Foreign Ministry Spokesperson Mao Ning’s Regular Press Conference on November 13, 2023

2023-11-13 18:58

At the invitation of Maldivian President-elect Mohamed Muizzu, President Xi Jinping’s Special Envoy and State Councilor Shen Yiqin will visit the Maldives from November 15 to 18 and attend the inauguration ceremony of the new President to be held on November 17 in Malé. At the invitation of the Sri Lankan government, State Councilor Shen Yiqin will visit Sri Lanka from November 18 to 21.

People’s Daily: China and the US have both announced an upcoming meeting between the two Presidents. Senior officials of the White House National Security Council said on the condition of anonymity on November 10 that through the meeting the US is looking toward “managing the competition, preventing the downside risk of conflict and ensuring channels of communication are open.” They also said that, “We know efforts to shape or reform China over several decades have failed.” The US will raise concerns to China over bilateral and hotspot issues. The US is not supportive of Taiwan independence, wishes to maintain the status quo, and opposes China’s increasingly frequent military actions in the Taiwan Strait. The US will also underscore its commitment to the security of the Philippines in the South China Sea. On the Palestinian-Israeli conflict, the US will underscore its desire for China to make clear that Iran should not seek to escalate or spread violence in the region. What’s China’s response?

Mao Ning: China has announced President Xi Jinping’s trip to the US for a summit meeting at the US invitation. The two Presidents will have in-depth communication on issues of strategic, overarching and fundamental importance in shaping China-U.S. relations and major issues concerning world peace and development.

China views and handles its relations with the US in accordance with the three principles of mutual respect, peaceful coexistence and win-win cooperation proposed by President Xi Jinping. Major-country competition runs counter to the trend of our times and provides no answer to the problems in the US or the challenges in our world. China does not fear competition, but we do not agree that China-US relations should be defined by competition. Speaking of concerns, the US needs to respect China’s concerns and legitimate right to development, rather than emphasizing its own concerns at the expense of China’s interests. To seek to remodel other countries in one’s own image is wishful thinking in the first place and typical hegemonism which is going nowhere. China doesn’t seek to change the US, nor should the US seek to shape or change China. We hope the US will act on its commitment of not seeking a new Cold War with China and having no intention to seek a conflict with China, and work with China to bring bilateral relations back to the track of sound and stable development.

The status quo in the Taiwan Strait is that both sides of the Strait belong to one and the same China. It is the DPP authorities and the external forces supporting and conniving at their separatist agenda that are changing the status quo. The Taiwan question is China’s internal affair and resolving it is a matter for the Chinese that brook no foreign interference. Successive US administrations have made clear commitments on the Taiwan question. During the summit meeting in Bali, the US said explicitly that the US government doesn’t support “Taiwan independence”. The US needs to honor its commitment to one China and oppose “Taiwan independence” with concrete actions.

China has made clear on multiple occasions the nature of the South China Sea issue and what our principled position is. China will neither take any inch of territory that is not ours, nor give up any inch of territory that belongs to us. China is committed to settling relevant disputes through negotiation and consultation with relevant countries and will not waver in our determination to safeguard national sovereignty and territorial integrity. The US needs to stop creating pretexts and interfering in the disputes between China and relevant countries over territorial and maritime rights and interests, still less contain and encircle China by exploiting those issues.

The ongoing Palestinian-Israeli conflict continues to grip the world’s attention. China stands on the side of equity and justice. We have been in close contact with relevant parties and committed to deescalation and protection of civilians. We hope that the US will follow an objective and just stance and play a constructive role in halting the conflict.

China Review News: It’s reported that the Lizi port at the China-Nepal border is officially open today. Can you confirm that and give us more details?

Mao Ning: As a result of the friendly negotiation and joint efforts between China and Nepal, the Lizi-Nechung port is officially opened and a ceremony was held earlier today. This is part of the important efforts to deliver on the common understandings between leaders of our two countries. The Lizi-Nechung trading post is the fourth pair of ports for passenger and cargo transfer between China and Nepal. We welcome the successful opening of the Lizi-Nechung port and believe that it will further ease trade and travel between our two countries, contribute to economic and social development in border areas and benefit the two peoples.

Bloomberg: According to reports, China is considering resuming purchases of Boeing’s 737 Max aircraft when the US and Chinese Presidents meet in San Francisco, signaling a thaw in China-US relations. This will be a long-awaited deal for the Boeing company. Do you have any comment on this?

Mao Ning: I’d refer you to competent Chinese authorities on that.

AFP: According to Japanese media reports, a Japanese man was sentenced by Hunan High People’s Court on November 3. The man was detained in 2019 in Changsha on suspicion of violating China’s counter-espionage law. Can the Foreign Ministry confirm this sentence?

Mao Ning: I’d refer you to the competent authorities about the specifics of the case. China is a country under the rule of law and handles relevant case and protects the lawful rights and interests of the person concerned in accordance with the law. 

China News Service: Last Friday, the Philadelphia Orchestra held a concert in Beijing to commemorate the 50th anniversary of the orchestra’s first visit to China in 1973. President Xi Jinping replied to a letter from the president and CEO of the orchestra, in which President Xi encouraged the orchestra to continue the efforts to strengthen people-to-people ties between China and the US and enhance friendship between peoples of the world. US President Biden also sent a congratulatory letter to the orchestra. Would you like to comment on the event’s significance in the context of China-US relations?

Mao Ning: We congratulate the Philadelphia Orchestra on the success of its commemorative concert marking the 50th anniversary of its first visit to China. We noted that the programme of the concert includes the Chinese traditional masterpiece The Moon over A Fountain, well-known to American as well as Chinese audience, and the more recent Echoes of Ancient Tang Poems which creatively blends Chinese and Western symphony music. The performance encapsulates the course of China-US friendship over the past half a century and drew warm accolades from the audience.

Cultural and people-to-people exchanges have always been a vital component of China-US relations and a source of driving force for the growth of the relations. As President Xi Jinping noted in the letter, music knows no borders and culture can serves as a bridge. Half a century ago, the orchestra’s China tour marked a thaw in China-US cultural exchange, which carried special significance in the normalization of the two countries’ diplomatic relations. Last Friday’s special concert presented by the orchestra and the China National Symphony Orchestra alongside vocalists from various countries will go down in history as cherished memory. The reply letter by President Xi and the congratulatory letter by President Biden speak to the importance the leaders of the two countries attach to China-US cultural exchange and their hope for it to flourish.

We look forward to more China-US cultural exchanges that will bolster the mutual understanding and goodwill between our two peoples.

Bloomberg: Bloomberg also reported today that Thailand is considering having Chinese police personnel stationed at some popular tourist destinations to increase their appeal for Chinese tourists. Some say this might have some ramifications on Thailand’s sovereignty. What’s your comment?

Mao Ning: I am not aware of what you asked about. I’d refer you to China’s competent authorities.

Anadolu Agency: Director-General of the World Health Organization Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus said yesterday that Dar Al-Shifa Hospital, the largest health facility in Gaza Strip, cannot serve basic functions as a medical facility anymore because of lack of electricity, water and communications. He said the number of patient deaths is significantly increasing. There are also reports about military strikes targeting the ICU, surgical units and maternity ward of the hospital. What’s the Foreign Ministry’s comment on the situation in Dar Al-Shifa and other medical facilities in Gaza?

Mao Ning: It’s been over a month since the Gaza conflict broke out. The humanitarian situation on the ground has become extremely dire. The struggling Dar Al-Shifa Hospital is an epitome of the ongoing humanitarian crisis in Gaza. China calls for an immediate ceasefire between parties to the conflict, all efforts possible to protect civilians and scaled-up humanitarian aid effort to ease the humanitarian crisis. Relevant members of the international community need to take substantive measures and make a great effort to this end.

CCTV: Saudi Arabia hosted the Saudi-African Summit and the Joint Arab-Islamic Extraordinary Summit last week. Both summits called for an immediate ceasefire, protection of civilians, humanitarian access, greater humanitarian assistance for Gaza and the establishment of an independent state of Palestine based on the two-state solution in the context of the Palestinian-Israeli conflict. What’s China’s comment?

Mao Ning: The situation in Gaza is quite dire. China supports all efforts aimed to deescalate the situation and bring back peace. The Saudi-African Summit and the Joint Arab-Islamic Extraordinary Summit sent a clear message of bringing about a ceasefire, protecting civilians, scaling up humanitarian assistance and implementing the two-state solution. This is welcomed by China.

Since the Palestinian-Israeli conflict broke out, China has been in close communication with relevant parties to call for ceasefire and restoration of peace. On halting the current conflict, China’s position is very much similar to that of the vast Arab, Islamic and African developing countries. China will work with relevant parties to continue to work relentlessly to protect civilians, deescalate the situation, resume talks for peace and realize peace.