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Foreign Ministry Spokesperson Mao Ning’s Regular Press Conference on December 19, 2022

2022-12-19 18:11

At the invitation of Member of the Political Bureau of the CPC Central Committee, State Councilor and Foreign Minister Wang Yi, Australian Minister for Foreign Affairs Penny Wong will pay a visit to China on December 20 and 21.

China Daily: Could you share more on Australian Foreign Minister Penny Wong’s upcoming visit scheduled on December 20 and 21?

Mao Ning: December 21 will mark the 50th anniversary of the establishment of diplomatic ties between China and Australia. During Foreign Minister Penny Wong’s visit, State Councilor and Foreign Minister Wang Yi will hold talks and a new round of China-Australia Diplomatic and Strategic Dialogue with her. We hope that Foreign Minister Penny Wong’s visit will help both sides to further follow up on the important common understandings reached between our leaders at their meeting in Bali, take the 50th anniversary as an opportunity to reaffirm our commitment to the principle of mutual respect, mutual benefit and seeking common ground while shelving differences, step up dialogue, expand cooperation, manage differences and bring the bilateral relationship back on the right track and realize its sustainable development.

CCTV: The Ninth Review Conference of the Biological Weapons Convention (BWC) concluded in Geneva on December 16. What are the outcomes of this Conference? What is its significance under the current circumstances? What efforts has China made to this end?

Mao Ning: On December 16, the Ninth Review Conference of the Biological Weapons Convention (BWC) concluded in Geneva. The Conference comprehensively reviewed the global biosecurity situation and the implementation of the BWC and adopted the Final Document of the Ninth Review Conference, in which the Conference decided to establish a working group and further strengthen the effectiveness and full compliance of the BWC through ways such as formulating legally-binding measures. The Ninth Review Conference and its outcomes mark important progress in global biosecurity governance, and serve the common interests of the international community. China welcomes this.

Biosecurity knows no borders. As President Xi Jinping stressed when presenting the Global Security Initiative, we should stay committed to maintaining security in both traditional and non-traditional domains, and work together on global challenges including biosecurity. This conference saw China’s in-depth participation and utmost effort to facilitate the adoption of the final outcome document of the Ninth Review Conference. China proposed establishing a verification mechanism to ensure BWC compliance, promoting the peaceful use of bio-tech, and making bio-tech more inclusive. These proposals reflect the common will shared broadly by States Parties, especially developing countries. The Tianjin Biosecurity Guidelines for Codes of Conduct for Scientists put forward by China received wide support.

China is ready to work with the international community to take the Ninth Review Conference as a new starting point, further advance global biosecurity governance, and make greater contributions to realizing universal security and common development.

Reuters: First question is, Australian Prime Minister Albanese said Foreign Minister Penny Wong will travel to Beijing on Tuesday at the invitation of the People’s Republic of China. Could you provide a comment on this and more information about this? And the second question is, will the Australian officials have in-person access to Cheng Lei and Yang Jun now that the COVID curbs have eased and will the verdicts on their cases be expected soon?

Mao Ning: I have shared China’s expectations and relevant arrangements for the visit by Foreign Minister Penny Wong. There will be more details in due course. 

With regard to the cases you mentioned, I would like to stress that China is under the rule of law. China’s judicial authorities have handled the cases in accordance with law and the lawful rights of relevant individuals are under full protection.

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