|Foreign Ministry Spokesperson Mao Ning’s Regular Press Conference on November 15, 2023|
Al Jazeera: According to reports, Israeli occupying forces launched an assault on Al-Shifa hospital under the cover of the US in Gaza. The humanitarian crisis there has become unbearable and the international community has failed to exert sufficient pressure on Israel. What Israel is doing now amounts to a violation of international law and international humanitarian law. But Israel’s actions in Gaza have so far received no clear condemnation from the permanent members of the Security Council. What is China’s position on Israel’s illegal military operations in Gaza? Is there any direct way for China to ease the humanitarian crisis in Gaza and stop the killing of Palestinians?
Mao Ning: We’ve stated our position on the Palestinian-Israeli conflict on multiple occasions. We condemn all acts that harm civilians and oppose violations of international law. China has repeatedly called for ceasefire and averting further humanitarian catastrophes. We’ve been working and mediating for this all along. We will continue to work with other parties to play an active and constructive role in ceasing the hostilities, deescalating the situation, easing the humanitarian situation, and ultimately realizing durable Palestinian-Israeli peace through the two-state solution.
Al Jazeera: We understand China’s position on the Palestinian-Israeli conflict. Now that Israeli forces are striking hospitals, but the UN has failed to take real measures to stop Israel from creating a disaster for civilians in Gaza. Is there anything China will do to stop the killing?
Mao Ning: We fully relate to you. The humanitarian situation in Gaza is deeply unsettling and heart-wrenching. As the rotating President of the Security Council this month, China will respond to the call of the international community, step up coordination with relevant sides, Arab countries in particular, uphold justice, build consensus, and promote responsible and meaningful actions by the Security Council towards deescalating the conflict, protecting civilians, alleviating the humanitarian situation and restoring the peace process.
You may have noted that the Special Envoy of the Chinese Government on the Middle East Issue and the Director-General of the Department of West Asian and North African Affairs of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs have been visiting relevant countries and engaging in mediation efforts for peace recently. We will continue to play an active and constructive role for deescalating the situation.
Global Times: The China Chamber of Commerce to the EU (CCCEU) released its annual Report on the Development of Chinese Enterprises in the EU on November 14. The report lists the priority cooperation areas of Chinese companies in the EU and puts forward policy suggestions for EU institutions and governments of EU member states to further improve business environment. What’s China’s comment?
Mao Ning: We have noted the CCCEU report. We are glad to see that Chinese enterprises in Europe generally have sound and steady operations. More Chinese enterprises have advanced cooperation in the green sector, digital economy, sci-tech innovation and sustainable development and actively fulfilled their social responsibilities, which has helped create jobs in the EU and improve people’s wellbeing. Chinese enterprises have become important participants in the EU’s recovery and transition. At the same time, the report also voices some concerns of Chinese enterprises in the EU, including a tendency in the EU to politicize trade issues and abuse the concept of national security, impact of its de-risking strategy, and issues concerning business environment such as frustrated R&D collaboration and lack of efficiency in services and communication.
China and the EU are both important forces in fostering an open world economy and defending multilateral trade rules. The two sides need to jointly uphold the right direction of economic globalization, promote trade and investment liberalization and facilitation, reduce existing barriers and avoid adding new ones, and realize mutually-beneficial cooperation at a higher level. We hope the EU will heed the suggestions in the report and address the legitimate calls of Chinese enterprises, act in accordance with market economy rules, safeguard the sound and steady growth of China-EU economic and trade ties, and provide a fair, transparent, stable and predictable business environment for Chinese companies investing or operating in the EU.