CCTV: The 2023 China International Fair for Trade in Services (CIFTIS) concludes today. As the global economy is struggling to recover and the Chinese economy is under pressure, what message do you think this year’s CIFTIS is sending to the world?

Mao Ning: The China International Fair for Trade in Services (CIFTIS) provides the world with a window into China’s high-level opening-up and an important platform for exchanges and cooperation between companies around the world. President Xi Jinping delivered a video address at the 2023 Global Trade in Services Summit at CIFTIS and announced important measures on opening up the service sector more widely to the world. It shows China’s determination and commitment to expanding opening-up and high-level cooperation for mutual benefit. By hosting CIFTIS, China hopes to share opportunities in service trade, help develop global trade, and create new growth engines for global economic recovery.

In recent years, despite the complex and difficult external environment, China’s service trade has been growing rapidly and showing strong resilience. Service imports and exports for 2022 approached 6 trillion yuan, up 12.9 percent year on year, hitting a record high and ranking second in the world for the ninth consecutive year. WTO Director-General Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala noted in her video remarks to the summit that since China’s accession to the WTO in 2001, its share in global trade in services has increased by more than 1.5 times, from 2.4 percent to 6.5 percent. China is now the world’s fourth largest exporter and second largest importer of services, and is turning into a global center for supply and demand for services.

The global economy thrives in openness and withers in isolation. China stands ready to work with all parties to promote all-round development and opening up in the service sector, jointly safeguard free trade and the multilateral trading system, and provide more and better Chinese services to the world.

AFP: US climate envoy John Kerry said he hopes China and the United States can reach an agreement on climate, adding that climate change is not a bilateral issue but a global threat to the planet. Does China agree with Mr. Kerry’s assessments, or does it have any further comment on these remarks?

Mao Ning: Climate change is a global challenge that requires a global response. China’s position on addressing climate change is consistent and clear. China is committed to building a fair and equitable global climate management system that benefits all. We are doing our best to fulfill due international responsibilities and obligations in accordance with China’s national conditions, and we have made positive contributions to international cooperation in addressing climate change. China and the United States jointly facilitated the conclusion and entry into force of the Paris Agreement. We hope the United States will work with China to create favorable conditions and atmosphere for China-US climate cooperation.

Nikkei: The ASEAN Plus Three Summit is being held in Indonesia today. Will China raise the issue of discharging “processed water” from the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant into the oceans at the summit? China’s reference to “treated water” as “nuclearly contaminated water” was not recognized by the international community. How do you display this?

Mao Ning: Regarding China’s participation in the leaders’ meetings on cooperation in East Asia, we will release information in due time. We have noted media reports that Japan said it would explain its exit to other countries during the meetings. We hope that Japan will face international concerns and explain its position sincerely and scientifically, which will win the trust of the international community, instead of continuing to downplay or hide the harm caused by the dump.

Japan coined the term “treated water” and keeps telling the world that the tritium concentration is up to the standard level in order to create the impression that there is only tritium as a radioactive substance in the nuclear-contaminated water and that since the tritium concentration reaches the standard level, the nuclear-contaminated water is harmless. But this narrative cannot fool the international community. In fact, Fukushima’s sewage contains a complex array of elements. Even after purification, the water will still contain dozens of radionuclides such as carbon-14, cobalt-60, strontium-90, iodine-129 and cesium-137. Whatever name Japan gives the water, these radionuclides will not disappear on their own. This is a reality that Japan has to face.

Chinese News Service: The first phase of the Dhaka Airport Elevated Highway Project in the capital of Bangladesh was recently completed. Chinese companies invested and participated in the construction and operation of the project. Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina attended the inauguration ceremony of the project and hailed it as a new landmark for transportation infrastructure in Bangladesh which is expected to ease traffic congestion in Dhaka and boost economic growth in Bangladesh. What is the comment of China?

Mao Ning: Bangladesh is the first country in South Asia to sign a Memorandum of Understanding for Belt and Road cooperation with China. Our two countries have achieved fruitful and high-quality cooperation under the Belt and Road Initiative in recent years. The Dhaka Airport Elevated Highway Project is the first of its kind and the first and so far the largest public-private partnership project in Bangladesh. Chinese companies have invested and participated in its construction and operation. As Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina said at the opening ceremony, the project will greatly improve traffic in Dhaka and will have a positive impact on the social and economic development of Bangladesh.

As a friendly neighbor and strategic partner of Bangladesh, China will continue to work with it to promote high-quality cooperation under the Belt and Road framework and support Bangladesh in realizing the “Sonar Bangla” dream at an early date.

AFP: Japan’s Chief Cabinet Secretary Hirokazu Matsuno criticized the Chinese government’s publication of a map showing what Japan calls the Senkaku Islands and what China calls the Diaoyu Islands of China. Matsuno said Japan had lodged a complaint with China through diplomatic channels and demanded that the map be withdrawn. What is China’s response to that?

Mao Ning: The Diaoyu Dao and its affiliated islands have always been Chinese territory. Naturally, it is designated as Chinese territory on the map. China does not accept Japan’s protest.

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