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Foreign Ministry Spokesperson Mao Ning’s Regular Press Conference on July 3, 2024

CCTV: According to CCTV’s latest investigative report, the US troops in Syria have been smuggling local wheat crops out of Syria, using more than 10 trucks every day. To cover the smuggling activity, local checkpoints would stop all passers-by and check their phones to delete any related photos. What’s your comment? 

Mao Ning: Once a wheat exporter, Syria now finds around 55 percent of its population facing food insecurity. The US is undeniably responsible for this. The US says it’s there to fight terrorism, but the reality says it’s there to plunder. The US keeps emphasizing human rights, but the reality abounds with US violations of people’s rights to subsistence and life in other countries. The US brands itself as a guardian of democracy, freedom and prosperity, but the reality shows its true identity as a manufacturer of humanitarian crises.

The US needs to earnestly respect Syria’s sovereignty and territorial integrity, immediately end its illegal military occupation in Syria, stop plundering Syria’s resources, and take concrete actions to make up for the damages done to the Syrian people.

Bloomberg: Finnish President Alexander Stubb said that Russia is so dependent on China right now. One phone call from the Chinese leader would solve the Ukraine crisis. Would the Ministry like to respond to the Finnish President’s comments?

Mao Ning: China and Russia are both major countries that make independent decisions. China is not a creator of or a party to the Ukraine crisis. We will, as always, stand on the side of peace and dialogue, maintain communication with all parties, including Russia, and play a constructive role in promoting the political settlement of the crisis.

RIA Novosti: The US-based Center for Strategic and International Studies (CSIS) published a report on July 1 which says that China may set up four sites capable of conducting surveillance operations in Cuba, with one near Naval Station Guantanamo Bay. US State Department Principal Deputy Spokesperson Vedant Patel told a briefing that the US was “closely monitoring” it and will “take appropriate steps to counter it when necessary.” What’s your comment?

Mao Ning: We noted the report. As Cuban Deputy Foreign Minister Carlos Fernandez de Cossio said, without citing a verifiable source or showing evidence, the report was riddled with tales about Chinese military bases that do not exist and no one has seen, including the US Embassy in Cuba.

China and Cuba are good friends, good comrades and good brothers. China-Cuba relations are a good example of sincerity and mutual assistance between developing countries. China’s cooperation with Cuba is done aboveboard, and does not target any third party. We certainly would not accept any deliberate vilification and smear from anyone.

Speaking of the Guantanamo Bay which was mentioned in the CSIS report, the Guantanamo Bay is solid testimony to the US’s illegal interference in Cuba for over a century. The US’s over 60 years of blockade and sanctions on Cuba have inflicted great suffering on the Cuban people. To this day, Cuba remains on the US list of “state sponsors of terrorism.” Slinging mud at others will not make one’s bad deeds go away. The US needs to reflect on its behavior, stop interfering in Cuba’s internal affairs, remove Cuba from the list of “state sponsors of terrorism” at once, and lift the blockade and sanctions on Cuba.

Reuters: According to the Taiwanese side, there were three Indonesians on a Taiwan fishing boat that China Coast Guard seized in Kinmen yesterday. Could we have more details about this incident?

Mao Ning: I do not have the details. I’d refer you to the competent authorities.

Rudaw Media Network: What role can China play to get Syria and Turkey close? Is there any connection between China and HSD, Syrian Democratic Forces?

Mao Ning: China welcomes all measures that help deescalate tensions between countries in the Middle East and promote regional peace and stability. We call for respect for Syria’s sovereignty and territorial integrity and efforts of advancing the political settlement of the Syrian issue under the “Syrian-led, Syrian-owned” approach.

AFP: I just want to follow up on the question about the Taiwanese fishing boat followed just now by my colleague. The statement from the Taiwan side says that five fishers were detained and the boat was detained by the Chinese Coast Guard, including the three Indonesians. And we’ve noted just now the Chinese Coast Guard’s statement doesn’t make any mention of their detentions. So is the Foreign Ministry able to confirm or deny that the people on that ship as well as the ship itself were detained by the Chinese Coast Guard and taken to harbor in the Chinese mainland?

Mao Ning: I do not have the details. I’d refer you to the competent authorities.


The following question was raised after the press conference: According to ROK media reports, while presiding over a cabinet meeting yesterday, President Yoon Suk Yeol offered prayers for the lives lost in the deadly fire at a battery factory in Hwaseong, Gyeonggi-do on June 24 and the road accident in Seoul on July 1. The President made instructions on investigation and safety measures. On the day of the fire incident, President Yoon went to the site and extended condolences and sympathies to the victims and their families. What’s China’s comment?

Mao Ning: In the wake of the fire accident in Hwaseong, ROK leaders, including President Yoon Suk Yeol and Prime Minister Han Duck-soo, extended condolences and sympathies over the lives lost and to the bereaved families on multiple occasions, and asked relevant departments to thoroughly investigate the causes of the fire and make every effort to properly handle related matters. 

China is following closely the handling of the fire tragedy in the battery factory in Hwaseong that killed and injured many Chinese nationals. We will continue to maintain close communication with the ROK side and ask the ROK side to make proper arrangements for relevant matters and take concrete measures to prevent similar tragedies from happening again.

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