Foreign Ministry Spokesperson Mao Ning’s Regular Press Conference on July 4, 2024
2024-07-04 18:56

At the invitation of Premier Li Qiang of the State Council, Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina of the People’s Republic of Bangladesh will pay an official visit to China from July 8 to 10.

CCTV: President Xi Jinping was on a state visit to Kazakhstan yesterday. Can you share more details?

Mao Ning: At the invitation of President Kassym-Jomart Tokayev of the Republic of Kazakhstan, President Xi Jinping paid a state visit to Kazakhstan from July 2 to 3. This is President Xi Jinping’s fifth visit to Kazakhstan and the first visit to Central Asia by China’s top leader after the 20th CPC National Congress. This visit bears historic significance.

Kazakhstan attached great importance to the visit. President Kassym-Jomart Tokayev personally greeted President Xi Jinping at the airport and hosted a dinner for him at the president’s residence. The two presidents held official talks for an in-depth exchange of views on bilateral relations, mutually beneficial cooperation in various areas and international and regional issues of mutual interest. The two presidents also jointly met the press, attended the welcoming banquet, attended the launch of the China-Europe Trans-Caspian Express via video link, and witnessed the unveiling of the plaques of the Chinese Culture Center in Astana, the Kazakh Culture Center in Beijing, and the Kazakhstan Branch of Beijing Language and Culture University.

President Xi’s visit had a rich program and produced fruitful results. It marked yet another milestone in the history of China-Kazakhstan relations. First, political mutual trust reached a new height. The two presidents signed and issued a joint statement, reaffirming continued firm support to each other on issues concerning the two countries’ respective core interests. Second, practical cooperation received new impetus. The two sides agreed to seek greater synergy between Belt and Road cooperation and the economic policies under a Just Kazakhstan, and deepen mutually beneficial cooperation on all fronts. Third, new outcomes were achieved in people-to-people and cultural exchanges. China will set up the second Luban Workshop in Kazakhstan and hold China tourism year activities in Kazakhstan next year. Fourth, coordination on international affairs has been further substantiated. The two sides agreed to have close cooperation under multilateral frameworks, actively implement the Global Development Initiative, the Global Security Initiative and the Global Civilization Initiative, and jointly champion an equal and orderly multipolar world and a universally beneficial and inclusive economic globalization.

China will work with Kazakhstan to deliver on the important common understandings between the two presidents, upgrade cooperation across the board, and jointly usher in a brighter future for China-Kazakhstan relations.

AFP: AFP learned from local sources that a militia attack on a mining site in the Ituri province of the Democratic Republic of the Congo killed about four Chinese nationals. Can you confirm this and provide more details?

Mao Ning: On July 3, an armed attack on a private Chinese company in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) left several Chinese nationals dead or missing. China strongly condemns the attack. We are in close touch with the DRC. An all-out search effort is underway for the missing Chinese nationals. We ask the DRC to hunt down the perpetrators and bring them to justice as soon as possible, and take concrete and effective measures to better protect the safety and security of Chinese nationals and companies in the DRC.

The northeastern part of the DRC has long suffered a poor security situation. The Foreign Ministry has issued multiple security alerts. We once again remind our fellow Chinese nationals to closely follow the Foreign Ministry’s security alerts and act accordingly, not to travel to high-risk areas, and to leave those areas as quickly as possible if they are already there.

Bloomberg: The Philippines is demanding PH₱ 60 million (about US$ 1 million) in damages from China following the confrontation recently in the South China Sea. This is from the nation’s military chief. That figure is just for the property damage. It doesn’t yet cover the injury to the sailor. Does China want to comment on this? Would it pay?

Mao Ning: The Philippine vessels were carrying out an illegal “resupply mission” which violated China’s territorial waters and staging a provocation when stopped by China Coast Guard, who acted lawfully and rightfully to defend China’s sovereignty. The Philippine side should face the consequences of its own action.

Hubei Media Group: To follow up on your announcement of Bangladeshi Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina’s visit, could you share with us the program and China’s expectation for the visit? How does China view the current China-Bangladesh relations?

Mao Ning: This will be Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina’s first visit to China since her new term began and five years after her last visit to China. During the visit, President Xi Jinping will meet with Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina. Premier Li Qiang will hold a welcoming ceremony and have talks with her. The two prime ministers will attend the signing ceremony of cooperation documents. Leaders of the two countries will have an in-depth exchange of views on how to deepen traditional friendship and expand mutually beneficial cooperation and on regional and international issues of mutual interest. Prime Minister Hasina will also attend the Summit on Trade, Business and Investment Opportunities between China and Bangladesh.

China and Bangladesh are good neighbors, good friends and good partners. We have similar visions for development and well-aligned development strategies. Since the establishment of diplomatic relations 49 years ago, the two countries have treated each other with respect and equality, engaged in mutually beneficial cooperation, supported each other on issues concerning our respective core interests, and jointly advanced modernization. We have set a good example of friendship and cooperation between developing countries. In recent years, with the strategic guidance and commitment of leaders of our two countries, the two sides have deepened China-Bangladesh strategic cooperative partnership, and had fruitful and practical cooperation in various fields. China stands ready to work with Bangladesh through this visit to carry forward the spirit of the Five Principles of Peaceful Coexistence, deepen political mutual trust, further synergize development strategies, advance high-quality Belt and Road cooperation, speed up implementing the Global Development Initiative, the Global Security Initiative and the Global Civilization Initiative, and elevate our bilateral relations to a new level.

Bloomberg: China and India have agreed to hold diplomatic talks to resolve a longstanding border dispute. This agreement apparently came when the foreign ministers of the two nations met in Kazakhstan. Do you have any more information to add on that?

Mao Ning: We will soon release information on the meeting between the Chinese and Indian foreign ministers. Please stay tuned. 

Reuters: Philippine Senator Imee Marcos in the video on TikTok and Facebook said China has taken 25 targets around the Philippine archipelago and that it would attack it with hypersonic missiles. How does China respond to this?

Mao Ning: I’m not sure what the Philippine side’s source was, but I can tell you that China is committed to peaceful development and a national defense policy that is defensive in nature, and China does not pose a threat to any country. That said, we will certainly not sit by and watch when our legitimate rights and interests and regional peace and stability are being violated or under threat.

We urge relevant country to listen to the concerns its people have and the call from other countries in the region, bear in mind the fundamental interests of its own people, stay independent, uphold good-neighborliness and friendship, earnestly respect other countries’ security concerns, and act to keep the region peaceful and stable.

PTI: Foreign Ministers of India and China met in Astana today. Are there any details that you can share with us on this?

Mao Ning: Again, I would refer you to our readout to be released soon.

The Paper: Recently, foreign vloggers in China created a meme “city or not city” and “so city” and it went viral on social media and got reposted and shared by Chinese and foreign net users. What’s your comment?

Mao Ning: I myself have also just learned this new usage of the word. It’s great to see foreign friends enjoy the lovely scenery and delicacies that China has to offer, and experience the vibrancy of China as it is.

As China eases its entry policy, traveling to China has become simpler for foreign tourists. In the first five months of this year, China received over 12 million foreign travelers, over 7 million of whom enjoyed visa-free entry. During the Dragon Boat Festival holiday, the number of inbound and outbound travels by foreign nationals grew by 57 percent year-on-year.

We will take more steps to make travel simpler and more enjoyable for foreign friends. China’s always ready to welcome friends from around the world with open arms.

AFP: On July 3, the German government invoked national security concerns to block the sale of Volkswagen’s gas turbine business to a Chinese company. What’s your comment?

Mao Ning: China and Germany are each other’s important trade partners. There is every reason for our two countries to increase trade and economic cooperation in the spirit of mutual benefit and in line with market rules, which serves both countries’ interests. China opposes turning normal business cooperation into political and security issues and creating hurdles for such cooperation. We hope Germany will provide a fair, just and non-discriminatory business environment for companies from China and elsewhere in the world.

Reuters: Philippine armed forces chief has demanded the return of seven guns seized by China in the South China Sea. Has China received any communication from the Philippines of the return of these weapons?

Mao Ning: I am not familiar with the specifics, but what I can tell you is that the Philippines illegally intruded the waters of Ren’ai Jiao in China’s Nansha Qundao and seriously violated China’s sovereignty. China Coast Guard responded with law enforcement measures that are fully legitimate, justified and lawful. We urge the Philippines to stop the infringement activities and provocations, and return to the right track of properly handling differences through dialogue and consultation.

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