Foreign Ministry Spokesperson Mao Ning’s Regular Press Conference on June 4, 2024

At China’s invitation, Special Envoy of Cuban President Miguel Díaz-Canel, Member of the Politburo of the Central Committee of the Cuban Communist Party and Minister of Foreign Affairs Bruno Rodríguez Parrilla will pay an official visit to China from June 5 to 9.

Hubei Media Group: To follow up on your announcement that Special Envoy of Cuban President, Member of the Politburo of the Central Committee of the Cuban Communist Party and Minister of Foreign Affairs Bruno Rodríguez Parrilla will visit China, can you share more about the program and China’s expectation for the visit?

Mao Ning: Foreign Minister Bruno Rodríguez is a dear old friend of the Chinese people. His upcoming visit to China as the special envoy of the Cuban President Díaz-Canel highlights the high-level political mutual trust and special friendship between China and Cuba.

China attaches high importance to the visit. Chinese leaders and heads of competent authorities will meet with special envoy Rodríguez and have in-depth exchanges of views with him on China-Cuba relations and issues of mutual interest.

China and Cuba are good friends, good comrades and good brothers. In recent years, under the strategic guidance of the two heads of state, China-Cuba relations have been extraordinarily strong and robust and have become a fine example of solidarity and cooperation between socialist countries and sincere mutual assistance between developing countries. China hopes that through this visit, the two sides will further enhance strategic communication, deliver on the important common understandings between the two heads of state, continue to deepen our special friendship and jointly build a China-Cuba community with a shared future.

Global Times: Election results in Mexico show that the governing coalition’s candidate Claudia Sheinbaum has been elected as the new President of Mexico and is set to become the country’s first female president in history. What is China’s comment on the election results?

Mao Ning: We express our heartfelt congratulations to Ms. Claudia Sheinbaum on her election as the President of Mexico. Mexico is a major country in Latin America and an important emerging market. Under the strategic guidance of the presidents of China and Mexico, our bilateral relations have maintained a sound momentum of growth, with deepening political mutual trust, fruitful practical cooperation, vibrant cultural and people-to-people exchanges, and close coordination on multilateral affairs. China always views its relations with Mexico from a strategic height and long-term perspective. We stand ready to work with the new government of Mexico to seek closer synergy between our development strategies, enrich the China-Mexico comprehensive strategic partnership, and bring the bilateral relations to a new level.

CCTV: We noted that during an interview on June 2, High Representative of the European Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy Josep Borrell mentioned that it’s very difficult to decouple from the Chinese economy. He said “we wish to continue in a mutually beneficial relationship, but it has to be fair and balanced.” On whether the EU will impose tariffs on China, he said that “we are not following the US” and that a trade war “is something that has to be avoided.” He said that “we believe in free trade, but trade has to be fair.” Do you have any comment?

Mao Ning: We noted relevant remarks. The Chinese side always believes that China-EU economic ties are mutually beneficial, protectionism has no future, and open cooperation is the right way forward. China and the EU are each other’s second largest trading partners with average trade per minute approaching US$1.5 million. The stock of two-way investment between China and the EU has exceeded US$250 billion, and businesses from both sides are investing more in each other’s markets. The China-Europe Railway Express (CRE) has made over 90,000 trips in total, which makes it a “golden route” for trade in Eurasia. The supply, industrial and value chains between China and Europe have become deeply integrated and mutually embedded.

China will stay committed to advancing high-level opening-up and providing an open, inclusive and transparent business environment for companies from all countries. We hope that the EU will act on its commitment to supporting free trade and opposing protectionism, and work with us to uphold the overall economic and trade cooperation between the two sides.

Reuters: Chinese state media said on Sunday that personnel on a Philippine ship pointed guns at China’s Coast Guard last month. The Philippine military spokesperson today rejected this at a press conference, saying that Philippine troops acted with the highest level of professionalism. What is China’s comment on this?

Mao Ning: On the situation at Ren’ai Jiao, China has made our position clear on multiple occasions. On this issue, it is the Philippines who has repeatedly infringed on China’s rights, made provocations and heightened tensions. We ask the Philippines to stop going back on its word and stop its provocations.

AFP: Palau, a Pacific island, was hit by a cyberattack recently. Palau claimed that Chinese hackers were behind it. Taiwan has condemned the attack and offered support. What’s China’s comment?

Mao Ning: I’m not familiar with what you mentioned. Let me say broadly that China firmly opposes and cracks down on all forms of cyberattacks in accordance with law. Taiwan is part of China. We hope that relevant country will recognize as soon as possible the prevailing trend and make an early decision that serves its own long-term interest.

Bloomberg: In an interview earlier today, the US Ambassador to Japan Rahm Emanuel made some comments about how China seems to be more and more isolated in the region. He said countries from Japan, to South Korea, to Australia, to Singapore, to the Philippines, and even Vietnam want America’s presence because they don’t want an unmoored, untethered China that disregards their own sovereignty. Does the Ministry of Foreign Affairs have any reaction to Mr. Emanuel’s comments?

Mao Ning: I have not seen the ambassador’s remarks yet and don’t see how he came to such a conclusion. China maintains friendly cooperation with countries in the region and beyond. I don’t know on what ground he made such remarks.

Reuters: Did the Foreign Ministry notice the Philippine military spokesperson’s response to a Chinese state media’s report on Sunday that Philippine personnel pointed guns at China Coast Guard? Could you share more information, such as whether Philippine personnel truly pointed guns at China Coast Guard? What’s the Chinese government’s comment on the action?

Mao Ning: The Philippines’ grounding a warship at Ren’ai Jiao is itself illegal. Since then, the Philippine side has further made frequent provocations, heightened tensions and escalated the situation. We find that simply unacceptable. China has more than once made clear its principled position on how this issue should be handled. We ask the Philippines to stop making provocations, and return to the right track of handling differences through dialogue and consultation.