China FO Presser

Chinese FO Presser, Feb 9, 2023

6 Min
<strong>Chinese FO Presser, Feb 9, 2023</strong>

China Foreign Ministry spokesperson, Mao Ning held a regular press conference on Feb 9, 2023

Some Excerpts

CCTV: According to reports, the IMF noted in a recently published article that “the Chinese economy is now expected to contribute a quarter of global growth this year” and “that’s good news for China and the world”. What’s your comment??

Mao Ning: This is certainly good news, which again shows the international community’s confidence in the prospects of China’s economic growth.

Despite growing risks in the world economy and surging undercurrents of protectionism, China has been committed to opening-up and has opened its door even wider to the world. Last year, China’s foreign trade hit a new record and China has been the world’s largest trader in goods for six years running. China is also actively engaged in multilateral cooperation. Since China put forward the Belt and Road Initiative (BRI) a decade ago, China has signed Belt and Road cooperation documents with 151 countries. Over the past year since the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP) came into force, China’s total import and export volume with other RCEP members reached 12.95 trillion yuan, up by 7.5 percent year-on-year. China’s import and export with eight RCEP members registered double-digit growth, adding a strong boost to the regional economy.

Some Western developed countries, however, have been building “small yards with high fences” and advocating decoupling and disruption of industrial and supply chains. They imposed additional tariffs to “rectify trade deficits”, restricted foreign investment to “defend national security”, and put in place technological blockade to “protect intellectual property”. In a highly interdependent world, protectionist moves will boomerang, and practices of decoupling and supply disruption are neither feasible nor sustainable. China will stay on the course of high-level opening-up and work with the rest of the world to help each other succeed and usher in a better future.

Global Times: According to reports, the strong earthquakes in Türkiye and Syria have killed up to ten thousand people. Can you update us on China’s participation in the search and rescue efforts? Any latest updates on Chinese casualties? How to keep Chinese nationals safe in the affected areas?

Mao Ning: Over the past couple of days, we have shared China’s efforts to help Türkiye and Syria. We have learned that the China rescue team has arrived in Türkiye and immediately rushed to the city of Antakya in the worst-hit Hatay province. In the early hours today local time, they rescued a pregnant woman trapped under the debris together with Turkish rescuers. Last night, the Hong Kong SAR government also sent a 59-member search and rescue team to Türkiye to assist in local rescue efforts. This morning, a plane took off from Beijing and headed to Syria, carrying the first batch of medical supplies enough to cover the needs of 5,000 people and a rescue team from the Red Cross Society of China. Apart from the cash assistance and material aid that have been announced, the Chinese side is also speeding up the delivery of ongoing food aid programs for Syria, including 220 tonnes of wheat already on its way and more than 3,000 tonnes of rice and wheat to be shipped in two batches shortly.

The safety of our overseas compatriots have been in our thoughts since the earthquakes happened. The Centre for Consular Assistance and Protection of China’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs immediately activated the emergency response mechanism. Chinese embassies in Türkiye and Syria contacted local governments at the earliest opportunity for more information and have kept in close touch with local Chinese communities, institutions and students, providing timely help to our compatriots in difficulty. The MFA Global Emergency Call Center for Consular Protection and Services is operating around the clock to receive calls from Chinese citizens asking for help. As of today, thanks to the concerted efforts of all parties, three Chinese citizens have been rescued and they are in good conditions. We have not received further reports of Chinese casualties. We will continue to follow closely the situation and make vigorous efforts to provide consular protection and assistance to Chinese citizens and institutions in the affected areas.

The Chinese government stands ready to continue helping Türkiye and Syria to save lives, provide shelter and recover from the disaster in light of the situation on the ground and their actual needs.

Bloomberg: The G7 member states are said to be discussing whether to sanction companies in China for what they believe to be providing Russia with parts and technology that have military purposes. This is according to people familiar with the matter. That plan also may include moves against Iranian and North Korean companies. What’s the foreign ministry’s response to the G7 members planning to sanction Chinese companies in relation to their activities with Russia?

Mao Ning: China’s position on the Ukraine issue is consistent and clear. We have upheld the four principles and called for joint efforts in four areas as was proposed by President Xi Jinping, taken an objective and just position, made active efforts to promote peace talks, and played a constructive role in alleviating tensions. We always oppose unilateral sanctions and long-arm jurisdiction with neither basis in international law nor a mandate of the UN Security Council. China will take all necessary measures to firmly safeguard the legitimate and lawful rights and interests of Chinese companies.

MASTV: It’s been reported that Namibia recently found in its waters a US saildrone used to gather data under water. Despite the US claim that it is a private drone contracted for marine research purposes, Namibian media generally believe it is an American spy drone. According to the latest data released by the South China Sea Strategic Situation Probing Initiative, a think tank, in January this year, 64 sorties of US military land-based reconnaissance aircraft were spotted over the South China Sea. What’s your comment?

Mao Ning: The US is the number one country in surveillance and reconnaissance. It has long-running intelligence programs across the globe. US aircraft and warships frequently conduct close-in reconnaissance around China, which seriously threatens China’s national security and undermines regional peace and stability. The Chinese side has repeatedly voiced our grave concerns. The US needs to put an immediate end to such provocations.

AFP: The White House said yesterday that the Chinese balloon shot down last week was part of a fleet that have spanned five continents. Japan says it’s coordinating with the US to analyze balloon-like objects spotted over Japan in 2020 and 2021. So my question is, does the foreign ministry have any new information to add on the balloon issue today? As you’ve described, the two balloons spotted over the US and Latin America are weather balloons. Could you provide any details about the equipment on board and the entities that own the balloons?

Mao Ning: On the airship, the Chinese side has repeatedly shared its information. The unintended, unexpected entry of the unmanned Chinese civilian airship into US airspace is entirely caused by force majeure. The Chinese side has made that clear in its communication with the US side time and again, yet the US overreacted by using force. China firmly opposes and deplores this.?I am not aware of any “fleet of balloons”. That narrative is probably part of the information and public opinion warfare the US has waged on China. As to who is the world’s number one country of spying, eavesdropping and surveillance, that is plainly visible to the international community.?

Japan should adopt an objective and fair position on the airship incident instead of dramatizing it like the US.

As to your last question, I have nothing to offer.

RIA Novosti: NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg said on Wednesday during his visit to the US that what happens in Europe regarding the Ukraine conflict today could influence China’s actions in Asia and the Indo-Pacific region later. He also said that China is increasing its intelligence gathering activity in Europe. What’s China’s comment?

Mao Ning: NATO has kept reaching beyond its traditional defense area and domain and asking its members to increase military spending and expand military build-up, yet it is now making accusations and criticisms against China. This is textbook double-standard.?China is committed to the path of peaceful development and has a better track record than any other major country in upholding peace and security. We have never invaded any country. We have never started any proxy war. We have never engaged in global military operations or threatened other countries with force. What NATO should do is abandon the Cold-War mentality and ideological prejudice and reflect on itself what kind of role it has played in European and global stability, rather than stoke tension around the globe and hype up the “China threat” narrative.

AFP: Australia’s Defense Minister said today that the country will remove Chinese-made security cameras from some government buildings. This is to ensure that these buildings are completely secure. This will mainly affect cameras made by Chinese companies Hikvision and Dahua. Does the foreign ministry have any response to this?

Mao Ning: The Chinese government always encourages Chinese companies to engage in international investment and cooperation in accordance with market principles, international rules and local laws. We oppose erroneous practices of over-stretching the concept of national security and abusing state power to discriminate against and suppress Chinese companies. We hope the Australian side will provide a fair, just and non-discriminatory environment for the normal operation of Chinese companies and do more things that could contribute to mutual trust and cooperation between our two countries.

Bloomberg: Can you confirm reports that the Xinjiang Governor Erkin Tuniyaz will visit the UK and Brussels later this month? That’s according to reports in the UK newspaper The Guardian. Can you confirm the visit?

Mao Ning: I’m not aware of what you mentioned.

AFP: Can you confirm reports of the first shipment of Australian coal in more than two years has arrived in China? What is the significance of this for the relationship between the two countries?

Mao Ning: I refer you to the competent Chinese authorities.

Reuters: Media reports said China has discussed allowing Australian lobster back to the market and plans for trade to resume next month. Can you confirm this?