|Foreign Ministry Spokesperson Mao Ning’s Regular Press Conference on March 31, 2023|
At the invitation of State Councilor and Foreign Minister Qin Gang, Japan’s Minister for Foreign Affairs Yoshimasa Hayashi will visit China from April 1 to 2.
CCTV: The US hosted the second “Summit for Democracy” from March 29 to 30. Comments say that the Summit looks more like a show aimed to divide the world. Do you have any comment?
Mao Ning: The US is hosting the second “Summit for Democracy” basically to draw lines between countries in the world according to US criteria and interfere in their affairs based on US interests. The summit is designed to patch up small groupings in the name of democracy, tout the false narrative of “democracy versus autocracy”, impose hierarchy on the international community and create division in the world. This is done at the service of group politics and the US strategy of maintaining its primacy. To hold such a summit is in itself seriously undemocratic and against the global trend of moving towards greater democracy in international relations. It gravely violates the purposes and principles of the UN Charter and hampers international solidarity in dealing with common challenges. The summit reflects how arrogant, intolerant, selfish and domineering the US has always been, and how it contravenes and tramples on democracy as part of the common values of humanity.
This summit has actually helped the world see the US hypocrisy and double standard on democracy and the harm it brings. Everything on the summit agenda are just test questions designed by the US for others participating in the summit to answer and deliver as commitments. The US then grades their answers. This whole process is neither democratic nor inclusive or transparent. The Presidential Initiative for Democratic Renewal proposed by the US is not so much about the renewal for world democracies, but the renewal of US hegemony. The declaration of the summit, which was pushed by the US to get some countries on board with certain “code of conduct” and “principles”, is about realizing selfish purposes, expanding the coverage of the rules set by the US and a few others, and stoke division and confrontation in the world. This is extremely harmful and dangerous.
As global issues and challenges keep emerging, what our world needs today is not to stoke division in the name of democracy and pursue supremacy-oriented unilateralism, but to strengthen solidarity and cooperation and uphold true multilateralism on the basis of the purposes and principles of the UN Charter. What our world needs today is not to interfere in other countries’ internal affairs under the guise of democracy, but to advocate genuine democracy, reject pseudo-democracy and promote greater democracy in international relations. What our world needs today is not a “Summit for Democracy” that hypes up confrontation, but solidarity and cooperation that focuses on taking real actions to solve global challenges.
Reuters: The Japanese government said on Friday that it plans to restrict exports of 23 types of semiconductor manufacturing equipment. Although relevant document did not specify China or any country, analysts say that Japan is aligning its technology trade controls with a US push to curb China’s ability to make advanced chips. What is your comment?
Mao Ning: The global semiconductor industrial and supply chains are shaped by the laws of market dynamics and the choices of businesses. To politicize, instrumentalize and weaponize trade and tech issues and destabilize the global industrial and supply chains will benefit no one and will eventually backfire.
CNR: You just announced the visit to China by Japanese Foreign Minister Yoshimasa Hayashi. Can you share with us the background and arrangements of the visit?
Mao Ning: China and Japan are each other’s important neighbors. A healthy and stable bilateral relationship serves the common interests of both countries and the region. China attaches importance to the visit by Foreign Minister Yoshimasa Hayashi. Chinese leaders will meet with him and State Councilor and Foreign Minister Qin Gang will hold talks with him, during which they will have in-depth exchanges of views on the bilateral relations and international and regional issues of shared interest.
China stands ready to work with Japan to follow the strategic guidance of the important common understandings between the leaders of the two countries, and take the 45th anniversary of the signing of the China-Japan Treaty of Peace and Friendship as an opportunity to enhance dialogue and communication, deepen practical cooperation and manage and control differences, and together work to build a stable and constructive China-Japan relationship fit for the new era.
Reuters: Australia’s Foreign Minister said on Friday that she was concerned about delays in the case of Australian journalist Cheng Lei who faced a trial a year ago and was still waiting to learn the outcome. What’s your response?
Mao Ning: China’s position on the case is consistent and clear. The Chinese judicial authorities try cases in accordance with the law and fully protect the lawful rights and interests of the individuals concerned.
China News Service: According to reports, China made a joint statement on the 30th anniversary of the adoption of the Vienna Declaration and Programme of Action on behalf of a number of countries at the 52nd session of the UN Human Rights Council. Could you offer more information?
Mao Ning: China delivered a joint statement on behalf of nearly 80 countries at the 52nd session of the UN Human Rights Council earlier this week. The statement points out that 30 years since the adoption of the Vienna Declaration and Programme of Action, the world has worked hard to explore effective ways to promote and protect human rights, while dealing with multiple challenges such as worsening discrimination and inequality, political polarization and division. The joint statement put forward three proposals for more effective implementation of the Vienna Declaration and Programme of Action: First, equal emphasis on and balanced promotion of economic, social and cultural rights, civil and political rights, and the right to development. Second, uphold a people-centered philosophy, tackle inequality, and strive for high-quality, inclusive and equitable development. Third, engage in exchange and cooperation in the field of human rights on the basis of equality, solidarity and mutual respect.
The Vienna Declaration and Programme of Action affirms the equality of all human rights, reiterates that the right to development is an inalienable right, and calls for stronger international cooperation. In a world fraught with various global issues, the international human rights cause is confronted with severe challenges. China stands ready to join hands with all sides to uphold humanity’s common values of peace, development, equity, justice, democracy and freedom, strengthen solidarity and cooperation, reject division and confrontation, jointly act on the Global Development Initiative, the Global Security Initiative and the Global Civilization Initiative, contribute to progress in the global human rights cause, and promote the building of a community with a shared future for mankind.
AFP: Taiwan leader Tsai Ing-wen said yesterday that ties between Taiwan and the US are closer than ever. Taiwan will work together with its democratic partners, she added. What’s your response?
Mao Ning: We have repeatedly made clear our position on Tsai Ing-wen’s trip to the US. We strongly oppose any form of official interaction between the US and Taiwan, strongly oppose any US visit by the leader of the Taiwan authorities regardless of the rationale or pretext, and strongly oppose all forms of US contact with the Taiwan authorities, which violates the one-China principle. What has happened proves that this trip by the leader of the Taiwan authorities is not so much a “transit”, but an attempt to seek breakthroughs and propagate “Taiwan independence”. Let me stress that no matter what the Taiwan authorities say or do, it won’t change the fact that Taiwan is part of China. No one and no force can hold back China’s reunification.
CGTN: After Honduras established diplomatic relations with China, Guatemala is now the only country left in Central America without formal ties with China. Tsai Ing-wen is on her way to Guatemala. What’s your comment on that? We’ve also learned that Guatemala is sending a senior diplomat to China soon. Can you confirm that?
Mao Ning: Honduras’ establishment of diplomatic ties with China brings the total number of countries having diplomatic ties with China to 182, which shows that the one-China principle is a universally recognized principle and represents the people’s aspiration and the trend of the world, and no force can block that trend. The separatist pursuit of “Taiwan independence” is against the will and interests of the Chinese nation and against the trend of history. It will not lead anywhere.
We hope Guatemala will see the trend of the world and make the right choice as early as possible.
Reuters: The UK is about to join the CPTPP, a trade deal of 11 Asia-Pacific countries, like Australia, Canada and Japan. China and the Taiwan region have both applied for its membership. With the UK government currently describing China as a challenge, would China be concerned that the UK’s accession to the CPTPP would help Taiwan’s accession?
Mao Ning: China is a staunch advocate for trade liberalization and facilitation and an important participant in regional cooperation and economic integration in the Asia-Pacific. The CPTPP is an important free trade agreement in the region. In September 2021, China officially applied to join the CPTPP. We are in contact, communication and consultation with all CPTPP members. Joining the CPTPP will help us further deepen reform in China and open up wider to the world. It will also give CPTPP members more access to the Chinese market and expand their economic and trade cooperation with China.
As to the Taiwan region’s accession to the CPTPP, our position is very clear. There is only one China in the world, and the Taiwan region is an inalienable part of China. The one-China principle is a universally recognized norm in international relations and a prevailing consensus among the international community. We firmly oppose any official interaction between countries and the Taiwan region and firmly oppose the Taiwan region’s accession to any agreement or organization of official nature.
Global Times: WHO held a Member State Information Session on COVID-19 and other issues on March 30, during which Director-General Dr. Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus said that “We continue to call on China and all countries to be transparent in sharing data.” In the meanwhile, the Chair of the Scientific Advisory Group for the Origins on Novel Pathogens (SAGO) said that there have been no new findings regarding potential breaches related to laboratory and that WHO-requested reports and underlying data from the United States governmental agencies are not yet granted. Do you have any comment?
Mao Ning: China’s position on the origins-tracing of SARS-CoV-2 is consistent. China has supported and participated in global science-based COVID origins-tracing since day one, and has been firmly opposed to all forms of political manipulation.
Since COVID-19 hit, the Chinese side has twice received WHO experts for origins-tracing cooperation, which produced a scientific and authoritative joint report and laid a solid foundation for global origins-tracing. After the WHO established the Scientific Advisory Group for the Origins on Novel Pathogens (SAGO), China recommended experts to join the group and organized events for Chinese experts to share research findings with the WHO Secretariat and SAGO. Recently Chinese scientists have shared more data of the early samples of the disease with the rest of the world. China has shared more data and research findings than any other country and made the most contribution to the origins study.
COVID origins-tracing is the common responsibility of the international community. Clues from different parts of the world deserve equal attention. Doubts have been raised and followed extensively by the international community regarding the accident in and shutdown of the US bio-lab at Fort Detrick, the outbreak of a cluster of pneumonia cases with an unknown cause in many places in the US in 2019, and the possibility that the first COVID case in the US preceded the officially announced date based on many reports. The US, however, has been pointing fingers at WHO’s origins-tracing process, politically punishing scientists with conscience and attacking countries with lies that make no scientific sense. The US has taken no responsible step for origins-tracing. It has never invited WHO expert groups for joint study in the US or shared any early data. It has ignored the world’s concerns about its bio-military bases at Fort Detrick and around the world. And it has not yet responded to the WHO request for data sharing.
We hope WHO will keep its position science-based, objective and impartial, not let politicization get in the way, and carry out origins-tracing in the US, among other countries, and play a positive role in global science-based origins-tracing. We once again urge the US side to immediately stop political manipulation on this issue, respond to the world’s legitimate concerns soon, voluntarily share the data of suspected early cases in the US with the WHO, disclose information about its bio-labs at Fort Detrick and around the world, and give people of the world the truth they deserve.
Xinhua News Agency: Premier Li Qiang delivered a keynote address at the opening ceremony of the Boao Forum for Asia Annual Conference 2023 held yesterday. Many guests have said that the speech sends a positive signal regarding the Chinese economy and boosts foreign companies’ confidence in the Chinese market. Do you have any comment?
Mao Ning: Premier Li Qiang’s keynote speech at yesterday’s opening ceremony of the Boao Forum for Asia Annual Conference 2023 has received strong interest. On the sidelines of the annual conference, Premier Li Qiang met with members of the Board of Directors of the Boao Forum for Asia and had a conversation with Chinese and foreign entrepreneurs. Premier Li repeatedly mentioned the word “certainty” at those events.
Premier Li stressed that the vision of building a community with a shared future for humanity provides strength of certainty for sustained world peace and common prosperity and that the certainty China provides is a mainstay of global peace and development. As China makes steady progress along its path to modernization, it will add certainty to the world economy. He called on all sides to safeguard a peaceful and stable development environment to inject more certainty into the international landscape of changes and turbulence; to foster more dynamic growth centers to inject more certainty into the world economic recovery; to expand effective means of enhancing solidarity and cooperation to inject more certainty into global governance which is undergoing profound reform; and to deepen people-to-people and cultural exchange to inject more certainty into the interaction and harmonious co-existence of different civilizations.
Premier Li pointed out that the sound fundamentals sustaining China’s economic growth remain unchanged, China’s commitment to advancing reform and opening-up remains unchanged, and China’s strength in its enormous market and full industrial system remains unchanged. China will keep its macro policies stable, integrate with high-standard international economic and trade rules, and foster a first-class market-oriented, law-based and internationalized business environment. I would like to mention in particular that recently China had adopted preferential policies on taxes and fees, which will benefit market entities and boost high-quality economic growth.
We are convinced that a confident and open China that enjoys long-term stability, focuses on development, forges ahead with solid steps, and is ready to share will surely be a force for prosperity and stability in the world.
Kyodo News: I have questions about the Japanese citizen arrested in Beijing. Has consular access been provided to the Japanese side? If not, are there any special reasons or difficulties? Is he under criminal detention or residential surveillance? Did he admit or deny the crimes alleged by national security authorities?
Mao Ning: We have provided information about this case. I would like to stress that China is a country under the rule of law. The case concerned will be handled in accordance with the law and the lawful rights and interests of the people concerned will be protected accordingly. We will accord facilities for the consular officials of the Japanese embassy and consulates to perform their consular duties in accordance with the provisions of relevant international conventions and the China-Japan Consular Agreement, and make timely arrangement for consular access.