community’s concerns over the accuracy of the data on the nuclear-contaminated water, the effectiveness of the treatment system and the uncertainties about the environmental impact are entirely justified. When the IAEA Task Force is still working on its mission and no conclusion has been reached, the Japanese side has greenlighted its ocean discharge plan and forcibly proceeded with the preparatory work for that purpose. Such acts are reckless and irresponsible.

Discharging nuclear-contaminated water into the ocean is by no means a domestic affair for Japan. We once again urge the Japanese side to take seriously the international community’s legitimate and justified concerns, have full consultation with stakeholders including neighboring countries and Pacific Island countries and relevant international institutions, and dispose of the nuclear-contaminated water in an open, transparent, science-based and safe manner and place itself under the strict monitoring of the IAEA.

Fuji TV: Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida announced today that Japan will adopt new COVID response measures for visitors from China. He said, starting January 8, visitors from China will need to have tested negative before leaving for Japan and will have to undergo a PCR test upon arrival in the country. What’s China’s comment?

Mao Ning: We have shared with you China’s position on this issue over the past few days. China always believes that for all countries, COVID response measures need to be science-based and proportionate. They should not be used for political manipulation, there should not be discriminatory measures against certain countries, and measures should not affect normal travel and people-to-people exchange and cooperation.

CCTV: Following the decision to manage COVID-19 with measures against Class-B infectious diseases starting from January 8, what policy will China adopt for inbound travelers with regard to COVID-19?

Mao Ning: According to the provisional measures on cross-border travel, starting from January 8, inbound travelers will need to show a negative nucleic acid test taken within 48 hours prior to departure. The test result will need to be noted in the customs health declaration form. Inbound travelers no longer need to apply for a health code from Chinese embassies or consulates. Those who test positive need to postpone their travel until they have a negative test result.

Inbound travelers with no issues to report in their health declaration who have been given regular customs inspection and quarantine clearance can enter China without being subject to quarantine. Those with issues to report in their health declaration or symptoms such as fever shall receive antigen tests at the customs. For travelers who test positive, those determined to be asymptomatic or mild cases without serious underlying health conditions may self-quarantine or exercise self-care at home or place of residence.?

Associated Press of Pakistan: Foreign Minister Bilawal Bhutto and Ambassador Nong Rong during a meeting held on January 2 reviewed the achievements of Pakistan-China relations in the past year and also agreed to maintain the momentum in the year 2023 through high-quality development of CPEC and enhancing people-to-people exchanges. What is China’s response to it?

Mao Ning: China and Pakistan are all-weather strategic cooperative partners and iron-clad friends. Over the past year, our two countries have rendered each other mutual understanding and mutual support, addressed challenges together and marched forward shoulder-to-shoulder. We have strengthened high-level guidance, consolidated strategic consensus, jointly promoted the sound development of the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC), and expanded friendly exchanges and cooperation in various areas, sustaining high-quality development of bilateral relations.

In the new year, China is ready to work with Pakistan, follow through on the important common understandings reached between the two leaders, make solid progress in comprehensive and high-level strategic cooperation, stay committed to building an even closer China-Pakistan community with a shared future in the new era, and make even greater contribution to the two peoples’ wellbeing and peace and development of the region and the wider world.

AFP: Can the foreign ministry confirm if Brazil’s President Lula will visit China soon? And can you give some details?

Mao Ning: At the invitation of the Brazilian government, Chinese President Xi Jinping’s Special Representative Vice President Wang Qishan attended the inauguration ceremony of Brazil’s new President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva and met with him in Brasilia, capital of Brazil. Vice President Wang handed over to President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva a letter signed by President Xi and conveyed President Xi’s warm congratulations and best wishes to Lula on his new term as well as his invitation for Lula to visit China.

For his part, President Lula asked Vice President Wang to convey his heartfelt thanks and cordial greetings to President Xi, and extended warm welcome to Vice President Wang for attending his inauguration ceremony. He said that Brazil attaches great importance to its relations with China, and hopes to strengthen strategic and long-term cooperation with the country. He added that he looks forward to leading a delegation to China to further deepen bilateral practical cooperation in various fields, enhance friendship between the peoples of the two countries, and lift Brazil-China relations to a new level.

We attach high importance to the China-Brazil comprehensive strategic partnership and welcome President Lula to visit China at a time of mutual convenience. If there is information on that, we will release it in a timely manner.

AFP: There have been reports that there may be a free trade deal between China and Ecuador. Is the foreign ministry able to confirm this or give more details??

Mao Ning: To my knowledge, the negotiation on a free trade agreement between China and Ecuador is making smooth progress. If there is further information, we will keep you updated.

AFP: Former NATO chief Anders Rasmussen met with Taiwan’s Tsai Ing-wen today and said that democracies must join together to resist autocracies. Does China have any response to these remarks?

Mao Ning: There is only one China in the world and Taiwan is an inalienable part of China’s territory. The Taiwan question is not about democracy, but about China’s territorial integrity and reunification. Let me stress that any attempt to create “two Chinas” or “one China, one Taiwan” in the world is doomed to fail.