|Foreign Ministry Spokesperson Mao Ning’s Regular Press Conference on September 9, 2022|
CCTV: President Xi Jinping exchanged congratulatory messages today with the rotating Chairperson of the African Union and Senegalese President Macky Sall on the 20th anniversary of the AU’s founding and the establishment of China-AU diplomatic relations. How does the foreign ministry view this special day and special year?
Mao Ning: As you said, this is a special day. Today is the African Union Day. President Xi Jinping exchanged congratulatory messages today with the rotating Chairperson of the African Union (AU) and Senegalese President Macky Sall on the 20th anniversary of the AU’s founding and the establishment of China-AU diplomatic relations. This is the first time the two sides have done so in the history of China-Africa relations. It demonstrates China and Africa’s long-standing and time-tested friendship, solidarity and cooperation that is growing ever stronger, and firm determination to build a China-Africa community with a shared future in the new era.
This year marks the 20th anniversary of the founding of the AU and the 20th anniversary of the establishment of diplomatic relations between China and the AU. Over the past two decades, the AU has led African countries in seeking strength through unity and pursuing development, revitalization and integration. Africa has shown its strength in fighting COVID-19, upholding multilateralism and safeguarding the common interests of developing countries. China congratulates and commends Africa for what it has achieved. Over the past two decades, China-AU relations have stood the test of changing international circumstances and engaged in fruitful cooperation. Our ties play a guiding role in carrying forward China-Africa friendship, deepening South-South cooperation and building a community with a shared future for mankind. This is truly gratifying and encouraging.
China attaches great importance to developing relations with the AU, and takes the AU as an important partner for promoting China-Africa friendship and cooperation as well as solidarity and cooperation among developing countries. We firmly support the AU in playing a bigger role in African and international affairs. China is ready to work with the AU rotating Chairperson and Senegalese President Macky Sall, Chairperson of the AU Commission Moussa Faki Mahamat and other AU leaders to further strengthen communication and coordination, deepen political mutual trust, expand practical cooperation, and firmly support each other on issues concerning each other’s core interests and major concerns, so as to jointly bring China-AU and China-Africa relations to a higher level.
TASS: British Queen Elizabeth II died Thursday in her summer residence in Scotland at age 96. Do you have any comment about this?
Mao Ning: We deeply mourn the passing of Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II. President Xi Jinping has sent a message of condolences to King Charles III. Premier Li Keqiang has sent a message of condolences to Prime Minister Liz Truss.
Throughout her seven-decade reign, Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II devoted herself to advancing national development and the UK’s friendly exchanges with the rest of the world. She was the first British sovereign to visit China. She received multiple Chinese leaders on their visits to the UK and made important contribution to enhancing our two peoples’ mutual understanding and expanding our two countries’ friendly exchanges. We will continue to work with the British Royal Family and various sectors of the UK to advance our bilateral relations.
Asahi Shimbun: The DPRK has promulgated a new legislation on its nuclear arms. China has always been committed to the denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula. What is China's comment on this latest move of the DPRK?
Mao Ning: We’ve noted this development. China’s position on the Korean Peninsula issue remains unchanged. We will bear in mind the larger interest of upholding peace and stability on the Peninsula and continue to play a positive role in promoting the political settlement of the Peninsula issue.
China News Service: On September 8, Angola’s Constitutional Court dismissed a complaint filed by the opposition and verified the election results released by the National Electoral Commission, according to reports. The People’s Movement for the Liberation of Angola (MPLA), the ruling party, won the election with 51.17% of the votes, and Joao Lourenco was reelected as the President. What is China’s comment?
Mao Ning: We commend the smooth running of the general elections in Angola and express our congratulations to President Lourenco on his reelection. In recent years, China and Angola have strengthened strategic partnership and advanced practical cooperation. China highly values the development of China-Angola relations, and stands ready to continue to work with Angola for more productive friendly cooperation.
The Hindu: India and China’s defense ministries, in a joint statement, have said they’ve begun the process of disengagement in the area of Jianan Daban, which is another step toward resolving the standoff in eastern Ladakh. Can you share details? And also what does this agreement mean for the rest of the disengagement process on the line of actual control?
Mao Ning: According to the consensus reached in the 16th Round of China-India Corps Commander Level Meeting, the Chinese and Indian troops in the area of Jianan Daban began to disengage on September 8. This is the outcome of multiple rounds of talks over a period of time between the two sides’ diplomatic and military establishments at various levels. It is conducive to peace and tranquility in the border areas.
If you would like to know more details, let me refer you to the readout released by China’s Ministry of National Defense after the 16th Round of China-India Corps Commander Level Meeting. As to the early resolution of the remaining issues at the earliest, the two sides had a candid and in-depth exchange of views at the 16th round of meeting. Both sides reiterated that resolving the remaining issues will help restore peace and tranquility along the LAC in the Western Sector and promote the development of bilateral relations.
Xinhua News Agency: The 158th meeting of the Council of Foreign Ministers of the League of Arab States (LAS) on September 6 and 7 adopted a resolution on Arab-China relations which reiterated the Arab states’ support for the one-China principle, their readiness to strengthen cooperation with China in various fields under the Belt and Road Initiative, and their appreciation of China’s diplomatic effort in supporting the Arab cause, advancing the peaceful settlement of regional crisis, and promoting international and regional peace and security. What is your comment?
Mao Ning: China highly appreciates the annual adoption of the resolution on strengthening relations with China by the Council of Foreign Ministers of the League of Arab States (LAS) for years running. This fully demonstrates the firm determination of Arab states to develop relations with China and reflects the profound traditional friendship and solid strategic partnership between China and Arab states.
China and Arab states are future-oriented strategic partners of comprehensive cooperation and common development. We have always firmly supported each other on issues concerning each other’s core interests and major concerns. After US House Speaker Nancy Pelosi made the provocative visit to China’s Taiwan region in August, the LAS Secretariat immediately issued a statement stressing its firm commitment to the one-China principle. Our two sides enjoy fruitful cooperation under the Belt and Road Initiative. China has been the largest trading partner of Arab states for many years. Our practical cooperation in various fields has continued to deepen and become a fine example of South-South cooperation. The two sides have maintained close coordination on hotspot issues in the Middle East and jointly contributed to regional peace and development.
China will continue to firmly support Arab states in addressing regional security issues through solidarity and coordination, and support people in Arab states in independently exploring their development paths. We will continue to strengthen solidarity and cooperation with Arab states, actively conduct Belt and Road cooperation, implement the Global Development Initiative and Global Security Initiative, and jointly build a community with a shared future for China and Arab states in the new era.
Macau Monthly: The third China-Arab Reform and Development Forum was held yesterday. Could you share more information on it?
Mao Ning: Thank you for your interest in this event. Yesterday, China’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs held the third China-Arab Reform and Development Forum in virtual format with the help of the China-Arab Research Center on Reform and Development. Zhai Jun, Special Envoy of the Chinese Government for the Middle East, attended the opening ceremony of the forum. Experts and academics from China and a dozen Arab countries including Egypt, the UAE and Saudi Arabia attended the event. This is the third gathering of the forum. The previous two gatherings were held in 2018 and 2019 respectively. This forum focuses on the Global Development Initiative (GDI). Participants held in-depth exchanges and discussions on building greater synergy between development strategies and jointly advancing the GDI and realizing robust, green and sound development through innovation, and explored ideas for promoting shared development.
Throughout the forum, we could feel that the Arab countries identify with and support the GDI and they have responded warmly to it. Arab experts said at the forum that the GDI could help send the issue of development back to the top of the international agenda. It is in line with Arab countries’ pressing need for development, peace and reform and the shared aspiration of China and Arab countries to deepen cooperation in pursuit of common development. Arab experts welcome the 32 concrete measures China announced at the High-level Dialogue on Global Development, which, they believe, demonstrate China’s sense of responsibility as a major country in implementing the GDI with real actions and promoting post-COVID economic recovery, and will provide fresh impetus for China-Arab development cooperation.
To advance the implementation of the GDI in the Arab world, Arab experts put forward many suggestions. For example, they proposed that China and Arab countries seek greater synergy between development strategies and promote practical cooperation in such fields as scientific and technological innovation, food security, desert control, seawater desalination, climate change, vaccine R&D, digital economy and poverty alleviation. We stand ready to work together with Arab countries to accelerate implementation of the GDI, build consensus and pool strength from both sides, and jointly contribute to forging a China-Arab community with a shared future.
Prasar Bharati: Yesterday’s joint statement mentioned that the disengagement process has started. Once this is completed, will China proceed with India towards complete disengagement, de-escalation and de-induction at the LAC at Ladakh border?
Mao Ning: China has consistently carried out normal activities in the border areas in accordance with the relevant agreements signed between China and India. We have been asking the Indian side to also follow relevant agreements.
Prasar Bharati: Do you think after this particular disengagement, will it be a status quo restoration of April 2020?
Mao Ning: I’d like to state that the status quo of April 2020 you mentioned was created by India’s illegal crossing of the LAC. China will by no means accept that.
Prasar Bharati: As you said, it was illegal trespassing of India. So do you mean to say that China has accepted that illegal trespassing by India and now it’s saying that we should move bilateral relations forward without resolving the border standoff?
Mao Ning: The fact that China and India agreed to begin disengagement in the area of Jianan Daban is a positive development that is conducive to peace and tranquility along the border. China is committed to properly handling relevant issues through communication and dialogue. We don’t accept the so-called status quo created by India’s illegal crossing of the LAC, but that doesn’t mean we don’t attach importance to peace and tranquility along the border. The two sides have all along maintained communication over this through diplomatic and military channels.
Reuters: A question about a report our news agency put out yesterday night. So sources told Reuters that Germany’s economy ministry is considering a series of measures to make business with China less attractive. These measures could include reducing or even scrapping investment and export guarantees for China and no longer promoting trade fairs and manager training in China, our sources told us. Does the foreign ministry have any comment on this report and whether it is concerned about Germany-China economic cooperation?
Mao Ning: I’m not aware of what you mentioned. If what was reported is true, then I have to say the measures to be taken by Germany are simply illogical and make no sense. They would not bring any good to Germany’s own economy or practical cooperation with China. Over the past 50 years, China and Germany have advanced economic and trade cooperation in accordance with the principle of mutual benefit. Bilateral trade and investment continued to grow in the first seven months this year against the odds. Such close economic links came into shape as a result of both the law of the market and the choices of businesses. They also epitomize economic globalization.
What I want to tell you is that no matter how the international landscape may evolve, China will not change its determination to pursue high-level opening-up, share development opportunities with the world, and contribute to an economic globalization that is more open, inclusive, balanced and beneficial for all. I also believe that China will become an even more attractive market for foreign investment. We hope that Germany will adopt a rational and practical policy toward China and support greater two-way opening-up to inject positive energy into the high-level mutually beneficial cooperation between the two countries and help build an open world economy, instead of shooting itself in the foot.
PTI: You said India violated the status quo in April 2020. Can you please tell us how, because India was not having troops of that magnitude in that area at the particular time?
Mao Ning: First of all, this is not the first time China has stated its position on this issue. Secondly, China and India hold different positions on the border issues. But what is most important now is for both sides to keep up communication and dialogue, make the disengagement a first step and ensure peace and tranquility along the border.
PTI: So this particular new agreement between the two countries on disengagement from this particular point. Do you think that this will now restore normalcy between the two countries or at least the two countries can proceed ahead with normalization of relations?
Mao Ning: As I just said, the beginning of disengagement is a positive development. We hope this will help facilitate the sound and steady development of bilateral relations.
Reuters: Just to follow up on my previous question, one of our sources told us that the German government is considering submitting a complaint to the WTO about what it views as unfair Chinese trade practices along with the G7 group. We were wondering if the foreign ministry had a comment on this specific potential measure.
Mao Ning: China always acts in accordance with WTO rules. If Germany lodges the so-called complaint, China will defend its lawful rights and interests under the WTO framework.
In observance of the Mid-Autumn Festival, the MFA regular press conference will be adjourned on September 12 (Monday), and resumed on September 13 (Tuesday). During the recess, you can reach the Spokesperson’s Office by fax, email or WeChat. Happy Mid-Autumn Festival!