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Foreign Ministry Spokesperson Mao Ning’s Regular Press Conference on May 30, 2023
2023-05-30 19:12

CCTV: Tensions in Kosovo and Metohija Serbia escalated recently. It was reported that on May 29, NATO-led Kosovo Force and Kosovo police used violence to drive away Serb protesters, leaving dozens injured. Do you have any comment?

Mao Ning: China is following closely the developments. We support Serbia’s effort to safeguard sovereignty and territorial integrity, oppose unilateral actions by the temporary institutions in Pristina and call on it to perform its duty of establishing an association/community of Serb majority municipalities. We urge NATO to respect relevant country’s sovereignty and territorial integrity and truly contribute to peace in the region.

China Daily: On May 26, about 800 Al-Shabaab militants attacked a military base in Buulo Mareer, Somalia, and they exchanged fire with the African Union Transition Mission in Somalia (ATMIS). Uganda’s President Yoweri Museveni and Uganda’s military immediately condemned the terrorist attack and said there will be an investigation into the attack. The US, the EU and Türkiye also condemned the terrorist attack and stressed that they will as always support the African Union-led Somali peace process. Do you have any comment?

Mao Ning: Uganda has actively participated in the peace and security affairs of the Horn of Africa and has been the largest troop-contributing country for the African Union peacekeeping force in Somalia since 2007. China highly commends that. Terrorism is the common enemy of humanity. We strongly condemn the terrorist attack on the military base in Buulo Mareer, Somalia, and will continue to firmly support the Somali peace process and regional countries’ effort to uphold peace and security. We express our deepest sympathies to the Uganda government, soldiers attacked and their families.

Reuters: Our question is on reports saying that US Pentagon said China has declined its request for a meeting between the US Defense Secretary and China’s Defense Minister in Singapore. Some security analysts are also saying that US sanctions against the Chinese Defense Minister could be the reason why. Can the ministry confirm whether China declined the meeting and the reason for it?

Mao Ning: The US is clear about the reason why China-US military dialogue faces difficulties. The US should earnestly respect China’s sovereignty, security and interest concerns, immediately correct wrong practice, show sincerity and create necessary atmosphere and conditions for dialogue and communication between Chinese and US militaries.

Beijing Daily: May 29, 2023 was the 21st International Day of UN Peacekeepers. Could you talk about China’s participation in UN peacekeeping missions?

Mao Ning: UN peacekeeping missions are important means to advance international peace and security. Over the past seven decades or so, the UN has conducted over 70 missions, rallying more than one million peacekeepers under the UN flag and making outstanding contributions to safeguarding and restoring regional peace and assisting in the resolution of regional conflicts. The Blue Helmets have become a symbol of peace and hope, winning wide acclaim from the international community.

In 1990, China sent military observers to the UN, which marked the beginning of its participation in UN peacekeeping operations (UNPKOs). In 1992, China dispatched its first formed military unit of Blue Helmets to participate in UNPKOs. Over the past three decades and more, China has sent over 50,000 peacekeepers to participate in UNPKOs in more than 20 countries and regions. A total of 25 Chinese peacekeepers have made the ultimate sacrifice. China is the second largest contributor to UN peacekeeping assessments and the largest troop contributor to peacekeeping operations among the five permanent members of the Security Council. As we speak, more than 2,200 Chinese officers are working in eight peacekeeping mission areas. Chinese Blue Helmets have become a vital force in the UN’s peacekeeping efforts. Chinese peacekeepers adhere to the purposes and principles of the UN Charter, act in strict accordance with their mandate, and faithfully fulfill peacekeeping missions, making important contributions to safeguarding world peace and promoting common development.

Against complex and severe international security situation, the role and significance of UNPKOs have become more prominent. China will continue to work in close cooperation with the international community to increase the efficacy and efficiency of UNPKOs so that they can play a bigger role in safeguarding international peace and security. 

Bloomberg: You said that the US is clear on the reasons for there being no military-to-military discussions. Does that mean you are confirming that the Chinese side has told the US that the reason that there is no meeting plan is because the Chinese Defense Minister is sanctioned?

Mao Ning: As I answered just now, the US is clear about the reason behind difficulties facing China-US military dialogue. The US should show sincerity, take concrete actions and create necessary conditions for dialogue and communication between the two militaries.

TASS: Reuters reported that Elon Musk, the CEO of the US electric-vehicle maker Tesla, is expected to visit China this week and meet with Chinese government officials. What’s the foreign ministry’s comment?

Mao Ning: China always welcomes business figures from all countries, including Mr. Musk, to visit China for a deeper understanding of the country and mutually beneficial cooperation. China is firmly committed to advancing high-level opening up and fostering a market-oriented, law-based and internationalized business environment. We welcome foreign companies to invest and do business in China, explore the Chinese market and share in development opportunities.

AFP: Malaysian authorities say they are questioning the crew of a Chinese ship suspected of looting two World War Two shipwrecks in Malaysian waters. Is the foreign ministry aware of this case and do you have any information you can share with us?

Mao Ning: We have noted that. The Chinese Embassy in Malaysia is in close communication with Malaysia to learn relevant information and ask the Malaysian side to handle the case justly in accordance with the law, earnestly protect the security and lawful rights and interests of Chinese citizens and report the progress of the investigation in a timely manner.

Reuters: Our question is also about Tesla’s Elon Musk in China. We reported that he has arrived in Beijing. We would like to ask if he will be meeting senior Chinese officials in Beijing? If he is, who will he be meeting and what will they be discussing?

Mao Ning: We will release timely information. Please stay tuned.

Bloomberg: Taiwan’s vice president Lai Ching-te said that the Chinese leader is the head of state he would most like to have dinner with. He said and I quote, “If I had the opportunity to have dinner with him, I would urge him to chill out a little and not put everyone under so much pressure. People’s wellbeing is the most important thing and peace benefits everyone.” Do you have any comment about the comments from vice president Lai?

Mao Ning: Taiwan is part of China and does not have the so-called “vice president”. This is not about foreign affairs and I have no comment. If the DPP authorities really care about peace and stability across the Taiwan Strait, the key lies in upholding the one-China principle.

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