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Foreign Ministry Spokesperson Mao Ning’s Regular Press Conference on May 26, 2023
2023-05-26 21:11

At the invitation of State Councilor and Foreign Minister Qin Gang, Minister of Foreign Affairs and International Trade of Zimbabwe Frederick Shava will pay an official visit to China from May 27 to June 2.

CCTV: We noted that at the opening ceremony of the Global Trade and Investment Promotion Summit of 2023 held a few days ago, many expressed optimism about China’s economic prospect and said that decoupling will bring extra burden to global economic development. Chairman of the board of German company Siemens and CEO of US chip-maker NVIDIA also said in their interviews that the Chinese market is irreplaceable and pulling out of the market is not an option. What’s your comment?

Mao Ning: Since early this year, the Chinese economy has shown sound momentum of recovery and market potential has been unleashed, which has attracted foreign investors around the world. In the first four months of this year, China’s actual use of foreign capital hit RMB 500 billion, up by 2.2 percent year-on-year. A recent report by the China Council for the Promotion of International Trade shows that 92.4 percent of the surveyed foreign-funded enterprises see no decline in China’s position in global investment decisions. Swiss Centers’ recent report shows that 62 percent of surveyed Swiss companies in China expect higher profits this year. These facts show that countries are optimistic about China’s economic prospect and China remains an attractive destination for global investment.

For development, China needs the world, and the world needs China. We will continue to foster a market-oriented, law-based and world-class business environment and share China’s market and dividend of openness with companies of all countries. China will never close its door to the world. We are ready to work together with all countries that wish to pursue win-win cooperation with us for global prosperity and common progress. 

Reuters: Vietnam says it has urged China to remove Chinese survey, coast guard and fishing vessels from its waters. The vessels, which first entered Vietnam’s exclusive economic zone a few weeks ago, have been operating close to gas blocks operated by Russian firms in South China Sea. Can the Chinese side provide further information or comment on the incident? Has it had any contact with Vietnam or Russia on the matter?

Mao Ning: China has sovereignty over Nansha Islands and its adjacent waters and sovereign rights and jurisdiction over relevant waters. It is legitimate and lawful for relevant Chinese vessels to carry out normal activities in waters under China’s jurisdiction. There is no such a thing as entering in other countries’ exclusive economic zones.

On issues related to the South China Sea, we are in communication with all relevant parties and stand ready to handle disputes appropriately through dialogue and consultation to ensure peace and stability in the South China Sea. We remain, in the meantime, fully committed to protecting China’s lawful rights and interests.

Global Times: Recently tensions on the Korean Peninsula seem to have worsened. The US, Japan and the ROK continue to promote the sharing of DPRK missile warning data in real time, agreeing to enhance trilateral security cooperation and holding missile defence drills with other countries. The US and the ROK held the largest ever “combined annihilation firepower drills” near the military demarcation line between the DPRK and the ROK, imposed further unilateral sanctions on the DPRK at the same time, and may hold the first meeting of the US-ROK Nuclear Consultative Group in early June. Japan’s draft defense white paper characterizes the DPRK as a more critical and imminent threat. The DPRK media published several op-eds condemning the US moves in Northeast Asia to forge a US-Japan-ROK trilateral military alliance, promote “NATO-style” nuclear sharing and create a NATO-replica in Asia, which pose a major threat to world peace and security. Do you have any comment on this? 

Mao Ning: China is following the recent developments on the Korean Peninsula. We are concerned over relevant parties putting together exclusive military blocs, carrying out various kinds of provocative military drills and stepping up “extended deterrence” and intelligence sharing. These moves do no help alleviate the situation on the Peninsula. They will only ratchet up an arms race, disrupt the nuclear non-proliferation regime and undermine peace and stability in the region.

TASS: Japanese Prime Minister Kishida Fumio is planning to attend the NATO summit in July in Lithuania, where he is expected to have talks with the NATO secretary general to discuss the opening of a NATO liaison office in Tokyo. What’s your comment? Secondly, it is learned that the Black Sea grain deal will be extended for another two months. Western countries only partially comply with this agreement as part of their support for Ukraine. Russia, however, has been under Western restrictions and cannot freely export grain to the rest of the world. How does the Chinese foreign ministry see this?

Mao Ning: To answer your first question, we have noted relevant reports. This has certainly drawn our attention. China believes that the relations between countries should be conducive to world peace and stability and not target any third party or harm others’ interests. The Asia-Pacific lies beyond the geographical scope of the North Atlantic. NATO’s attempt to make eastward inroads into the Asia-Pacific will inevitably undermine regional peace and stability. The countries and people in this region are on high alert against this and firmly oppose any words or actions designed to bring military blocs into this region and stoke division and confrontation. Japan needs to draw lessons from history, stay committed to the path of peaceful development, and avoid doing things that may erode the trust between countries and undermine peace and stability in the region.

On your second question about the Black Sea grain deal, China hopes that the agreement will continue to be implemented in a balanced, comprehensive and effective manner. We welcome the consensus on extending the deal and support relevant parties in continuing their dialogue on this and striving to find a solution that accommodates all parties’ concerns. China has also put forward the cooperation initiative on global food security, and would like to strengthen communication and cooperation with all parties over this to build up international consensus and contribute to world food security.

CRI: We noted that the official website of the Forum on China-Africa Cooperation issued an announcement of the results of the “My Dream” Painting Competition for African Youth yesterday. Could you share more details with us?

Mao Ning: In March this year, the Secretariat of the Chinese Follow-up Committee of the Forum on China-Africa Cooperation (FOCAC), the China Manned Space Engineering Office and the Chinese diplomatic and consular missions in Africa co-hosted a painting competition on the theme of “My Dream”. More than 2000 African youngsters submitted their paintings, of which 50 stood out. In the second half of this year, the hosts of this competition will organize an awarding ceremony and invite some of the prize-winners to China. 

The youth are ambitious and passionate dream-chasers. The youth from Africa, with their colorful paintings, have expressed the best wishes for China-Africa cooperation, peace and development, human progress and a better life. This is a true picture of the cultural exchanges and people-to-people bond between China and Africa. China stands ready to offer a platform for African youth to show the world their youthful vitality and their African dream and renew the China-Africa friendship. In the meantime, we stand ready to share our experience and outcomes in the development of high-tech, enhance technology transfer in the agricultural and industrial fields and give a boost to Africa’s modernization drive. I’d like to take this opportunity to send my best wishes to the African youth, who are so ambitious, passionate and hard-working in their pursuit of dreams. I hope that their vitality and vigor will be a source of stability, development and prosperity for the African continent and a driving force for renewing the enduring China-Africa friendship. 

Hokkaido Shimbun: It has been nearly four years since Professor Yuan Keqin of Hokkaido University of Education was arrested. Could you tell us Professor Yuan Keqin’s physical condition and the current progress of the case? Voice in Japan calling for his release i