CCTV: According to reports, the China-Laos Railway has served 16 million passengers as of May 23. Some say while the railway has boosted trade and tourism links between China and Laos and the wider region, it remains to be seen whether it delivers tangible benefits to the local people. What’s your comment?
Mao Ning: The China-Laos Railway has seen booming passenger and freight services since it became open to traffic over a year ago. Last month, cross-border passenger trains started running in opposite directions departing from Kunming of China and Vientiane of Laos respectively. A one-way journey takes less than half a day. This has made people-to-people exchange much easier and given a strong boost to the development of tourism and trade cooperation.
You asked whether the China-Laos Railway delivers benefits to the local people. I can share with you the following:
The China-Laos Railway has been a boon in terms of employment. Since its operation started, the railway has employed more than 3,500 Laotian staff and created over 100,000 jobs indirectly by catalyzing progress in logistics, transportation, trade and commerce, tourism and other sectors. Thanks to the railway, more and more young people in Laos have the opportunity to travel beyond the mountains where they have always lived.
The China-Laos Railway has given a strong boost to trade. The railway has sent 3.26 million tonnes of exported cargo from Laos and Thailand to China. Transportation of goods from many ASEAN countries have also benefited from this golden transportation route. Today, it only takes three days for glutinous rice from Laos and durian from Thailand to reach the tables of Chinese consumers.
Ecological conservation has been a top priority during the construction and operation of the China-Laos Railway. The railway avoided going through six natural and cultural protection areas and protected forests at the national level. The total greening area along the railway is over 3 million square meters. All these efforts are aimed to ensure that the beautiful natural landscape will not be affected.
The China-Laos Railway is an epitome of China’s Belt and Road cooperation with the world. We aim to share more opportunities generated by connectivity with regional countries to achieve development and prosperity for all.
Reuters: Some Western countries and the analytics team of the US-based Microsoft said on Wednesday that a Chinese hacking group recently launched attacks against US key infrastructure, including in Guam. What’s the foreign ministry’s comment?
Mao Ning: We noted this extremely unprofessional report – a patchwork with a broken chain of evidence. We also noted that the US National Security Agency (NSA) and the cybersecurity agencies of the UK, Australia, Canada and New Zealand, almost simultaneously issued similar reports. Apparently, this has been a collective disinformation campaign launched by the US through the Five Eyes to serve its geopolitical agenda.
It’s widely known that the Five Eyes is the world’s biggest intelligence association and the NSA the world’s biggest hacking group. It is ironic that the Five Eyes jointly released a report filled with disinformation.
The involvement of certain company in the report you mentioned indicates that the US is using additional channels to spread disinformation other than through government agencies. This is not the first time – and certainly not the last time – for them to do so. Whatever their subterfuge, it will not change the fact that the US is the champion of hacking.
I remember that last September, details were revealed about NSA’s attacks on China’s Northwestern Polytechnical University in a report issued by Chinese institutions. The US should explain immediately about its cyber attacks and should not spread disinformation and detract attention from what it had done.
TASS: Chinese Special Representative for Eurasian Affairs Li Hui said yesterday at a meeting with the German side on the Ukraine crisis in Berlin that “China encourages European countries to start looking at the root causes of the crisis to find a way to sort out high and low priorities, and supports their efforts to ensure long-term stability on the European continent”. Could you share more with us on that? What do you think is the root causes of the Ukraine crisis?
Mao Ning: The Ukraine crisis is a tragedy that could have been avoided. But it has come to where it stands today. There are painful lessons that all parties should truly reflect upon. The Ukraine crisis is essentially an eruption of the problems built up in the security governance of Europe. China always makes its own judgment independently based on the merits of the issue. We stand firmly on the side of peace and dialogue and the right side of history. We have been and will remain committed to promoting talks for peace. We stand ready to work with the international community to continue to play a constructive role in seeking a political settlement of the Ukraine crisis.
AFP: The outgoing president of Paraguay said yesterday that the country is open to trading with China, but would not switch diplomatic allegiance from Taiwan. Do you have any response to the statement?
Mao Ning: There is only one China in the world and Taiwan is an inalienable part of China’s territory. The one-China principle is a universally recognized norm in international relations and a prevailing consensus among the international community. The fact that 182 countries have established diplomatic relations with China on the basis of the one-China principle demonstrates that standing up for the one-China principle is the right thing to do. It has the overwhelming support of the international community and represents the trend of the world. Relevant countries need to see the prevailing trend of the world, choose the right side of history together with the overwhelming majority of countries and make the right decision soon that serves their fundamental and long-term interests.