Foreign Ministry Spokesperson Mao Ning’s Regular Press Conference on September 13, 2022

Ministry of Foreign Affairs, the People’s Republic of China

China Daily: The Foreign Ministry put out an announcement yesterday that President Xi Jinping will attend the upcoming SCO summit in Uzbekistan and pay state visits to Kazakhstan and Uzbekistan. Could you share more with us on the background of, considerations behind and expectations for these visits?

Mao Ning: This will be China’s most important event of head-of-state diplomacy on the eve of the 20th National Congress of the Communist Party of China, which shows the high importance China attaches to the SCO and our relations with Kazakhstan and Uzbekistan.

The profound changes in the international landscape and the protracted COVID-19 pandemic have further underscored the role the SCO plays in upholding regional security and stability and promoting countries’ development and prosperity. At the upcoming SCO summit,President Xi Jinping will have in-depth exchanges of views with other participating leaders with a focus on all-dimensional SCO cooperation and major international and regional issues to build new common understandings and open a new chapter for cooperation. We are convinced that the SCO will continue to carry forward the Shanghai Spirit, stay true to its founding mission and work hard to achieve even more on the new journey ahead and make greater contributions to the cause of global and regional peace and development as the organization enters its third decade.

Both Kazakhstan and Uzbekistan are China’s friendly neighbors and comprehensive strategic partners, and important countries along the Belt and Road. Since the establishment of diplomatic ties between China and the two countries three decades ago, we have always followed the principles of mutual respect, good-neighborliness, friendship, mutual assistance, and win-win cooperation and advanced bilateral ties toward new heights. President Xi Jinping’s upcoming state visits will mark a new stage in China’s relations with the two countries. 

During the visit, President Xi Jinping will hold talks with Kazakh President Tokayev and Uzbek President Mirziyoyev. They will have in-depth exchanges on bilateral ties, cooperation in various fields and international and regional issues of mutual interest. We’re confident the visits will provide a new blueprint, new goals and new impetus for China’s ties with Kazakhstan and Uzbekistan.

AFP: A question on President Xi Jinping’s state visits to Kazakhstan and Uzbekistan. Will President Xi meet with President Putin or Prime Minister Modi?

Mao Ning: Heads-of-state diplomacy is the most important political guarantee for China-Russia relations to make steady and sustained progress. For a long time, Chinese and Russian presidents have maintained close exchanges and conducted strategic communication through various means, keeping the bilateral relationship always in the right direction. As for your specific question, I have no information to offer at the moment. We will release information in a timely manner if there is any. 

The Paper: We have noted that China and Japan jointly held a seminar on the 50th anniversary of the normalization of diplomatic relations yesterday. Could you give us more details? 

Mao Ning: On September 12, a seminar commemorating the 50th anniversary of the normalization of China-Japan diplomatic relations was held in a online-plus-offline format. Chinese State Councilor and Foreign Minister Wang Yi and Japanese Foreign Minister Yoshimasa Hayashi delivered video addresses respectively at the event, which was attended by representatives from all sectors from both countries.

State Councilor Wang Yi said in his remarks that as bilateral relations enter the next 50 years, China and Japan need to cherish the commitment made when establishing diplomatic relations, draw lessons from history, move China-Japan relations along the right track of sound and steady development and create new dimensions and impetus for bilateral relations. 

State Councilor Wang Yi put forward a five-point perspective on building a China-Japan relationship in line with the demands of the new era. First, honor commitments and uphold the political foundation of China-Japan relations. Second, bear in mind the bigger picture and keep the development of the bilateral relations on the right track. Third, deepen cooperation to achieve mutual benefit and win-win results at a higher level. Fourth, strengthen guidance to shape up positive and friendly mutual understanding; Fifth, embrace the trend of the times and practice true multilateralism. 

State Councilor Wang Yi’s five-point perspective reflects the importance China attaches to and expectations for China-Japan relations. It shed light on the future course for the development of bilateral relations and has drawn warm responses from many sectors in both countries. Looking ahead toward the next 50 years of China-Japan relations, China is ready to work with Japan to achieve positive results in bilateral relations, bring more benefits to the two peoples and make greater contribution to peace and development of the region and the world at large. 

Hubei Media Group: A Formal Consultative Meeting of the Biological Weapons Convention (BWC) concluded in Geneva on September 9. Is there anything you could share about the meeting and how would you comment on the meeting? 

Mao Ning: At Russia’s request, a Formal Consultative Meeting of the BWC was held in Geneva from September 5 to 9. The meeting was held to review the US compliance with the BWC. The meeting was widely attended by states parties to the BWC, who viewed it as an important event.

We have noted that Russia demonstrated a group of evidence and materials to support allegations that the US’s biological military activities constitute violations of the BWC, to which the US responded in defense. Other states parties including China raised multiple questions at the meeting that required clarification from the US. They also called for an early resumption of negotiations for a verification protocol to the BWC so that the Convention can be effectively implemented from the very start. Regrettably, the US side did not make a full and effective response to these allegations and questions and failed to address the concerns of the states parties. Going forward, the states parties will further look into and work on the issues related to US compliance.

The US conducts more biological military activities than any other country in the world. It is also the only one that rejects negotiations for a verification protocol to the BWC. The international community has long had concerns about this. China supports continued objective and impartial reviews on issues related to US compliance in accordance with BWC provisions. We once again urge the US to give full clarifications on its biological military activities, stop being the only country that stands in the way of resuming negotiations for a verification protocol, and offer a responsible explanation to the international community.

24kz: I have a question on President Xi Jinping’s visit to Kazakhstan. What is the visit mainly about? What does the visit mean for the China-Kazakhstan relationship and its future development?

Mao Ning: We will release information on President Xi Jinping’s upcoming state visit to Kazakhstan in due course. Please follow our updates. 

Beijing Youth Daily: IAEA Director General Rafael Mariano Grossi presented to the Board of Governors a report on IAEA safeguards in relation to AUKUS on September 9, saying that the IAEA has conducted technical consultations with the US, the UK and Australia and he welcomes their engagement with the Agency to date and expect this to continue. Do you have any comment?

Mao Ning: We noted this latest report issued by the IAEA Director General on the AUKUS nuclear submarine cooperation. We believe this is a right step forward procedure-wise. In the meantime, we are gravely concerned about the substance of this report.

This report lopsidedly cited the account given by the US, the UK and Australia to explain away what they have done, but made no mention of the international community’s major concerns over the risk of nuclear proliferation that may arise from the AUKUS nuclear submarine cooperation. The report turns a blind eye to many countries’ solemn position that the AUKUS cooperation violates the purpose and object of the NPT, and drew ultra vires, misleading conclusions on matters that should have been decided by member states through discussion.

I need to stress that the AUKUS nuclear submarine cooperation can impact the integrity, efficacy and authority of the NPT. The safeguards and monitoring issues related to AUKUS will affect the interests of all members of the IAEA and should be decided by all member states through discussion. China has therefore suggested that the IAEA launch a special committee open to all member states to have in-depth discussions on the political, legal and technical issues concerned and submit recommendations report to the IAEA Board of Governors and General Conference. Before consensus is reached by all parties, the US, the UK and Australia should not proceed with relevant cooperation, and the IAEA Secretariat should not have consultation with the three countries on the so-called safeguards and monitoring arrangement for their nuclear submarine cooperation. 

We urge the IAEA Secretariat to adopt an objective, neutral and professional position on the issue, fulfill its duty in strict accordance with its mandate, and provide a platform for discussing and addressing member states’ concerns over nuclear proliferation regarding the AUKUS nuclear submarine cooperation. We also call on all IAEA member states to continue to have substantive discussions on AUKUS nuclear submarine cooperation through the inter-governmental process, take concrete actions to uphold the international non-proliferation system with the NPT as its cornerstone, and safeguard international peace and security.

China News Service: The UN Office of Counter-Terrorism hosted the UN Global Congress of Victims of Terrorism at the UN headquarters in New York from September 8 to 9. Cheng Guoping, External Security Commissioner of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, led a delegation to the meeting. Can you give us more information on that?

Mao Ning: China attaches great importance to protecting the rights of victims of terrorism. China sent a high-level delegation to that congress. In the remarks delivered at the event, the Chinese side put forward a four-point proposal, namely firmly combating all forms of terrorism, eradicating the breeding ground for terrorism, effectively addressing the root causes of terrorism and making every effort to help victims of terrorism. China called for active support to the Global Security Initiative put forward by President Xi Jinping, commitment to the vision of common, comprehensive, cooperative and sustainable security, and effort to build a world of lasting peace and common security. This was widely recognized. 

It is especially worth mentioning that Kaidiriye Maimaitijiang, a victim of terrorism from China’s Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region, shared the story of her father’s heroic act as a police officer in the fight against terrorists, who gave his life for the cause. She also shared how the government looked after her family, which received a warm response at the meeting. Participants of the meeting expressed their understanding and support for the counter-terrorism campaign in Xinjiang. One representative came up to Kaidiriye Maimaitijiang to say how moving her story was and how it helped grow the understanding of the counter-terrorism situation in Xinjiang and China’s efforts. 

Terrorism is a common enemy of humanity. China will continue to take an active part in international counter-terrorism cooperation, support the UN’s central, coordinating role, resolutely combat all forms of terrorism, earnestly protect the rights of victims of terrorism and make new contributions to the international counter-terrorism cause. 

Yonhap News Agency: The chronology of ancient Korea misses Goguryeo at the exhibition of Ancient Bronzes of China, Korea, and Japan at the National Museum of China. The ROK side said that Goguryeo is part of the history of the ROK and asked the Chinese side to make corrections accordingly and apologize for the mistake. What is China’s comment?

Mao Ning: The Goguryeo issue is an academic issue. Views regarding academic issues can be shared and discussed in a professional way in the academic sphere. There is no need to hype it up politically. 

Shenzhen TV: After China’s National Computer Virus Emergency Response Center (CVERC) and cybersecurity company 360 released investigation reports on the cyberattacks on Northwestern Polytechnical University from the US National Security Agency (NSA), relevant Chinese authorities today released a technical analysis report on the NSA’s cyberweapon “suctionchar”, triggering much media attention. What is China’s comment? 

Mao Ning: Relevant Chinese authorities today released analysis on the US NSA’s attack on Northwestern Polytechnical University using the cyberweapon, which disclosed more details and evidence.

China has asked the US via various channels to explain its malicious cyberattacks and immediately stop its unlawful behavior, but have yet to receive anything substantive from the US. I want to stress that the US behavior has seriously infringed on tech secrets of relevant Chinese institutions, and gravely undermined the security of China’s critical infrastructure, institutions and personal information. The US must immediately stop this and offer a responsible explanation.

Reuters: According to a story published by Reuters, authorities at the Port of Hamburg are frustrated with the stance of the German government’s economic and foreign ministries who want to veto Chinese company COSCO’s acquisition of a 35% stake of the Tollerort container terminal. The Port of Hamburg authorities told Reuters they are concerned that if the deal is blocked, it could affect future Chinese investment in Germany. Does the foreign ministry have any comment?

Mao Ning: I’m not aware of what you mentioned. I would like to point out that the Chinese government always encourages Chinese businesses to conduct mutually-beneficial investment cooperation overseas in accordance with relevant laws and regulations. As a major trading country, Germany is deeply involved in economic globalization and international division of labor. It has the responsibility and obligation to keep the global industrial and supply chains stable. If what you said is true, we hope the German side will choose to remain committed to the principles of open market and fair competition, view Chinese investment in an objective and rational light, and provide a fair, open and non-discriminatory environment for Chinese companies, rather than politicize normal economic and trade cooperation, still less engage in protectionism in the name of national security.

Macau Monthly: President Biden signed an executive order on September 12 to launch a national biotechnology and biomanufacturing initiative to reduce US dependence on foreign countries and ensure what’s invented in America is made in America in response to China’s challenge in biotechnology. What is your comment on this?

Mao Ning: I would refer you to competent authorities for those specific questions. To give you our principled position, let me stress that economic globalization is the reality and a historic trend and we hope the US can respect the law of market economy and the principle of fair competition, instead of hampering global technological exchange and trade.

Reuters: According to a Reuters report, the Biden administration plans next month to broaden curbs on US shipments to China of semiconductors used for artificial intelligence as well as chip-making tools. Does the foreign ministry have any comment on these latest potential measures?

Mao Ning: What the US is doing is purely “sci-tech hegemony”. It seeks to use its technological prowess as an advantage to hobble and suppress the development of emerging markets and developing countries. While trumpeting a level playing field and a so-called “rules-based order”, the US cares only about “America first” and believes might makes right. The US probably hopes that China and the rest of the developing world will forever stay at the lower end of the industrial chain. This is not constructive.

Reuters: Recently, the Ukrainian army’s counteroffensive has led to the withdrawal of Russian troops from a large swath of Ukrainian territory in what some analysts and government officials refer to as a turning point in this war. Does the foreign ministry have any comment on these recent developments? And can it say whether the Russian-Ukrainian conflict will be a topic of discussion in the upcoming SCO summit?

Mao Ning: Our position on the Ukraine crisis is consistent. We call on parties concerned to realize a ceasefire through dialogue and negotiation and find a way to accommodate the legitimate security concerns of all parties concerned as soon as possible. Also, we hope the international community will create the conditions and space for that.

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