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Foreign Ministry Spokesperson Mao Ning’s Regular Press Conference on February 28, 2024
2024-02-28 17:07

Starting from March 2, Special Representative of the Chinese Government on Eurasian Affairs Li Hui will visit Russia, the EU headquarters, Poland, Ukraine, Germany and France for the second round of shuttle diplomacy on seeking a political settlement of the Ukraine crisis.

CCTV: Tokyo Electric Power Company (TEPCO) started to dump the fourth batch of Fukushima nuclear-contaminated water into the ocean on February 28. The discharge is expected to last until March 17 and reach nearly 7,800 tonnes. What’s China’s comment?

Mao Ning: Despite international concern and opposition, Japan has dumped over 23,000 tonnes of Fukushima nuclear-contaminated water into the ocean, spreading the risk of contamination worldwide. This is against the international law and seriously irresponsible. China firmly opposes it and asks Japan to stop this wrongdoing.

Recent incidents at the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power station where nuclear-contaminated water was splashed onto workers and leaked from the purification system spotlight TEPCO’s management deficiency and inadequate government oversight. Japan’s claim that the discharge is “safe” and “reliable” is not convincing.

The ocean discharge of the Fukushima nuclear-contaminated water impacts the health of all humanity, the global marine environment and the international public interest. Japan needs to take seriously domestic and international concerns and handle the discharge properly with a responsible and constructive attitude. China urges Japan to provide full cooperation in setting up an independent international monitoring arrangement that remains effective in the long haul and has the substantive participation of Japan’s neighboring countries and other stakeholders, so as to avoid irrevocable consequences stemming from the ocean discharge.

Global Times: You just announced that Special Representative Li Hui will carry out the second round of shuttle diplomacy on seeking a political settlement of the Ukraine crisis. Could you explain the timing for the action? What’s China’s expectation for Li Hui’s trip?

Mao Ning: It has been two years since the full escalation of the Ukraine crisis began. As the conflict drags on, the most urgent priority now is to restore peace. The sooner peace talks begin, the less the damage that is done.

In the past two years, China has never given up on promoting peace or slackened its efforts to facilitate talks. We had in-depth exchanges with countries including Russia and Ukraine, playing a constructive role in addressing the crisis. China also published its position paper on the political settlement of the crisis, and its special envoy traveled intensively to mediate among different parties. China has not sat idly by or added fuel to the flame, still less profiteered from the conflict. Behind all this, there is only one goal that China hopes to achieve, that is, to build consensus for ending the conflict and pave the way for peace talks. China will continue to play its role, carry out shuttle diplomacy, pool consensus and contribute China’s wisdom for the political settlement of the Ukraine crisis.

AFP: The world reacted to French President Emmanuel Macron’s statement this week that the possibility of sending Western troops to Ukraine is not ruled out. The White House spokesperson said yesterday that the US will not send troops to Ukraine. What’s the Foreign Ministry’s comment on Macron’s statement? 

Mao Ning: China’s position on the Ukraine crisis is consistent and clear. We call on all sides to build consensus and accumulate conditions for deescalation and ceasefire. China will continue to play a constructive role for the political settlement of the Ukraine crisis.

AFP: It’s reported that the Filipino President said today that the presence of China’s Navy and China Coast Guard vessels at Huangyan Dao is “worrisome”. What’s your comment?

Mao Ning: China’s position on the South China Sea is consistent and clear. We express grave concern over the Philippines’ recent activities in the South China Sea that infringe on China’s sovereignty and will continue to take necessary measures to firmly safeguard our territorial sovereignty and maritime rights and interests, and keep the South China Sea peaceful and stable. 

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