CCTV: Last night, President Xi Jinping and President Joko Widodo watched the operational trial of the Jakarta-Bandung High-speed Railway through video link. Why was this event included in President Xi’s tight schedule in Indonesia?
Mao Ning: The Jakarta-Bandung High-speed Railway is a flagship project of China-Indonesia Belt and Road cooperation. It is personally supported by the two presidents. It is the first overseas high-speed railway project that fully uses Chinese railway systems, technology and industrial components. It is also the first high-speed railway in Indonesia and Southeast Asia. President Xi Jinping put forward the initiative of jointly building a 21st Century Maritime Silk Road during his visit to Indonesia in 2013. Next year will mark the tenth anniversary of the Belt and Road Initiative (BRI). The pending completion of the Jakarta-Bandung High-speed Railway will be an important milestone and demonstrate that China-Indonesia Belt and Road cooperation is ready for harvest.
Once put into operation, the high-speed railway will reduce travel time from Jakarta to Bandung from more than three hours to 40 minutes. It will help promote the local economic and social development and enhance regional connectivity. Recently, a rap song about the Jakarta-Bandung High-speed Railway has become an internet hit in Indonesia, which shows just how ardently the Indonesian people are looking forward to the completion of the project.
President Xi and President Widodo fully recognized efforts to forge synergy between the BRI and Indonesia’s Global Maritime Fulcrum. They reached the important consensus of strengthening the two countries’ comprehensive strategic partnership and jointly building a China-Indonesia community with a shared future. They jointly witnessed the signing of many cooperation documents. We are confident that under the strategic guidance of the two leaders, China-Indonesia ties will continue to flourish and deliver even more to the welfare of the two peoples and the solidarity and cooperation of developing countries.
China Daily: Nowadays, the ethical risks posed by artificial intelligence (AI) have become a greater concern for the international community. We noted that on November 16, China submitted a position paper on strengthening the ethical governance of AI to the 2022 Meeting of the High Contracting Parties to the Convention on Certain Conventional Weapons. Could you share more details?
Mao Ning: With its rapid advancement and widespread application, artificial intelligence is having an increasingly visible complex impact on the political, economic, military and social aspects of countries in the world. Countries have come to realize that if misused or abused, AI could deal a blow to ethics and the legal system as we know it, and cause serious ethical problems. Enhancing the ethical governance of AI is now an important task facing the world.
China takes very seriously the need to prevent and manage AI-related risks and challenges and works actively to advance the international governance of AI. In December last year, the Chinese side submitted a position paper on regulating military applications of AI to the review conference of the UN Convention on Certain Conventional Weapons, offering China’s insight and solution for challenging issues in AI governance.
The position paper submitted by China fully outlines our policy proposals regarding the ethical governance of AI that cover its regulation, research and development, utilization and international cooperation. The position paper stresses China’s commitment to building a community with a shared future for humanity in the domain of AI and efforts to advocate a people-centered approach and the principle of AI for good, ensure that AI is safe, reliable, controllable, and capable of better empowering global sustainable development and enhancing the common well-being of all humanity.
China will continue to pursue a vision of global governance featuring shared growth through discussion and collaboration, and work with the rest of the international community to advance the Global Development Initiative and the Global Security Initiative, properly respond to the risks and challenges brought by AI application, and work to formulate widely accepted international AI governance framework.
The Paper: Statistics of the International Telecommunication Union (ITU) showed that still nearly three billion people in the world are not connected to the internet. Most of them are in developing countries. How should the international community cooperate to address the digital divide? What role will China play?
Mao Ning: Closing the digital divide is a pressing task for the world. Better digital governance is a hope shared by many. China takes digital divide very seriously. During the G20 Hangzhou Summit, China, as the G20 host, put digital economy on the G20 agenda for the first time. This week, at the G20 Bali Summit, President Xi Jinping again presented China’s proposal on addressing the digital divide.
President Xi pointed out that putting development first is the key to bridging the digital divide. Countries should jointly promote connectivity in the digital age, and take effective measures to promote digital literacy and skills for all. It is particularly important to help developing countries and disadvantaged groups to adapt to digital transformation.
To improve digital governance, it is important to uphold multilateralism. Countries should make concerted efforts to foster an open, inclusive, equitable, just and non-discriminatory environment for the development of digital economy. Building “a small yard with high fences” to limit or hinder cooperation in science and technology will hurt others’ interests without benefiting oneself. Such practices are incompatible with the common interests of the international community.
China will continue to work with other countries to foster a balanced, coordinated and inclusive global digital economy landscape that brings benefits to all and features win-win cooperation and shared prosperity.
Kyodo News: According to reports, the Chinese and Japanese leaders are expected to have talks in Thailand this afternoon. What’s China’s expectations?
Mao Ning: I gave the answer yesterday. If it is of interest to you, I can repeat what we expect from this meeting. China and Japan are close neighbors and important countries in the region. This year marks the 50th anniversary of the normalization of China-Japan relations. We hope the two sides will stay committed to peace and friendship, expand mutually-beneficial cooperation, manage differences, and work together to build a China-Japan relationship that meets the call of the new era.
There will be a press release following the meeting. Please check back for updates.
Yonhap News Agency: According to reports, on November 17, the DPRK’s Foreign Minister in a statement warned the US of fiercer military counteraction in response to the US’ strengthening of extended deterrence to allies in the region. This was followed by the DPRK’s firing of a ballistic missile toward its eastern waters. Do you have any comment?
Mao Ning: We noted the DPRK’s response to “reinforcing extended deterrence” in the joint statement of the US, Japan and the ROK. We hope all parties will face up to the crux of the issues of the Korean Peninsula and address each others’ concerns in a balanced way, especially the DPRK’s legitimate concerns.
AFP: A US court has sentenced a Chinese intelligence citizen to 20 years in prison for stealing commercial secrets from American and French aerospace companies. Do you have any comment on this?
Mao Ning: The US’s accusations are simply untrue. We ask the US side to handle the case without bias and in accordance with the law and protect the lawful rights and interests of Chinese citizens.
Reuters: A New Zealand government spokesperson said today that Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern expects to meet President Xi Jinping on Friday on the sidelines of the APEC Summit. The spokesperson described the meeting as currently confirmed. What’s the foreign ministry’s comment?
Mao Ning: China and New Zealand are each other’s important cooperation partners. This year marks the 50th anniversary of the establishment of our diplomatic relations. China is ready to work with New Zealand, uphold the principle of mutual respect and win-win cooperation, maintain high-level interactions, and strengthen exchange and cooperation to jointly advance the growth of China-New Zealand comprehensive strategic partnership. As to the bilateral meeting you referred to, I have nothing to share at the moment.