|Foreign Ministry Spokesperson Mao Ning’s Regular Press Conference on March 30, 2023|
Reuters: The Honduran foreign ministry tweeted at its official account yesterday that President Xiomara Castro will visit China soon. Can you share more information on this?
Mao Ning: We welcome President Xiomara Castro to visit China at an early date to blueprint the future of bilateral relations with President Xi Jinping. China stands ready to step up high-level exchange with the Honduran side, enhance political mutual trust and mutual understanding, and advance exchange and cooperation in various fields in the spirit of equality and win-win cooperation.
Xinhua News Agency: Today we released a report entitled “US Human Rights Abuse Against Refugees and Immigrants: Truth and Facts”. This came after yesterday’s “The United States’ Arbitrary Detention at Home and Abroad: Truth and Facts”. What’s your comment?
Mao Ning: I have also seen this latest Xinhua report. It reveals the US’ poor track record and its lies and double standards regarding its past and present treatment of refugees and immigrants at home and abroad.
The US is known to be a nation of immigrants. None of the country’s political, economic, social, cultural and technological advances would have been possible without the enormous contribution of immigrants. However, throughout the country’s history, many immigrant communities were treated cruelly by the US government. Recent years have even witnessed humanitarian disasters on refugees and immigrants in the US. The US is the primary cause of the global refugee crisis as it interferes in the domestic affairs of other countries and launches wars across the world.
The US needs to seriously reflect on its terrible record on the issue of refugees and immigrants and correct its course, and make real efforts to improve the situations of refugees and immigrants. It should stop all hegemonic and bullying practices and avoid creating new refugee crises in the world.
AFP: A report released by a Norwegian NGO yesterday showed that the number of operational nuclear warheads globally increased last year. It also mentioned that China is among the countries with a bigger nuclear arsenal, which is expected to see a sharp increase over the next decade. What’s your comment?
Mao Ning: I haven’t seen the report you mentioned. As a principle, China follows a policy of “no first use” of nuclear weapons. We advocate for the complete prohibition and thorough destruction of nuclear weapons and actively engage in talks and communications over arms control. The US, with the most powerful nuclear arsenal in the world, should take the lead in fulfilling its nuclear disarmament obligations.
Reuters: US Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen said on Wednesday that the US is working hard to counter China’s influence in international institutions and in lending to developing countries, and that by lending to developing countries, China leaves them trapped in debt. What is your response?
Mao Ning: We reject the unjustified accusation from the US. China has always carried out investment and financing cooperation with developing countries based on international rules and the principle of openness and transparency. We never attach any political strings, or seek any selfish political interests. We have been helping developing countries relieve debt burdens, and made the biggest contribution to implementing the G20 Debt Service Suspension Initiative.
World Bank statistics show that multilateral financial institutions and commercial creditors, accounting for more than 80% of the sovereign debt of developing countries, are the biggest source of stress on developing countries in terms of debt payment. Since last year, the US has resorted to unprecedented massive interest rate hikes, making the debt problems of certain countries even worse. The US needs to take concrete steps to help developing countries, rather than point fingers at others.
Reuters: Saudi Arabia officially joined the Shanghai Cooperation Organization yesterday. Do you have more on that?
Mao Ning: We congratulate Saudi Arabia on becoming a dialogue partner of the Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO). China stands ready to strengthen cooperation with Saudi Arabia within the SCO to contribute more to safeguarding regional peace and stability and promoting common development.
AFP: The Brazilian government said on Wednesday that Brazil and China have reached a deal to trade in their own currencies, ditching the US dollar as an intermediary. Do you have more details on this?
Mao Ning: Earlier this year, China and Brazil signed a memorandum of cooperation to establish renminbi (RMB) clearing arrangements in Brazil. These arrangements will help enterprises and financial institutions in both countries conduct cross-border transactions using the RMB. They will also further facilitate bilateral trade and investment. Regarding the specifics you asked about, I will need to refer you to the competent authorities.
Dragon TV: It was reported that BRICS’ New Development Bank (NDB) announced on March 24 that NDB’s Board of Governors unanimously elected Mrs. Dilma Vana Rousseff, former President of Brazil, as the President of the Bank to a term of two years, effective immediately. Mrs. Rousseff arrived in Shanghai where the Bank is headquartered on March 27. Do you have any comment?
Mao Ning: The New Development Bank (NDB) is one of the signature outcomes of BRICS cooperation. Over the past seven plus years since its establishment, the NDB has approved over $34 billion in loans to 99 projects, providing strong support for infrastructure construction and sustainable development in emerging markets and developing countries. Aside from the founding members, Bangladesh, the UAE, Egypt and Uruguay have joined or will join the NDB family, which fully speaks to the vitality and global influence of BRICS.
Mrs. Dilma Vana Rousseff, a renowned stateswoman and economist devoted to global development over the years, enjoys high prestige and significant influence in the world. Her nomination by the Brazilian government as the President of the NDB underscores the importance the Brazilian government sees in the NDB and BRICS, which China appreciates. China, as the host country, welcomes the assumption of office by Mrs. Rousseff. We will continue to deepen all-round cooperation with the NDB and fully support her work. We believe that under her wise and professional leadership, and with the concerted efforts of all member states, the NDB will realize greater achievements and development, and make greater contribution to the development and prosperity of emerging economies and developing countries, including BRICS countries.
Reuters: Taiwan leader Tsai Ing-wen has met with the Taiwanese diaspora and delivered remarks while transiting through the US. What’s your comment?
Mao Ning: China firmly opposes any form of official interaction between the US and the Taiwan region. We firmly oppose any visit by leader of the Taiwan region to the US in any name or under whatever pretext, and we firmly oppose the US government having any form of official contact with the Taiwan region. In disregard of China’s strong démarches and repeated warnings, the US insisted on arranging the so-called “transit” for Tsai Ing-wen to go to the US. China strongly protests and condemns that.
The US and the Taiwan authorities made arrangements for Tsai to engage in political activities in the US and framed it as a “transit” to upgrade official exchanges and substantive relations with the Taiwan region. This seriously violates the one-China principle and the three China-US joint communiqués, gravely undermines China’s sovereignty and territorial integrity and sends a seriously wrong message to “Taiwan independence” separatists. This once again shows that the fundamental cause of the new round of tensions in the Taiwan Strait is the Taiwan authorities’ repeated attempt to solicit US support for “Taiwan independence” and the fact that some in the US intend to use Taiwan to contain China.
The Taiwan question is the very core of China’s core interests, the bedrock of the political foundation of China-US relations, and the first red line that must not be crossed in the relationship. We urge the US to abide by the one-China principle and the three China-US joint communiqués, act on its commitment of not supporting “Taiwan independence” or “two Chinas” or “one China, one Taiwan”, stop all forms of official interaction with Taiwan, stop upgrading its substantive exchanges with the region, and stop fudging and hollowing out the one-China principle. China will continue to closely follow the situation and resolutely safeguard our sovereignty and territorial integrity.
AFP: According to Japanese media, Japan’s Foreign Minister Yoshimasa Hayashi will visit China this weekend. Can China confirm this?
Mao Ning: The two sides are in communication over the visit by Japanese Foreign Minister Yoshimasa Hayashi to China. We will keep you updated if there is more to share.