China FO presser – Nov 24, 2023
China Foreign Ministry Spokesperson Mao Ning held a press briefing on Nov 24, 2023.
Mao Ning: At the invitation of the President of the United Arab Emirates Sheikh Mohamed bin Zayed Al Nahyan, President Xi Jinping’s Special Representative, Member of the Standing Committee of the Political Bureau of the CPC Central Committee and Vice Premier of the State Council Ding Xuexiang will be in the United Arab Emirates for the World Climate Action Summit from November 30 to December 2.?
At the invitation of Kazakhstan’s First Deputy Prime Minister Roman Sklyar and Turkmenistan’s Deputy Prime Minister and Foreign Minister Rashid Meredov, Member of the Standing Committee of the Political Bureau of the CPC Central Committee and Vice Premier of the State Council Ding Xuexiang will visit Kazakhstan and Turkmenistan and hold the 11th Meeting of the China-Kazakhstan Cooperation Committee and the sixth Meeting of the China-Turkmenistan Cooperation Committee from November 26 to 30.
To further facilitate cross-border travel and China’s high-quality development and high-standard opening up, China has decided to apply unilateral visa-free policy to more countries on a trial basis, which involves extending visa-free treatment to travelers holding ordinary passports from six countries, namely France, Germany, Italy, the Netherlands, Spain and Malaysia. From December 1, 2023 to November 30, 2024, citizens from the above-mentioned countries holding ordinary passports can be exempted from visa to enter China and stay for no more than 15 days for business, tourism, family visit and transit purposes.
CCTV: You just announced that Vice Premier Ding Xuexiang will visit Kazakhstan and Turkmenistan and hold the 11th Meeting of the China-Kazakhstan Cooperation Committee and the sixth Meeting of the China-Turkmenistan Cooperation Committee. Could you share more details and expectations for his visit to the two countries?
Mao Ning: Kazakhstan and Turkmenistan are friendly neighbors and comprehensive strategic partners. At present, under the strategic leadership of President Xi Jinping, President Kassym-Jomart Tokayev and President Serdar Berdimuhamedov, China’s relations with the two countries have grown at a high level. We are actively building a community with a shared future with both countries bilaterally. As major mechanisms for planning, guiding and coordinating bilateral cooperation, the China-Kazakhstan Cooperation Committee and the China-Turkmenistan Cooperation Committee have played a vital role in following through on the common understandings between the heads of state and promoting cooperation in various fields. Both committees are meeting in person for the first time since the pandemic. This is yet another important high-level exchange between China and Central Asian countries since the China-Central-Asia Summit in May and the third Belt and Road Forum for International Cooperation in October this year. We are convinced that the visit will surely deliver on the common understandings between the heads of state and consolidate political mutual trust, deepen all-round cooperation and add new impetus to building a closer community with a shared future between China and Kazakhstan and between China and Turkmenistan.?
Reuters: Australia confirmed today its warship named the Toowoomba transited the Taiwan Strait. Taiwanese officials said its military kept watch throughout but gave no further details. Does China have any comment on the passing of the Australian vessel?
Mao Ning: China’s position is clear and consistent. We urge parties concerned not to make provocations or create trouble for peace and stability in the Taiwan Strait.
CCTV: You just announced that Vice Premier Ding Xuexiang will attend the World Climate Action Summit in the UAE as Chinese President Xi Jinping’s Special Representative. Can you share more details? What is China’s expectation for the Summit?
Mao Ning: The UAE will hold the World Climate Action Summit in Dubai as the chair of the UN COP28 to provide political guidance for COP28. The first-ever global stocktake since the Paris Agreement came into effect will conclude at COP28, which is a key milestone for global climate governance. The UAE President sent invitation letters to President Xi Jinping for the Summit. To actively respond to climate change and to cement our traditional friendship with the UAE, Vice Premier Ding Xuexiang will attend the Summit as President Xi Jinping’s Special Representative. China will seek efforts from various parties to uphold the institution, principles and objective of the UNFCCC system, especially the principle of common but differentiated responsibilities and the theme of “Unite. Act. Deliver.” so as to earnestly resolve the difficulties and issues facing developing countries and promote the full and effective implementation of the Paris Agreement.
During the Summit, G77 will also hold the G77+China Summit and invite leaders of developing countries to attend.
Reuters: Thailand expects just 3.4 to 3.5 million visitors from China this year, below its target and the 11 million Chinese visitors in pre-pandemic 2019, despite the country rolling out a visa-free program to attract Chinese tourists. Why does China think its citizens now seem less interested in traveling to Thailand?
Mao Ning: China always supports and encourages more cooperation on tourism with Thailand. We look forward to more tourists visiting each other’s countries.?
Global Times: According to reports, on November 22 local time, ROK President Yoon Suk Yeol and UK Prime Minister Rishi Sunak signed The Downing Street Accord, in which the two sides state that “We emphasise that our basic positions on Taiwan remain unchanged. Peace and stability across the Taiwan Strait is an indispensable element in the security and prosperity of the international community. Given the serious nature of the situation in the East and South China Seas, we strongly oppose any unilateral attempts to change the status quo in the region. We reiterate our firm commitment to freedom of navigation and overflight. What’s your response?
Mao Ning: I would like to stress that Taiwan is an inalienable part of China’s territory. The Taiwan question is purely China’s internal affair and brooks no interference by any external forces. As for issues related to the South and East China Seas, neither the ROK nor the UK is a party concerned, and there has never been any problem with regard to the “freedom of navigation and overflight”. China urges relevant parties to stop making irresponsible comment on issues bearing on China’s core and major concerns and be very prudent about what they say or do.
France 24: The French foreign ministry reiterated its condemnation of North Korea sending weapons to Russia in the context of the war in Ukraine. What are China’s views on this and will Foreign Minister Wang Yi express them to Catherine Colonna later today?
Mao Ning: The cooperation between Russia and the DPRK is a matter between those two sovereign states. I’m not aware of the specifics. On the Ukraine crisis, China’s position is clear and consistent.?
As for the talks between Foreign Minister Wang Yi and Foreign Minister Colonna, we will release information in due course. Please check back for updates.
Reuters: Could you confirm that the terms of the debt restructuring deal struck between China Exim bank and Sri Lanka last month have been sent to the IMF?
Mao Ning: To my knowledge, as an official creditor, the Export-Import Bank of China tentatively agreed with Sri Lanka on the debt treatment. China will continue to support Chinese financial institutions in actively consulting with Sri Lanka and maintaining friendly communication with other creditors and jointly play a positive role in helping Sri Lanka navigate the situation, ease its debt burden and achieve sustainable development.
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