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Foreign Ministry Spokesperson Mao Ning’s Regular Press Conference on December 26, 2022

2022-12-26 16:59

Beijing Daily: The first phase of the Lagos Rail Mass Transit’s Blue Line in Nigeria built by a Chinese company was recently completed. This is the first electric-powered light rail in West Africa and yet another outcome of high-quality Belt and Road cooperation. What is your comment?

Mao Ning: The first phase of the Lagos Rail Mass Transit’s Blue Line is the first electric-powered light rail in West Africa and the largest infrastructure investment project in Lagos State. The project, now completed, will greatly reduce traffic congestion, ease people’s travel, contribute to economic growth, and provide railway construction experience for the rest of Nigeria and other countries in West Africa.

This year has seen steady progress and fruitful outcomes of Belt and Road cooperation. China signed Belt and Road cooperation documents with another five countries this year. In the first 11 months of this year, China’s trade with Belt and Road partners grew by 20.4 percent despite downward trends elsewhere. The number of services and TEUs for cargo shipping of the China-Europe Railway Express rose by 10 percent and 11 percent year-on-year respectively. A large number of signature projects made landmark progress: the first high-speed railway in ASEAN made its trial run; the first expressway in Cambodia is now up and running; and the Pelješac Bridge in Croatia and the Karot Hydropower project in Pakistan were put into operation. High-quality Belt and Road cooperation has become a new engine of development in various countries and has been warmly welcomed by the people in the participating countries concerned.

Next year will mark the tenth anniversary of President Xi Jinping’s proposal of the Belt and Road Initiative. China is ready to work with all parties to take stock of the achievements and draw up a blueprint to make this “belt of development” that benefits the world more prosperous and broaden this “road to happiness” that benefits humanity.

China News Service: It’s reported that Nepalese President Bhandari has appointed Communist Party of Nepal (Maoist Centre) Chairman Pushpa Kamal Dahal “Prachanda” as the country’s new Prime Minister, said the President’s spokesperson on December 25. Prachanda will be sworn in on December 26. Do you have any comment? What’s your expectation for China-Nepal relations going forward?

Mao Ning: We have noted the smooth and successful general elections in Nepal. We congratulate Mr. Prachanda on his appointment as the new Prime Minister of Nepal. We believe that with the concerted efforts of the Nepalese government and people and through the consultation and coordination of various political parties and political forces, Nepal will enjoy continued stability and socioeconomic development.

As Nepal’s traditional friend and neighbor, China deeply values its relations with Nepal. We stand ready to work with the new Nepalese government to expand and deepen friendly exchange and cooperation across the board, pursue high-quality Belt and Road cooperation, inject new impetus into our strategic cooperative partnership featuring ever-lasting friendship for development and prosperity and deliver more benefits for our two peoples.

AFP: Yesterday the National Health Commission said it will no longer publish daily figures for COVID cases and deaths. How will China respect the pledge to be transparent with the pandemic?

Mao Ning: The National Health Commission announced that from December 25 on, it would no longer publish daily COVID-19 figures and that relevant information will be released by the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). The CDC has released a statement on its website, and you may check that. If you would like more details, I would refer you to the competent authorities in China.

CCTV: The Ministry of Foreign Affairs and External Trade of Solomon Islands announced on December 25 that John Moffat Fugui, the country’s ambassador to China, had passed away in Beijing after suffering cardiac arrest . What’s China’s response?

Mao Ning: We extend condolences over Ambassador John Moffat Fugui’s passing away due to illness. State Councilor and Foreign Minister Wang Yi has sent a message of condolences to the foreign minister of Solomon Islands to express sincere sympathies to Solomon Islands and the family of Ambassador Fugui.

As Solomon Islands’ first ambassador to China, Ambassador Fugui actively contributed to the growth of China-Solomon Islands relations and the friendship between our two countries. We lament his unfortunate sudden passing. The Chinese side is actively assisting Solomon Islands in handling the related matters.

China Daily: Iranian Foreign Minister Hossein Amir-Abdollahian tweeted on December 23 that he and EU High Representative for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy Josep Borrel agreed during their meeting on taking the final steps for negotiations on resuming compliance with the JCPOA. “The window is open, but not forever”. What’s China’s comment?

Mao Ning: China has noted relevant reports. Negotiations on resuming compliance with the JCPOA are in the final phase. Despite the complex and challenging prospects facing the talks, there is still hope for reaching an agreement. All parties need to stay committed to dialogue and negotiation and step up diplomatic effort to bring the JCPOA back on track as soon as possible. 

For some time now, Iran has shown sincerity in seeking an agreement on resuming compliance with the JCPOA. Parties concerned need to work in the same direction, make the right decision, take positive and constructive steps forward, avoid linking the Iranian nuclear issue with other issues and help the negotiations produce an outcome at an early date.

China will continue to work with all parties concerned to strive for the political and diplomatic settlement of the Iranian nuclear issue, safeguard the international nuclear non-proliferation regime and maintain peace and stability in the Middle East.

Shenzhen TV: According to reports, Sitiveni Rabuka, the leader of the People’s Alliance Party, was elected the new Prime Minister of Fiji on December 24. Do you have any comment? What’s your expectations for the bilateral ties between China and Fiji in the future?

Mao Ning: China congratulates Mr. Sitiveni Rabuka on his election as the new Prime Minister of Fiji. We are confident that under the leadership of Prime Minister Sitiveni Rabuka, the Fijian government and people will score even greater achievements in national development.

China and Fiji are comprehensive strategic partners featuring mutual respect and common development. Our bilateral ties have sustained sound growth over the past years and yielded fruitful results, delivering tangible benefits to our peoples. China stands ready to work with the new Fijian government to further advance bilateral relations to the benefits of both countries and peoples.

Yonhap News Agency: It is reported that ROK and Chinese foreign ministries are discussing a possible visit by State Councilor and Foreign Minister Wang Yi to the ROK. Does he plan to visit the ROK any time soon?

Mao Ning: China and the ROK are close neighbors and important cooperation partners. To maintain the momentum of high-level exchanges and advance the sound and steady growth of China-ROK relations serves the common interests of both countries. Regarding the specific question you asked, I have nothing to share at the moment.

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