At the invitation of State Councilor and Foreign Minister Qin Gang, Malaysia’s Minister of Foreign Affairs Zambry Abd Kadir will visit China from March 28 to 29.
CCTV: Could you share with us the program of Foreign Minister Zambry Abd Kadir’s visit to China?
Mao Ning: This will be Foreign Minister Zambry Abd Kadir’s first visit to China in his current capacity. State Councilor and Foreign Minister Qin Gang will have talks with him. The two sides will exchange views with a focus on bilateral relations and international and regional issues of mutual interest and prepare for the important upcoming meeting between the leaders of the two countries.
Reuters: According to a recent study, China spent $240 billion bailing out 22 developing countries between 2008 and 2021. With the amount increasing in recent years, those countries have struggled to pay Belt and Road loans. What’s China’s comment on this?
Mao Ning: Due to various external factors, debt risks facing developing countries have recently risen significantly. Some people have exploited this situation by falsely accusing China of “debt traps” and “opaque loans”. China does not accept this.
China has always been committed to supporting developing countries in their socioeconomic development. Insufficient funding is a bottleneck issue for many countries in their pursuit of prosperity and rejuvenation. In light of their respective need for development, China has focused our outbound investment and financing cooperation on infrastructure and production to help developing countries enhance their capacity for self-generated and sustainable development. Over the years, China has helped African countries build and upgrade more than 10,000 kilometers of railways, nearly 100,000 kilometers of roads, nearly 1,000 bridges and nearly 100 ports. This has contributed to these countries’ economy and peoples’ livelihood and delivered tangible benefits to the local communities.
China has always carried out investment and financing cooperation with developing countries based on the principle of openness and transparency. China acts in accordance with the laws of the market and international rules and respects the will of others. We never force others to borrow from us or forcibly ask any country for debt repayment. We never attach any political strings to loan agreements, or seek any selfish political interests. China attaches importance to debt sustainability, and has issued the guiding principles on financing the development of the Belt and Road and a framework for debt sustainability analysis in collaboration with countries concerned to help partner countries improve their debt management capacity. To date, none of the partner countries have accepted the claim that the Belt and Road Initiative has created “debt traps”.
China has always done its utmost to help developing countries ease their debt burden. President Xi Jinping announced that China would re-channel US$10 billion its SDR of the IMF to Africa, and work is underway to deliver his pledge. China has fully implemented the G20 Debt Service Suspension Initiative, ranks the first among G20 members in terms of deferral amount, and has participated in debt treatment of country-specific cases together with the members concerned. World Bank statistics show that multilateral financial institutions and commercial creditors account for more than 80% of the sovereign debt of developing countries. It is imperative that these institutions participate in debt treatment guided by the principle of joint actions and fair burden-sharing.
On the debt issue, developing countries know best from their own experience who is a sincere and reliable friend and who is a rumor-monger with ulterior motives. This is also quite clear to people with insights across the world.
Reuters: A group of Japanese lawmakers plans to urge the government to ban TikTok if it is used for disinformation campaigns. What’s China’s response?
Mao Ning: We have made our position clear on multiple occasions recently. We oppose certain countries’ suppression of the company concerned and believe that all countries should provide an open, just and non-discriminatory business environment for foreign companies investing and operating there.
AFP: Taiwan officials announced today that Fiji has renamed Taiwan’s representative office as the Trade Mission of the Republic of China (Taiwan), upgrading it from the previous name of Taipei Trade Office. Does the foreign ministry have any comments on this recent decision by Fiji?
Mao Ning: There is but one China in the world, and Taiwan is an inalienable part of China’s territory. The Government of the People’s Republic of China is the sole legal Government representing the whole of China. This is a prevailing consensus of the international community and a universally recognized norm governing international relations. We oppose any attempt to create “two Chinas” or “one China, one Taiwan”. Such attempt will not succeed.
Reuters: According to reports, the Victorian premier of Australia is set to travel to China this week on a trade mission, the first visit to China by an Australian political figure since the signing of the AUKUS deal. What’s China’s comment?
Mao Ning: To improve, maintain and achieve sound growth of China-Australia relations serves the shared interest of both sides. We hope Australia will work with China in line with the principles of mutual respect, mutual benefit and seeking common ground while shelving differences to properly handle issues we disagree on, expand cooperation and promote the sound and steady growth of bilateral relations.
People’s Daily: The UN 2023 Water Conference was held at the UN headquarters in New York from March 22 to 24. A Chinese science team presented the UNGA President with global water resources data products. Do you have more information on that?
Mao Ning: Launching a Sustainable Development Satellite Constellation Plan, developing and sharing data and information for Sustainable Development Goals monitoring is one of the 32 deliverables of the High-level Dialogue on Global Development chaired by President Xi Jinping in June 2022. In 2021, China launched the world’s first space science satellite dedicated to serving the UN 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development. Under the framework of the Global Development Initiative (GDI), Chinese scientists have been working with other parties to advance the Sustainable Development Satellite Constellation Plan. The gift of global water resources data products to UNGA President Csaba Kőrösi focuses on multiple SDGs such as Clean Water and Sanitation, Life on Land, and Climate Action, among others. It provides scientific data for quantitative monitoring and evaluation of the implementation of SDGs in countries and territories across the world. This concrete step reflects China’s firm resolve to act on the GDI and support implementation of the 2030 Agenda.
With 2023 being the year for the mid-term review of the SDGs, China stands ready to step up practical cooperation with all sides and jointly conduct monitoring and evaluation of relevant scientific data under the framework of the GDI to contribute more to faster implementation of the 2030 Agenda.
Reuters: A senior US official today said TikTok represents a strategic challenge and compared it to a Trojan horse. Do you have any comment?
Mao Ning: We’ve stated our position on this issue on multiple occasions. The US side has provided no evidence or proof to support its allegation, yet it has been abusing its state power to block and suppress the company concerned. This seriously violates the principles of market economy and fair competition, of which the US claims itself to be a champion. This is a classic example of US hegemonism. The US is hurting not just the interests of the company and the American people, but also its reputation as a nation and investor confidence in the US business environment.
Reuters: According to Polish media reports, a Polish government advisory body has recommended banning TikTok from government phones. What is China’s response?
Mao Ning: All countries should provide a fair, just and non-discriminatory environment for the normal operation of foreign companies.
Associated Press of Pakistan: Last week Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif inaugurated a coal power project built under the framework of the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor. He said this project will give a big boost to Pakistan’s economy in the coming years. Do you have any comment on that?
Mao Ning: China appreciates the remarks of Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif. As the Prime Minister said, this project is transforming Thar, a desert region, into a power source for entire Pakistan and serving Pakistan’s economy and people’s wellbeing.
This project is an epitome of the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC). As an important flagship project of the Belt and Road Initiative, CPEC has made good headway with fruitful outcomes in energy cooperation. Such cooperation has created many jobs for the local community and helped improve the energy mix and energy security in Pakistan. China stands ready to work with Pakistan to implement the common understandings between the leaders of the two countries, and advance high-quality CPEC cooperation. This will inject impetus into the sustainable development of Pakistan’s economy and society, and bring more benefits to the two countries and peoples.
NBC: Former Australian Prime Minister and new Australian Ambassador to the US Mr. Kevin Rudd said that jump-starting anti-cancer collaboration for example between the US and China could be the new “Ping-Pong Diplomacy” that could bring some stability and positive force for the bilateral relationship. Would you agree to such kind of proposal?
Mao Ning: We remain open and positive to having public health cooperation with the US and the rest of the world. We are always ready to be part of the effort for a healthier world and better lives for all.
Global Times: The US House is considering the Undersea Cable Control Act adopted by its Committee to eliminate the availability to foreign adversaries of goods and technologies capable of supporting undersea cables and for other purposes, and thus consolidate and enhance the US control and competitive edge over key infrastructure. Reports from Western media, citing anonymous sources, say that the US, concerned about the so-called Chinese spying, has thwarted the Chinese company HMN Tech’s bid for several projects, including those related to undersea cables in recent years. Do you have any comment?
Mao Ning: I noted the reports. The Chinese government always encourages our companies to engage in international investment and cooperation in accordance with market principles, international rules and local laws. We oppose the US’ overstretching the concept of national security to hobble foreign companies and abusing state power to disrupt normal market rules and order. The pursuit of “competitive edge” does not legitimize bad behavior. It does not mean one can break the rules, or even falsely accuse others of “spying” in order to justify one’s wrongful behavior.
The US needs to earnestly respect the principles of market economy and fair competition and stop smearing and suppressing Chinese companies.
Yonhap News Agency: Chinese Ambassador to the DPRK Mr. Wang Yajun reportedly arrived in the DPRK yesterday to take up his new post. Can you confirm this? If the news is true, what significance does this have for the cultural and people-to-people exchange between the two countries going forward?
Mao Ning: As agreed between China and the DPRK, Mr. Wang Yajun, the new Chinese Ambassador to the DPRK, arrived in the DPRK on March 27 to assume office.
China and the DPRK are friendly neighbors linked by mountains and rivers. In recent years, under the strategic guidance of the top leaders of the two parties and the two countries, China-DPRK relations have entered a new historical period and kept making new progress. We believe that with his assumption of office, Ambassador Wang Yajun will play an important role in advancing the traditional friendship and cooperation between China and the DPRK.
Dragon TV: In a vote early this morning, the UN Security Council failed to adopt a draft resolution on the sabotage of the Nord Stream pipelines put forward by Russia. What’s China’s comment?
Mao Ning: The Chinese side made clear our position in the explanation of vote after the voting at the Security Council.
The UN Security Council needs to step up to its responsibility for international peace and security. The draft resolution presented by Russia offers a meaningful option for the search for truth, yet the Security Council failed to agree on the draft. We express our regret and note that quite a few Security Council member states condemned the act of sabotage on the Nord Stream pipelines in their statements. Some called for speeding up the investigation and more transparency. This highlights the concern regarding the security of transnational infrastructure and the crucial importance of a comprehensive, impartial, transparent and independent international investigation.
The US is usually enthusiastic about investigating developing countries, yet it has been hesitant to do so on an incident that seriously threatens international peace and security. This is typical double standard. What is the US afraid of? We hope the ongoing investigations will make progress and let the world know what truly happened soon, and that the perpetrators will be brought to justice.
AFP: President Xi had a phone call today with Saudi Arabian leader Mohammed bin Salman. Does the foreign ministry have anything to add about the content of this call?
Mao Ning: You may refer to the detailed readout we released on the call this morning between President Xi Jinping and Saudi Crown Prince and Prime Minister Mohammed bin Salman.
CCTV: According to reports, the Russian foreign ministry spokesperson, commenting on the second “Summit for Democracy” hosted by the US, said just now that the US has no moral authority to point fingers at other countries’ democracy and voiced opposition to the US’s monopoly of the definition of democracy. What’s China’s comment?
Mao Ning: We applaud the remarks of the Russian side.
We have stated our position on the so-called “Summit for Democracy” on multiple occasions. Despite the many problems at home, the US is hosting another “Summit for Democracy” in the name of promoting democracy, an event that blatantly draws an ideological line between countries and creates division in the world. The act violates the spirit of democracy and further reveals the US’ pursuit of primacy behind the façade of democracy.
What our world needs today is not to stoke division in the name of democracy and pursue de facto supremacy-oriented unilateralism, but to strengthen solidarity and cooperation and uphold true multilateralism on the basis of the purposes and principles of the UN Charter. What our world needs today is not to interfere in other countries’ internal affairs under the guise of democracy, but to advocate genuine democracy, reject pseudo-democracy and jointly promote greater democracy in international relations. What our world needs today is not a “Summit for Democracy” that hypes up confrontation, but a conference of solidarity that focuses on taking real actions to solve prominent global challenges. We advise the US to stop pointing fingers at other countries and stop interfering in their internal affairs in the name of promoting democracy.