China FO Presser – Apr 26, 2023
China Foreign Ministry Spokesperson Mao Ning held a Regular Press Conference on April 26, 2023.
CNR: According to reports, UK Foreign Secretary James Cleverly said in his speech on foreign policy and the position on China on April 25 that it would be a betrayal of national interest to declare some kind of new Cold War or to isolate China. This Government will engage robustly and constructively with China, and at the same time, steadfastly defend the UK’s security and values. He said, China should fulfill its obligations in the Sino-British Joint Declaration. The UK is entitled to say so and act. China should not see the UK’s remarks on Xinjiang as interference in its internal affairs. He also said the UK hopes to see a peaceful settlement of the Taiwan question and it is essential that no party takes unilateral action to change the status quo. What’s China’s comment??
Mao Ning: In today’s deeply interconnected world, the multiple challenges facing humanity require joint responses. Bloc politics and the Cold War mentality are against the trend of history and do not serve the interests of the UK or any other party in the world. China has grown its relations with the UK in the spirit of equality and mutual respect. However, the UK has not kept up with the times and has been repeating old lines from an outdated playbook, which will only keep the UK itself further and further away from the advancement of our times.
Regarding the Hong Kong issue, all provisions concerning the UK under the Sino-British Joint Declaration have been fulfilled. The UK has no sovereignty, no jurisdiction or right of “supervision” over Hong Kong and no so-called “rights” or “responsibilities” concerning Hong Kong. Xinjiang enjoys economic development, social stability, religious harmony and cultural prosperity and people there lead a happy life. These are facts for all to see, yet the UK side chooses to be oblivious to this and has deliberately smeared and slandered China. The status quo of the Taiwan Strait is that both sides of the Strait belong to one and the same China. The biggest threat to peace in the Taiwan Strait comes from the “Taiwan independence” separatist activities and the US connivance at and support for them. If the UK side wants sustained peace and stability in the Taiwan Strait, it needs to strictly abide by the one-China principle and stand firmly against the “Taiwan independence” separatist activities.
I want to reiterate that the Taiwan question and issues concerning Hong Kong and Xinjiang are purely China’s internal affairs which brook no external interference. We urge the UK to be prudent in its words and actions, stop making groundless accusations against China and interfering in China’s internal affairs, and do more things that are conducive to the development of China-UK relations and world peace and stability.
People’s Daily: You told us yesterday that most of the Chinese nationals in Sudan have been safely evacuated in batches and in an orderly manner to the ports on Sudan’s border or Sudan’s neighbouring countries. Could you offer any updates on the evacuation efforts? When is the evacuation expected to be completed?
Mao Ning: Efforts are still underway to safely evacuate Chinese nationals from Sudan in an orderly way. We are organizing Chinese nationals to move to Sudan’s neighbouring countries by sea. A total of nearly 800 of them are expected to be transferred from April 25 to 27. Another 300-plus have headed to Sudan’s neighbouring countries by land. Diplomats from our embassies and consulates in relevant countries are there to receive them at border ports and will help our compatriots go through entry procedures and get ready for their transfer.?
TASS: UK Secretary of State for Defense James Heappey said in a written statement yesterday that Britain has sent to Ukraine thousands of shells for Challenger 2 tanks, including those with depleted uranium. He also stressed that the UK does not monitor the use of this ammunition and has no obligation to eliminate the consequences of the use once the conflict is over. What’s China’s comment on this?
Mao Ning: As far as I have learned, relevant countries once employed depleted uranium ammunition in the Middle East, Europe and other regions, attracting global attention. On the Ukraine crisis, relevant countries should cool down the situation and promote diplomatic settlement rather than fan the flames and further escalate the situation.
CCTV: Ya Ya, the giant panda who has been living in a US zoo for 20 years, will soon return to China. Do you have any update on this? And what are China’s considerations regarding giant panda cooperation with other countries going forward?
Mao Ning: According to what we have learned from relevant government agency, the giant panda Ya Ya, who has been living at the Memphis Zoo in the US, will soon return to China as scheduled. The Chinese and US sides are actively making sound preparations and arrangements for the return of Ya Ya. The two sides have confirmed the transportation plan and flight route, put in place contingency measures and are doing our utmost to ensure that she will return home safe and sound.?
The Memphis Zoo has a relatively complete management system and operation procedures for giant pandas. During the giant pandas’ stay at the Memphis Zoo, they received good care from the zoo and great affection from the American people. The collaborative research on the conservation of giant panda has made positive contributions to the conservation and public education concerning giant pandas as well as cultural and people-to-people exchanges. China stands ready to continue to work with cooperation partners including the US to play our part in protecting endangered species.
KBS: According to the ROK embassy in China, Chinese President Xi Jinping accepted the credentials presented by ROK Ambassador to China Chung Jae-ho at the Great Hall of the People in Beijing. Ambassador Chung conveyed to President Xi a message from ROK President Yoon Suk Yeol that he looks forward to a visit by President Xi to the ROK within this year. What’s the Chinese government’s position on this?
Mao Ning: China and the ROK are in communication over promoting the sound and steady development of bilateral relations, including properly handling each other’s concerns and sensitive issues. As to the high-level exchange you referred to, I have nothing to offer.
The Paper: It was reported that the hospital in Chimaltenango, Guatemala built with support from the Taiwan authorities, was involved in a corruption case. The Vice Minister of Health and the director of the hospital were arrested for embezzling US$8.6 million. What’s China’s comment on this?
Mao Ning: This is not Guatemala’s first Taiwan-related corruption case. In the name of enhancing so-called “diplomatic relations”, the DPP authorities have been spending Taiwan people’s hard-earned money to seek “dollar diplomacy” to advance the “Taiwan independence” separatist agenda. Such attempts not only undermine the real benefits of people in Taiwan but also breed corruption in relevant countries. We also urge the Giammattei administration not to selfishly succumb to the Taiwan authorities’ dollar diplomacy. The Guatemalan people are clear-eyed about who actually benefits from it. I would like to reiterate that recognizing the one-China principle is the right choice that echoes the trend of the world and advances national development and people’s interests.
Dragon TV: According to reports, Shinsuke Yamanaka, Chairman of the Nuclear Regulation Authority of Japan, said at a press conference on April 25 that, regarding the serious damage to the base supporting the reactor pressure vessel of Unit 1 of the Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Station, he’s dissatisfied with TEPCO’s delay in considering emergency measures in such events as the collapse of the pressure vessel. “When the damage to the concrete was discovered last year, TEPCO should have responded”, he said. What’s your comment?
Mao Ning: We have noted relevant reports and will keep monitoring the issue closely. The Fukushima nuclear accident, rated the highest level globally, caused the leakage of large amounts of radioactive substances, which can have an enormous impact on the marine environment and human health. Japan has the obligation to properly handle the decommissioning of the nuclear facilities and the disposal of the nuclear-contaminated water in the wake of the accident to ensure absolute safety.
Judging from the current situation, there are worrying uncertainties and safety hazards with regard to the decommissioning of the nuclear facilities and the management of radioactive waste. It has been found that the base of the reactor pressure vessel of Unit 1 was severely damaged, creating risks that the pressure vessel could collapse. If mishandled or not treated in time, the problem could worsen the environmental impact and add to the amount of radionuclides in the nuclear-contaminated water. This further proves that the international community’s concern over Japan’s ocean discharge plan is well-founded and the questioning of TEPCO’s professionalism in handling relevant issues is fully justified.
We once again urge Japan to take the international community’s concern seriously, step up to its due international obligations, and properly handle issues related to the decommissioning of the Fukushima nuclear power plant. In particular, it needs to make sure that the nuclear-contaminated water is disposed of in a science-based, open, transparent and safe manner, for example, by fully studying other options than ocean discharge, and subjecting itself to stringent international oversight. It should not start dumping the nuclear-contaminated water into the ocean unless all stakeholders and relevant international agencies could confirm that the discharge plan is safe.
Reuters: The EU has singled out 19 tech giants to be subjected to landmark rules on online content. This includes TikTok and Alibaba’s AliExpress. The rules, known as Digital Services Act, require the company to do risk management, conduct external and independent auditing and such. Does the ministry have any comment on this?
Mao Ning: What you mentioned hasn’t come to my attention. Broadly, let me say that we oppose politicizing, weaponizing and instrumentalizing economic and trade cooperation. We hope all sides will provide a fair, transparent, open and non-discriminatory business environment for foreign companies.
AFP: A question on the US and the Philippines. Joint military exercises between the US and the Philippines are ending today in the Philippines. These military drills have the obvious objective to counter China. Do you have any comment on these drills?
Mao Ning: China believes that defense and security cooperation between countries needs to be conductive to regional peace and stability. They should not escalate tensions or undermine trust between countries, still less target any third party.
Reuters: There is a group of Republican Senators who are urging President Biden to impose sanctions on Huawei Cloud and other Chinese cloud service providers. They are citing national security concerns on this. Does the ministry have a comment on this?
Mao Ning: We have stated our position on similar questions many times before. We oppose overstretching the concept of national security and unjustifiably suppressing Chinese companies. To deliberately block the normal trade and economic exchanges between China and the US will find no support and will eventually undermine the interests of US consumers.
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