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Foreign Ministry Spokesperson Mao Ning’s Regular Press Conference on October 16, 2023
2023-10-16 19:48

Beijing Daily: Special Envoy Zhai Jun of the Chinese Government on the Middle East Issue said in an interview over the weekend that in the ongoing Palestinian-Israeli conflict, four Chinese citizens have been killed and two are missing. Can you give us more details?

Mao Ning: As we’ve learned, it has been confirmed so far that four Chinese nationals have been killed, two are missing and six are injured in the conflict. We mourn deeply for the victims and offer our heartfelt sympathy to their families and those who are injured.

Relevant Chinese diplomatic institutions are doing everything they can to coordinate efforts to save lives and treat the injured, and make proper arrangements for the deceased. They have been urging relevant parties to do everything needed for the search and rescue of missing Chinese and take every effective step to keep Chinese nationals and institutions safe. Commercial flights between China and Israel are still in operation. We advise local Chinese nationals to fly back to China on commercial flights as soon as possible.

We will continue to carefully assess the security situation in Palestine and Israel, closely track air and ground accessibility and safety conditions and exert every effort to provide assistance to Chinese nationals.

CCTV: At the 54th session of the UN Human Rights Council concluded in Geneva a few days ago, the Chinese delegation made several initiatives. Can you share more information with us?

Mao Ning: The 54th session of the UN Human Rights Council (UNHRC) was held in Geneva from September 11 to October 13. The Chinese delegation engaged deeply in the work of the session to share China’s views, present China’s proposals and contribute China’s ideas, and played a constructive role in advancing the Council’s work.

First, we briefed on China’s vision and the progress on human rights. Putting the people front and center, we have found a human rights development path that fits our national realities. During the UNHRC, China actively shared our human rights vision and achievements, and called on all parties to engage in constructive dialogue and cooperation, which won extensive support.

Second, China took an active part in global human rights governance. A draft resolution on promoting and protecting economic, social and cultural rights within the context of addressing inequalities, of which China is the major initiator, was adopted with consensus for the first time, which represents a strong response to the international community’s call for greater emphasis on and input into economic, social and cultural rights, and will help better promote and protect human rights. China also made important proposals for protecting the rights and interests of specific groups including women, people with disabilities and the senior population.

Third, China upheld international fairness and justice at the UNHRC. We firmly upheld the UN Charter and the basic norms governing international relations, supported developing countries’ just proposals, opposed individual countries’ interference in other countries’ internal affairs under the pretext of human rights, opposed politicizing human rights issues and applying double standards, and supported countries’ efforts to explore human rights development paths that combine the principle of the universality of human rights and their own national realities. We also expressed concerns over human rights issues in some Western countries such as racial discrimination, hatred towards other religious beliefs, infringement on the rights of indigenous people, and abuse of unilateral compulsory measures, and urged those countries to take concrete steps to address them.

China has been elected Member of the Human Rights Council for the 2024-2026 term. Going forward, we will continue to uphold the common values of mankind, take an active part in global human rights governance, champion the vision of protecting human rights through upholding security and promoting human rights through development and cooperation, and make greater contribution to promoting the sound development of the global human rights cause and building a community with a shared future for mankind.

Reuters: It has been reported that the US will take steps to prevent American chip makers from selling semiconductors to China that circumvent government restrictions. The move aims to tackle loopholes as part of the Biden administration’s upcoming actions to block more AI chips exports. How does China respond to the US expanding these restrictions on chips exports to China?

Mao Ning: We have made our position clear on US restrictions of chip exports to China. The US needs to stop politicizing and weaponizing trade and tech issues and stop destabilizing global industrial and supply chains. We will closely follow the developments and firmly safeguard our rights and interests. 

Sky News: My question relates to the stabbing of an Israeli citizen in Beijing on Friday. I know it was confirmed that the attacker was a foreigner. Are you able to offer more information about where the attacker was from and whether it’s believed that anti-semitism played a role in the attack?

Mao Ning: Beijing police has released relevant information. To my knowledge, the police is investigating and handling the matter. China will continue to take effective measures to protect the security and safety of foreign institutions and personnel in China.

Bloomberg: Wang Yi called his Iranian counterpart Hossein Amir-Abdollahian over the weekend after speaking with US Secretary of State Antony Blinken. How much of a role will China play in solving the Gaza crisis peacefully? How much is it willing to work with the US on this issue?

Mao Ning: Over the weekend, Director of the Office of the Central Commission for Foreign Affairs Wang Yi had conversations with US Secretary of State Antony Blinken and other parties. We’ve released readouts, which you may refer to. 

China is closely following the current tensions between Palestine and Israel. We believe that the pressing priority is to promote deescalation, enable ceasefire and cessation of violence, protect civilians and avert a humanitarian disaster. In dealing with international and regional hotspot issues, major countries need to be objective and just and exercise calm and restraint. We stand ready to work with relevant parties of the international community to continue to play our role and make efforts for peace and stability in the Middle East.

Sky News: Are you able to offer any more information about which countries from the Middle East might be sending delegations to the Belt and Road summit due to start tomorrow? Are you able to clarify whether any delegates from Israel might be attending and are you able to offer information about whether there will be any additional meetings on the sidelines of the Belt and Road that might not have been previously planned to try and help diplomatic efforts in the Middle East?

Mao Ning: Thank you for your interest in the third Belt and Road Forum for International Cooperation. All interested countries are welcome to participate in the forum. There will soon be information about countries that will participate.

We have stated our position on the Palestinian-Israeli conflict on multiple occasions. China calls on relevant parties to immediately cease fire and restore peace. We will keep working with the international community to that end. 

AFP: It’s reported that special envoy Zhai Jun will visit the Middle East this week. Can you give us more information about which countries he plans to visit and whom and what groups or governments will he meet with?

Mao Ning: Special Envoy Zhai Jun’s visit aims to pool international consensus, urge relevant parties to stop hostilities, cool down the situation and create necessary conditions for political settlement. On the specific plan of the visit, we will release information in due course. Please check back for updates. 

NHK: How many countries and which leaders will attend the third Belt and Road Forum for International Cooperation?

Mao Ning: The third Belt and Road Forum for International Cooperation will be held starting from tomorrow, so please keep following the latest updates and specific information about the forum will be available very soon.

AFP: Foreign Minister Wang Yi just met with Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov today. Could you offer more information about their meeting, in particular, discussions about Ukraine and the current crisis in the Middle East?

Mao Ning: Member of the Political Bureau of the CPC Central Committee and Foreign Minister Wang Yi met with Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov this morning. We will release information in a timely manner. Please check back for updates.

Reuters: May we know how many foreign leaders or heads of state are coming to Beijing to attend the Belt and Road forum?

Mao Ning: There is a great deal of attention and focus on the BRF right now. The forum will open soon. There will be relevant information in due course.

Reuters: The Philippine military has called out China to stop what it calls “unsafe actions” in the South China Sea after a Chinese navy ship shadowed and attempted to cut off a Philippine navy vessel conducting a resupply mission near Thitu Island around the Spratly Islands late last week. Did the Chinese side attempt to disrupt the resupply mission and will the Chinese side continue to try to disrupt these resupply missions by the Philippines?

Mao Ning: Zhongye Dao is China’s territory. The Philippines has illegally occupied Zhongye Dao, which seriously violates China’s sovereignty. The Chinese warship’s navigation and patrol in waters of Zhongye Dao is lawful and legitimate. 

NHK: When will President Xi Jinping and President Putin hold bilateral summit talks?

Mao Ning: We’ll release information in due course. Please check back for updates.

NHK: Japanese singer Shinji Tanimura passed away. Does China have any comment?

Mao Ning: We express our condolences over Mr. Shinji Tanimura’s passing.

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