|Foreign Ministry Spokesperson Mao Ning’s Regular Press Conference on April 28, 2023|
At the invitation of State Councilor and Foreign Minister Qin Gang, Mongolian Foreign Minister Battsetseg Batmunkh will visit China on May 1 and 2.
The Paper: We noted that at the House Appropriations Committee hearing on April 27, FBI Director Christopher Wray said that China has “got a bigger hacking program than every other major nation combined and have stolen more of our personal and corporate data than all other nations.” He added that a key part of the Chinese government’s strategy is to surpass the US as the global cyber superpower. Do you have any comment?
Mao Ning: Speaking of cyber theft, I guess no one will ever surpass the US. I just saw reports in German media that the US intelligence eavesdropped on a working dialogue between the Chinese and German defense ministries in Berlin in February this year. But of course, this is nothing new. The US has long used its tech advantage to conduct massive surveillance and secret theft and cyber theft against its allies and the rest of the world, which has long been an open secret. Perhaps the US should take a hard look in the mirror before it points its fingers at another country.
CCTV: Tomorrow will mark the 26th anniversary of the entry into force of the Chemical Weapons Convention (CWC). The destruction of chemical weapons abandoned by Japan in China is an important task under the framework of the Convention. Could you update us on the latest progress? What action does China call for from Japan?
Mao Ning: Japan’s abandoned chemical weapons (ACWs) in China is a major issue in bilateral relations left over from history. Their destruction is also an important part of CWC compliance. China has consistently urged Japan to completely and thoroughly destroy the ACWs at an early date in accordance with the CWC and the MOU between the two governments. Since the Japanese side had failed to complete the destruction as planned, the 101st Session of the Executive Council of the OPCW considered and adopted the national paper jointly submitted by China and Japan on the destruction plan beyond 2022. As the plan states, Japan needs to complete the destruction of ACWs buried at Haerbaling and other places by the end of 2027. The plan also offers pathways to key thorny issues such as increasing the efficiency of work at large burial sites and providing effective clues and information.
To remove the hazardous ACWs is Japan’s unshirkable historical, political and legal responsibility. As the new destruction plan begins to be implemented this year, the process will be fully rolled out and accelerated. We urge the Japanese side to take seriously the concerns of China and the international community, fully and faithfully implement the new plan in its entirety, increase input on all fronts, make every effort to accelerate the disposal process, earnestly fulfill its responsibility and play its due part in realizing a world free of chemical weapons.
Reuters: According to Bloomberg news, Germany is thinking of limiting the export of chemicals to China that are used to manufacture semiconductors. What’s your comment on this?
Mao Ning: I have noted relevant reports. Economic and trade cooperation is mutually beneficial. China is an important market for semiconductors. There’s nothing constructive about limiting exports to China in the name of reducing dependency. Such acts will only end up hurting others as well as oneself and disrupting global industrial and supply chains. We hope relevant countries will respect market economy laws, uphold rules, proceed from their own interests, and work together with China to safeguard the international economic and trade order and foster an open world economy.
Bloomberg: Authorities in Shanghai have raided the offices of Bain & Company recently. There have been other similar raids and investigations like these. Can you explain what issue is being investigated specifically with Bain? And have any other similar raids been carried out in the offices of other foreign firms that haven’t been reported or announced yet?
Mao Ning: I’m not aware of what you mentioned.
I would like to stress that companies of all countries are welcome to have economic and trade cooperation in China. We are committed to fostering a market-oriented, law-based and world-class business environment. China is a law-based country. All companies in China must operate in accordance with the law.
Global Times: According to reports, ROK President Yoon Suk Yeol said in his address to the joint session of the US Congress on April 27 that over the past century, the US has faced many threats and challenges but it has always led the world in defense of freedom. The US 1st Marine Division miraculously broke through a wave of 120,000 Chinese troops at the Battle of Lake Changjin. What’s China’s comment?
Mao Ning: I have noted the ROK leader’s address.
Speaking of that battle, I wish to stress that the victory of the War to Resist US Aggression and Aid Korea has major and profound significance for China and the rest of the world. With solid facts, the war has shown the world that if any country or military chooses to stand on the wrong side of history, bully the weak, act against the will of the people and engage in territorial expansion or invasion, it will pay dearly for its egregious acts. We hope countries concerned can do more things that are conducive to world peace and development and avoid repeating past mistakes.
According to China’s records, the enemy forces lost 36,000 troops to the Battle of Lake Changjin, including 24,000 US troops that contained an entire US regiment. Walton H. Walker, commander of the US Eighth Army, lost his life after his truck rolled over in an accident. Then US Secretary of State Dean Acheson called the result of the battle “the longest retreat in US military history”.
AFP: A question on the Philippines. Journalists aboard a Philippine patrol ship in the South China Sea said that a Chinese Coast Guard vessel cut off the Philippine ship. These reporters say this almost led to a collision between the two boats. So the incident happened near Ren’ai Jiao. Are you aware of this incident? And if yes, what exactly happened there?
Mao Ning: The Ren’ai Reef is part of China’s Nansha Islands. On April 23, two Philippine Coast Guard vessels intruded into the waters off the Ren’ai Reef without Chinese permission. One of them made deliberate provocative moves by closing in on a Chinese Coast Guard vessel. In accordance with the law, the Chinese Coast Guard vessel upheld China’s territorial sovereignty and maritime order by making timely maneuvers to dodge the dangerously approaching Philippine vessel and avoid a collision. The Chinese side’s maneuvers were professional and restrained.
I need to stress that the intrusion of the Philippine vessels carrying journalists into the Ren’ai Reef waters was a premeditated provocation designed to deliberately create a friction, and be blamed on China and hyped up in the media. China strongly protests and deplores this. We urge the Philippine side to respect China’s sovereignty and maritime rights and interests in the South China Sea and stop making moves that might complicate the situation.
AFP: Just wondering if you have any updates on the evacuation of Chinese citizens from Sudan?
Mao Ning: I briefed on relevant information about Sudan yesterday. So far, most Chinese nationals have been evacuated from Sudan. Our embassy in Sudan will also provide every possible assistance to the few Chinese nationals who are still in the country.
AFP: A question on the UN. Some experts mandated by the UN Human Rights Council on Thursday, yesterday, accused China of forcing Tibetans into vocational training programs. So these experts, who do not speak for the UN, also said that this program could lead to forced labor. I just wonder if you have any comments on these remarks?
Mao Ning: China’s Tibet Autonomous Region enjoys social stability, economic development, ethnic solidarity and religious harmony. People there lead a happy life and historic progress has been made in the human rights cause. The so-called “concerns” of the relevant special procedures’ experts are completely unfounded. We urge the experts to respect basic facts and the authoritative information from the Chinese government, adhere to the Code of Conduct for Special Procedures Mandate-holders of the Human Rights Council, fulfill their mandate in a just and objective manner, and avoid being used by or assisting anti-China forces.
In observance of the Labor Day, the MFA regular press conference will be adjourned from May 1st (Monday) to 3rd (Wednesday), and resumed on May 4th (Thursday). During the holiday, you can reach the spokesperson’s office by fax, email or WeChat as usual.