CNR: President Xi Jinping spoke with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy on the phone yesterday. Could you share more details with us?
Mao Ning: On the afternoon of April 26, President Xi Jinping spoke with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy on the phone at the invitation of the latter. The two leaders exchanged views on China-Ukraine relations and the Ukraine crisis.
President Xi noted that China-Ukraine relations, after 31 years of development, have reached a level of strategic partnership, boosting development and revitalization of the two countries. President Xi commended President Zelenskyy for stating, on multiple occasions, the importance he attaches to developing the bilateral relationship and advancing cooperation with China, and thanked the Ukrainian side for its strong assistance to the evacuation of Chinese nationals last year. Mutual respect for sovereignty and territorial integrity is the political foundation of China-Ukraine relations. The two sides need to look to the future, view and handle the bilateral relations from a long-term perspective, carry forward the tradition of mutual respect and sincerity, and take the China-Ukraine strategic partnership forward. China’s readiness to develop relations with Ukraine is consistent and clear-cut. No matter how the international situation evolves, China will work with Ukraine to advance mutually beneficial cooperation.
President Xi pointed out that the Ukraine crisis is evolving in complex ways with major impacts on the international landscape. On the Ukraine crisis, China always stands on the side of peace. Its core stance is to facilitate talks for peace. President Xi noted his proposals of four points about what must be done, four things the international community must do together and three observations. On this basis, China released its Position on the Political Settlement of the Ukraine Crisis. China did not create the Ukraine crisis, nor is it a party to the crisis. As a permanent member of the UN Security Council and a responsible major country, China would not sit idly by, nor would it add oil to the fire, still less exploit the situation for self gains. Everything China does is aboveboard. Dialogue and negotiation are the only viable way forward. There is no winner in nuclear wars. On the nuclear issue, all relevant parties must stay calm and exercise restraint, truly act in the interests of their own future and that of humanity, and jointly manage the crisis. With rational thinking and voices now on the rise, it is important to seize the opportunity and build up favorable conditions for the political settlement of the crisis. It is hoped that all parties would seriously reflect on the Ukraine crisis and jointly explore ways to bring lasting peace and security to Europe through dialogue. China will continue to facilitate talks for peace and make its efforts for early ceasefire and restoration of peace. China will send the Special Representative of the Chinese Government on Eurasian Affairs to Ukraine and other countries to have in-depth communication with all parties on the political settlement of the Ukraine crisis. China has sent multiple batches of humanitarian assistance to Ukraine and will keep providing help to the best of its ability.
President Zelenskyy congratulated President Xi on his re-election and commended China for its remarkable achievements. He expressed confidence that under the leadership of President Xi, China will successfully address various challenges and continue to move forward. China upholds the purposes and principles of the UN Charter in international affairs and has significant influence on the international stage. The Ukrainian side is committed to the one-China policy, and hopes to advance all-round bilateral cooperation with China, open up a new chapter in Ukraine-China relations, and jointly safeguard world peace and stability. President Zelenskyy shared his views on the current state of the Ukraine crisis. He thanked China for providing humanitarian assistance to Ukraine and welcomed China’s important role in restoring peace and seeking diplomatic solution to the crisis.
Since the full escalation of the Ukraine crisis, China has been speaking out for peace and facilitating talks for peace, as the world can see. China’s position on the issue, in a nutshell, is to promote talks for peace. China will continue to play a constructive role in its own way for the political settlement of the Ukraine crisis.
CCTV: Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy has reportedly signed a decree on April 26 to appoint former strategic industries minister Pavlo Riabikin as the new ambassador to China. Do you have any comment?
Mao Ning: China welcomes Ukraine’s appointment of a new Ambassador to China and will provide facilitation for the fulfillment of his duty.
Bloomberg: Just some questions about the delegation. It mentions other countries. Can you give more details on the other countries? Can you also tell us a little bit about the timeframe and also maybe tell us something about the head of the delegation Li Hui? The fact that he was a former ambassador to Russia on the one hand means he has expertise, but on the other hand, could this also bring into question whether he represents a neutral party to the discussions?
Mao Ning: About the Special Representative of the Chinese Government on Eurasian Affairs’ visit to Ukraine and other countries, we will make further announcements in due course. Please check back for updates. The Special Representative appointed by China is certainly someone well-versed in relevant affairs and capable of playing a positive role in facilitating talks for peace. Let me also stress that China will continue to work with the international community to play a constructive role for the political settlement of the Ukraine crisis.
Beijing Daily: The US and the ROK issued the Washington Declaration on April 26 local time as one of the outcomes of President Yoon Suk Yeol’s visit to the US. The Declaration says that the US will upgrade the extended deterrence it provides to the ROK, including through enhanced consultation over a nuclear crisis, increased military exercises and training activities and table-top simulation, the establishment of a new Nuclear Consultative Group and further expansion of the US regular visibility of strategic assets to the Korean Peninsula. Sources said the US is planning to deploy a strategic nuclear submarine in waters off the Korean Peninsula. Do you have any comment?
Mao Ning: The US puts its own geopolitical interests before the security of the whole region. The US has been a source of tension through exploiting the issues on the Korean Peninsula. The US behavior is a result of its Cold War mentality. What the US has done stokes bloc confrontation, undermines the nuclear non-proliferation system and hurts the strategic interest of other countries. It has also increased tensions on the peninsula and jeopardized regional peace and stability. This is the very opposite of the goal to denuclearize the peninsula and we are firmly against this.
AFP: US President Joe Biden said yesterday that a nuclear attack by the DPRK against the US or its allies or partners will “result in the end of whatever regime”. What’s your response?
Mao Ning: The issues concerning the Korean Peninsula are highly complex and sensitive. All sides need to grasp the crux of the issues and play a constructive role in their political resolution through dialogue and consultation, rather than deliberately create tension, stoke confrontation and hype up about threat.
Xinhua News Agency: On the evening of April 26, Wu Xi, Director-General of the Department of Consular Affairs of the Chinese Foreign Ministry, said in an interview that Chinese nationals evacuated from Sudan have boarded the navy vessels and are now on their way home. Could you share with us whether the evacuation of Chinese nationals from Sudan has been completed?
Mao Ning: Since armed conflict broke out in Sudan, we have resolutely implemented the important instructions of General Secretary Xi Jinping. We have worked around the clock to protect the safety of Chinese nationals and organize evacuation operations. As of today, more than 1,300 Chinese nationals have been brought to safety. Some have left Sudan by Chinese warships and boats and some are on their way out of the country. There are still a small number of Chinese nationals outside the Sudanese capital Khartoum. We have been closely following their safety situation and will continue to do our utmost to help them. Guided by the vision of a community with a shared future for mankind, we have actively helped bring foreign nationals out of Sudan during our own evacuation operations. So far, we’ve helped the nationals of five countries to leave Sudan by Chinese ships. China will continue to do what we can for other countries that have asked China’s help for evacuation.
Yonhap News Agency: The ROK and US leaders reiterated in a Joint Statement released after their talks “the importance of preserving peace and stability in the Taiwan Strait”. How does China comment on this?
Mao Ning: We have noted what was said about Taiwan in the US-ROK Joint Statement and the ROK leader’s interview. I would like to stress that the Taiwan question is purely an internal affair at the core of China’s core interests. Resolving the Taiwan question is a matter for the Chinese that brooks no interference from anyone. The real status quo of the Taiwan question is that both sides of the Taiwan Strait belong to one and the same China. Taiwan is part of China. China’s sovereignty and territorial integrity has never been split. It is the “Taiwan independence” separatists seeking to create “two Chinas” and “one China, one Taiwan” and the external forces interfering in the situation by fudging and hollowing out the one-China principle who are responsible for undermining the status quo. We urge the US and the ROK to see the true nature of the Taiwan question, follow the one-China principle, be prudent when it comes to the Taiwan question, and avoid going further down the wrong and dangerous path.
Anadolu Agency: Yesterday, a Chinese news network shared a social media post about Türkiye’s President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan’s current health condition. The post was later removed. The Presidency’s Directorate of Communications called it disinformation. The Director of the office pointed out that might amount to a disinformation campaign and attempt to intervene in the upcoming elections. Does the foreign ministry have any comments about that?
Mao Ning: I’m not aware of the situation you mentioned. What I can tell you is that Türkiye and China are friendly countries. We always oppose interference in a country’s internal affairs. The general elections are Türkiye’s internal affair and China will not interfere in that.
Hubei Media Group: Yesterday, State Councilor and Foreign Minister Qin Gang and the foreign ministers of Central Asian countries attended a ceremony to launch the Chang’an special freight train of China-Europe Railway Express from Xi’an to Central Asia, which marks the tenth anniversary of the Belt and Road Initiative. Could you share more details about the event? How does China see the role of the China-Europe Railway Express in boosting world economic growth?
Mao Ning: Yesterday, State Councilor and Foreign Minister Qin Gang and the foreign ministers of Central Asian countries attended a ceremony to launch the Chang’an special freight train of China-Europe Railway Express from Xi’an to Central Asia, which marks the tenth anniversary of the Belt and Road Initiative.
Since the BRI was put forward ten years ago, the China-Europe Railway Express has been gathering steam and has become an important trade route across the Eurasian continent and an artery of BRI cooperation. By the end of 2022, it has run 65,000 trips and shipped six million TEUs of freight worth $300 billion. A network of 82 lines now connects over 200 cities in 24 European countries, covering virtually the entire Eurasia. The Railway Express has removed bottlenecks in cross-border trade and unlocked the potential for economic growth in the region. It is a steel caravan that could catalyze consensus and galvanize vitality across the Eurasian continent.
The bustling China-Europe Railway Express is a reflection of China’s robust economic growth and commitment to high-level opening-up. In the first quarter of this year, China’s import and export with BRI partner countries increased by 16.8% year-on-year. We are convinced that the China-Europe Railway Express will bring more cooperation opportunities for countries along the route and the BRI will inject fresh impetus into world economic growth.
China News Service: A spokesperson of China’s Ministry of Public Security (MPS) said on April 26 that the MPS has lodged stern representation to US law enforcement agencies over the indictment of Chinese police. Does the foreign ministry have any further comment?
Mao Ning: Recently, the US has maliciously concocted the so-called “transnational repression” narrative, pieced together fabricated evidence and prosecuted Chinese law enforcement officers and other government officials. Such flagrant political manipulation is aimed at spreading the “China threat” narrative. China firmly rejects this and has lodged stern representation and strong objection with the US side through diplomatic and law enforcement channels.
What the US has done is contrary to the basic facts, professional ethics and the rule of law. It is essentially politicizing and weaponizing legal instruments. We demand an immediate stop to such erroneous acts. If the US refuses to change course and goes down that wrong path, we will take resolute countermeasures.