|Foreign Ministry Spokesperson Mao Ning’s Regular Press Conference on September 28, 2023|
As agreed between China and Germany, the third China-Germany High-level Financial Dialogue will be held in Germany on October 1. Member of the Political Bureau of the CPC Central Committee, Vice Premier of the State Council and the Chinese lead person of the Dialogue He Lifeng will co-chair the Dialogue with Federal Minister of Finance and the German lead person of the Dialogue Christian Lindner.
Bloomberg: The three pandas from Washington DC’s National Zoo are set to return to China by December. The three other US zoos that have Chinese pandas, Atlanta, San Diego and Memphis, have all either turned over the pandas or will see them return to China by the end of next year. Does the departure of pandas from US zoos reflect the increased tensions between China and the US? What’s the foreign ministry’s view on panda diplomacy?
Mao Ning: China and the US began cooperation on giant panda conservation and research in 1996. The US is one of our earliest partners and has more institutions than any other country that participate in the cooperation. A total of four US zoos have participated in the cooperation. The two sides have formed good cooperative relations, achieved fruitful results and played a positive role in protecting endangered species. With our concerted efforts, a total of 17 cubs were successfully bred. At present, seven of these giant pandas still live in the US. They have been creating joy for the American people and bringing hearts closer between our two peoples. In particular, the birth of Xiao Qi Ji, whose name means “little miracle”, during the pandemic, brought encouraging news to panda lovers all over the world. We have learned from relevant authorities that the three giant pandas at the National Zoo in Washington—Mei Xiang, Tian Tian and Xiao Qi Ji—will return to China at the end of this year as previously scheduled. The Chinese and US cooperation participants are in consultation over relevant procedures to prepare for their return.
Giant pandas are not only China’s national treasure, but also ambassadors of friendship adored by people around the world. China engages in giant panda conservation and research cooperation with many countries. The purpose is to better protect endangered species and promote global biodiversity conservation. We stand ready to continue our work with cooperation partners including the US to enhance cooperation on conservation of endangered species.
AFP: White House National Security Adviser Jake Sullivan has thanked China for its help in returning US soldier Travis King from North Korea. Can the foreign ministry provide any details on China’s role in this matter or does it have any other comments on the situation?
Mao Ning: At the request of the DPRK and the US, China provided necessary assistance in the spirit of humanitarianism.
NHK: I’d like to know if you have any updates on the situation of Evergrande’s founder and ex-CEO.
Mao Ning: I have no information on what you mentioned.
Bloomberg: On Taiwan’s submarine. The Taiwanese defense ministry staged the first sea trial of the diesel-electric vessel. The submarine named “Hai Kun” is one of eight new vessels being developed under a multi-billion dollar program to bolster Taiwan’s naval defenses. Does the foreign ministry have any comments on the submarine?
Mao Ning: This is not a question about foreign affairs. Taiwan is an inalienable part of China’s territory. The reunification of the two sides of the Taiwan Strait must and will be realized. The DPP authorities have clung stubbornly to the separatist position for “Taiwan independence”, squandered hard-earned money of people in Taiwan and sought to create antagonism and confrontation across the Taiwan Strait, which will only undermine cross-Strait peace and stability.
The regular press conference of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs will be adjourned from September 29 (Friday) to October 6 (Friday) for the Mid-Autumn Festival and the National Day holiday and resumed on October 9 (Monday). During the adjournment, correspondents may reach the Spokesperson’s Office by fax, E-mail or WeChat.