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Defense Ministry's regular press conference on July 31, 2014

( Source: MOD  )         2014-July-31 22:57

Geng Yansheng, spokesman of the Ministry of National Defense (MND) of the People's Republic of China (PRC), answers reporters' questions at a regular press conference on July 31, 2014. ( Aiming)

  Spokesman Geng Yansheng:

  Friends from the media, good afternoon! Welcome to the press conference of the Ministry of National Defense (MND) of this month.

  Tomorrow is August 1 and also the 87th founding anniversary of the PLA. I’d like to take this opportunity to extend a festive congratulation to all fellow officers and men of the PLA. Our thanks also go to friends from the media who have cared for and supported China’s national defense and army building, and have attended the press conference of the MND and communicated our voice. We are looking forward to having closer cooperation with you.

  Today is also special in another sense. It is the first time that the regular press conference of the MND is attended by foreign journalists. We have sent invitations to 8 foreign journalists based in Beijing. We would like to extend our welcome to you. We hope your participation in our press conference will help you in your reports on defense affairs in China. We also wish that you can help the world to understand China and China’s military in a more real and objective way.

  Next I’d like to make an announcement.

  According to the 2014-2015 Cooperation Plan for Ministries of National Defense of the SCO Member States, the armed forces of the SCO member states will hold a joint counter-terrorism military exercise, code-named “Peace Mission-2014”, from August 24 to 29 in the Zhurihe Training Base of Inner Mongolia. The SCO member countries, Kazakhstan, China, Kirgizstan, Russia and Tajikistan, will send troops to take part in this exercise. Currently, relevant preparations from the Chinese side are almost complete. Starting from early August, participating troops will start to assemble through land, railway and air.

  Question: We all paid attention to the ongoing military exercise in southeast China. And also we noticed that there are large-scale flight delays in this part of China. The Ministry of National Defense has said that military exercise was not the main reason behind the large-scale flight delays. In what ways are the military exercises affecting civilian flights? And what percentage of the flight delays is the result of the military exercises?

  Answer: We have released relevant information on the military exercise in China’s southeast coastal regions. It should be said that military exercise will affect civilian flights to a certain extent. This is an objective phenomenon which exists in every country.

  This time, the Office of the National Air Traffic Control Committee has sent a number of supervision teams to relevant locations to conduct work. And we have taken a series of measures to minimize the impact on civilian flights.

  For example, we have informed the airlines and the civilian air traffic management department of the military exercise. We have optimized and adjusted the airspace structure. We have coordinated the civilian and military air traffic management organs in their work and conducted accurate management. We have also put limit on non-regular flights.

  Through the concerted efforts of the military and civilian air traffic management departments as well as the airlines, we have reduced the impact of the military exercise on civilian flights to the greatest extent possible, including the impact on international flights.

  We would like to express our sincere thanks and appreciation to the passengers, to people from all walks of life, and to domestic and foreign airlines for their understanding and support.

  Question:As you have mentioned, the military exercises will have impact on civilian flights to some extent. Since the military exercise is still going on, are there further communications between the Ministry of National Defense and the Civil Aviation Administration of China?

  Answer: To minimize the impact of military exercise on civilian flights, the military has had close communication and coordination with civil aviation departments.

  Prior to the exercise, the military had informed the civil aviation authorities of relevant information of the exercise. The China Civil Aviation Administration and the Ministry of National Defense made announcements according to their respective responsibilities.

  Civil and military air traffic control authorities took such measures as opening temporary new flight routes, designating civil flights protection zones and adjusting flight plans.

  The Office of National Air Traffic Control Committee sent a number of military-civil joint work teams to busy airports and locations for supervision and coordination, so as to ensure flight security and order.

  Question: This year marks the 120th anniversary of the Jiawu War between China and Japan. Not long ago, retired military officers from both sides of the Taiwan Straits held a seminar. How should the officers and men from both sides of the Taiwan Straits, while commemorating the Jiawu War together, make joint efforts to shoulder new historical responsibilities and missions?

  Answer: The Jiawu War between China and Japan 120 years ago and the ensuing war of aggression against China launched by a militarist Japan inflicted severe pains on the Chinese nation. Today, compatriots from both sides of the Taiwan Straits should remember history, make concerted efforts to maintain the overall interests of the Chinese nation, and join hands to build a better future of national rejuvenation.

  Question: It was reported that in October this year, China, U.S., and Australia will hold a trilateral army exercise in Australia. It will be the first time for the three countries to hold such an exercise. Please brief us on the matter and the consideration behind China’s participation in this exercise.

  Answer: From July 16 to 19 of 2014, Gen. Fan Changlong, vice chairman of China’s Central Military Commission (CMC), paid a successful visit to Australia. He met with leaders of the Australian government, the defense department and the Australia armed forces. Both sides reached lots of consensus on developing bilateral military ties.

  Fan also visited the naval base, army headquarters and fleet headquarters of Australia. During the visit, it was announced that a trilateral joint army exercise, code-named “Kowari”, to be participated by armies of China, Australia and U.S., will be held in Australia in October.

  Next, the three countries will conduct consultations on the preparations for the exercise.

  Question: Is there any progress on the Xu Caihou and Gu Junshan cases. What kind of crimes are they accused of? When will they be put on trial in the martial court and where are they currently held in custody?

  Answer: The Central Committee of the Communist Party of China (CPC) made the decision to expel Xu Caihou from the party and to hand over suspected criminal offenses of bribery-taking and relevant clues to the military procuratorate, authorized by the Supreme People’s Procuratorate to handle the case in accordance with law.

  This demonstrates the clear stance of the CPC Central Committee to enforce strict discipline within the party and the military, and also demonstrates our firm resolution to fight corruption and punish corrupt officials with no tolerance.

  It is of great significance for regulating conduct in the military, boosting morale, and protecting the image of the PLA.

  All the officers and men of the PLA support the decision of the CPC Central Committee, firmly fulfill missions assigned by the Central Committee, and will act upon instructions of the Central Committee, the Central Military Commission and President Xi Jinping. We will continue to press ahead with our work and endeavor to realize the goal of building a strong military.

  On March 31, the military procuratorate officially initiated the prosecution on the case of Gu Junshan. Currently, the proceedings of this case are still going on.

  Question: Since last year, there have been reports periodically in the Indian media about Chinese troop’s incursions to the Indian side in some areas along the China-India line of actual control (LAC). What did the border troops of both sides do in settling the frictions caused by these accidents? India and China signed the Border Defense Cooperation Agreement last year to precisely avoid this kind of problem. How was it operationalized between the two sides? And thirdly, it is said that a hotline between the headquarters of the Indian and Chinese military will be set up. How about the progress in setting up the hotline?

  Answer: The China-India border issue is left over from history. The boundary line between the two countries has not been demarcated.

  The two governments have reached important consensus on resolving the disputes on border demarcation. Last October, both sides signed the China-India Border Defense Cooperation Agreement.

  The Chinese border defense troops always abide by relevant regulations and agreement signed by both sides. And we are willing to maintain peace and stability in China-India border region together with the Indian side.

  Since the two sides have different interpretations of the line of actual control, some incidents happened in China-India border region last year, which have been properly resolved through dialogue and consultation.

  Last October, China and India signed the China-India Border Defense Cooperation Agreement, in which both sides reaffirmed the principle of not targeting their respective military capabilities against each other, and proposed military confidence building measures.

  For example, a hotline between the military headquarters of both countries was proposed, periodical meetings between the military area commands and operational departments should be held, and maximum restraint should be exercised during stand-offs in the disputed areas.

  This year, during Gen. Qi Jianguo, deputy chief of general staff of the Chinese People’s Liberation Army (PLA)’s visit to India, and Gen. Singh, Chairman of Chiefs of Staff Committee and Chief of Army of India’s visit to China, both sides conducted in-depth discussions on implementing the border defense cooperation agreement.

  On the issue of setting up hotline between the two military headquarters, both sides are keeping close contact.

  Question: Not long after the Xu Caihou Case was made public. Zhou Yongkang was investigated for severe violations of discipline. Are these two cases related? Secondly, what is the military’s stance on the Zhou Yongkang Case?

  Answer: The Central Committee of the Communist Party of China (CPC) made the decision to expel Xu Caihou from the party and hand over suspected criminal offenses of bribery-taking and relevant clues to the judicial organs to handle the case in accordance with the law.

  What needs to be pointed out is that whoever committed crimes, regardless of power and position, will be punished in accordance with law without tolerance.

  The military is no place for corruption. We fully support the decision made by the CPC Central Committee to investigate Zhou Yongkang for his suspected violation of discipline.

  Question: The “Stride-2014 Zhurihe” exercise has recently concluded. In this exercise, a professional “blue army” of the Chinese PLA drew people’s attention and achieved six victories and lost only once. Will there be more professional “blue armies” in the PLA’s exercise? As the professional “blue armies” have created a record of good performance in foreign militaries, does the PLA draw experience from foreign militaries in building its own “blue army”? This professional “blue army” is not supposed to use the tactics and fighting methods of the PLA in the exercise, and I’m wondering, who is the imaginary “enemy” the Chinese “blue army” is simulating?

  Answer: To build a professional “blue army”, which has been widely practiced by the militaries of major countries in the world, is an important measure to strengthen military training. The armed forces of the U.S., Russia, the U.K. and Germany all have “blue armies” of different sizes and numbers.

  Currently, the PLA has built its first professional “blue army” and this “blue army” has played the role of “grindstone” during the “Stride-2014 Zhurihe” exercise. It performed well during the exercise.

  The Chinese military will further strengthen its professional “blue armies” so that they will make greater contributions to uplifting the PLA’s military training levels. As to who the “blue army” is simulating, it depends on the contents and requirements of the exercise.

  Question: The PLA, from the end of July to early August, conducts live fire exercises in the East China Sea and the Northern Gulf. If we include the previously announced plans, the military exercises encompass all 4 major sea areas of China. Japanese media asserted that the exercises were taking Japan as the simulated “enemy”. While in the South China Sea, there have been territorial disputes between China, Vietnam, Philippines and the United States. What is the comment from the Chinese military?

  Answer: Recently, the PLA has conducted a number of live exercises. We have noticed that there are quite a lot of comments in both domestic and foreign media.

  I’d like to make 3 points: firstly, these exercises are routine arrangement in accordance with the annual training plan. Similar exercises are conducted every year.

  Secondly, the purpose of these exercises is to strengthen real-combat training, enhance combat readiness, and improve the capability in dealing with multiple security threats.

  Thirdly, these exercises are not targeting any particular target or country and we hope relevant parties do not make far-fetched connections or over-interpret them. If someone feels uneasy or targeted, that’s his own problem.

  Question: It was reported that China has established the East China Sea Joint Operational Command Center after setting up the East China Sea Air Defense Identification Zone (ADIZ). Please confirm. Someone said that the purpose of setting up the East China Sea Joint Operational Command Center is to counter Japan by utilizing the East China Sea ADIZ comprehensively. How do you comment?

  Answer: On the issue of China’ setting up of the East China Sea ADIZ, we have released enough information.

  Setting up a joint operational command system is the inevitable requirement of joint operations under informationized conditions, and the PLA has made active explorations in this regard.

  In accordance with relevant decisions made during the 3rd Plenum of the 18th National Congress of the Communist Party of China, and on the basis of full research and study, we will carry out relevant reform to find a pass for setting up a joint operational command system with Chinese characteristics.

  The Chinese military will always keep high alert and be ready to fulfill the responsibilities and missions entrusted by the state.

  Question: President Xi Jinping has said that in the fight against corruption, both “tigers and flies” will be taken down. We can see that a lot of progress has been made in the anti-corruption campaign. However, in the military, besides the cases of Xu Caihou and Gu Junshan, who belong to the category of “tigers”, there are no “flies” taken down or punished. Why is it? I have noticed that the announcement of the investigation of Zhou Yongkang happened at a time when a lot of military exercises are going on. Were they related? Could you please confirm?

  Answer: The PLA adheres to the principle of administering the military by law and enforcing strict discipline.

  As I have mentioned, anyone in the military, regardless of position and power, as long as he or she commits crimes or breaks the law, he or she will be punished accordingly. There are no places for corrupt individuals in the military. No one should take any chance to break the law.

  On the issue of the military exercises, as I have said, these exercises are routine arrangement in the annual training program, and I hope that there are fewer speculations.

  Question: With regard to the large-scale military exercises the Chinese PLA is conducting these days, the public learned the news about the exercise from the announcement made by the civil aviation administrations and the maritime security departments before confirmation from the Ministry of National Defense. Does that mean, in terms of military information release mechanism, the Ministry of National Defense is still lagging behind?

  Answer: Both the Civil Aviation Administration of China and the Ministry of National Defense released news on this military exercise’s impact on civilian flights. From the current situation, people from all walks of life have expressed their understanding and support.

  Throughout the process, relevant military and civil aviation departments have been taking various measures and have spared no efforts to minimize the impact of the military exercise on civilian flights. Different military and government organs have cooperated well and worked hard and have played due roles.

  We welcome the public to put forward their suggestions and advices.

  Question: This year, the conscription work starts from August 1, and different measures have been taken to attract eligible youth to join the military. Could you please brief us on conscription-related work and what are your expectations? Secondly, a series of documents and regulations concerning the administration of the military have recently been promulgated and enforced, such as the regulation to clear the extra occupied houses and irregular use of cars by retired officers, and the regulation on the award and commendation of the military. What are the other measures to be taken in the future for the administration of the military?

  Answer: There are 4 features in this year’s conscription-related work. First, there is a clear emphasis, that is, to recruit more college graduates. The offices and organs of different levels are taking various methods to attract more college graduates to join the military.

  Secondly, we have improved the policies and measures. For example, during this year’s conscription, we have adopted new health check and political review procedures. Local governments have staged preferential policies in terms of employment, education, insurance policies, and purchase of government subsidized houses.

  Thirdly, we improved our methods in related work. For example, all enrollments, political review and information inquiry can be conducted online and the publicity of the conscription has been creative.

  Fourthly, we make sure that the conscription-related work is clean and honest. Stirct rules have been enforced and all the relevant work is conducted under the sunlight, so as to create a clean and honest environment for conscription.

  Currently, this year’s conscription is going on smoothly. The overall conscription work starts from August 1. Selection will be completed before September 1.

  The new recruits will have arrived at the barracks before September 30. We warmly welcome eligible young people to register for military service so as to serve national defense and fulfill personal ambitions.

  On your second question, a number of regulations and policies have been promulgated and put into effect. These have shown our consistent position and principle to administer the military by law and enforcing strict discipline. These efforts have been widely supported by the officers and men of the PLA. As to further measures to be taken, I do not have more information.

  Question: I’d like to ask you to give us an update information on the aircraft carrier Liaoning. When will it be completely operational?

  Answer: I also pay close attention to the aircraft carrier Liaoning. But I am sorry that I don’t have any new information to release at this stage.

  Question: There are a lot of military exercises going on in China. But another piece of news attracted my attention. The 40th Group Army has introduced the accountability system in their training and more than 300 persons in different brigades were held accountable for fraudulent deeds during their training. Could you brief us on the PLA’s accountability system for military training and exercise? Will the accountability system become a regular practice in the Chinese military?

  Answer: In recent years, the intensity of real combat training of the PLA has been on the rise. Some troops introduced the accountability system to strengthen the sense of responsibility among all levels of officers and ensure them to apply higher standards and improve the training level.

  The question you have raised is related to the training inspection system. In March this year, the Central Military Commission (CMC) issued the Instructions on Improving Real Combat Military Training. In early April, the General Staff Headquarters (GSH) of the PLA issued a notice to make arrangement for setting up military training inspection system and carrying out military training inspection work. Currently, related works are underway.

  Question: The Rim of the Pacific (RIMPAC) multinational naval exercise is coming to an end. Different sides have different comments on the Chinese Navy’s participation. There are media reports that the Chinese “Peace Ark’ hospital ship refused to take part in the humanitarian assistance and disaster reduction (HADR) exercise led by Japan. Please brief us on the Chinese Navy’s participation in the exercise.

  Answer: During the RIMPAC exercise, the Chinese naval taskforce took part in 7 subjects, which are artillery firing, comprehensive exercise, maritime security operation, surface ship maneuvers, military medical exchanges, HADR and diving.

  Through the exercise, the capability of the Chinese naval taskforce to deal with non-traditional security threats has been improved, and the exchanges and pragmatic cooperation with navies from other countries have also been enhanced.

  During the exercise, there is plenty of media coverage on the Chinese Navy’s participation and it should be said we have achieved our goals in participating in the exercise.

  And on the issue you have mentioned on Chinese “Peace Ark’ hospital ship’s refusal to take part in the HADR exercise led by Japan, that is media’s sensationalization.

  During the final planning conference of the RIMPAC exercise, it was decided that there will be no command relations between Chinese and Japanese participating ships. After the Chinese naval taskforce arrived in Hawaii, we have never received any invitation to join such exercise. Therefore, the media report you have mentioned is incorrect.

  Question: Military exercises used to be far away from people’s daily life, but this time the exercise brought with it air traffic control, which resulted in large-scale flight delays. In the future, with increased military training, will there be more such disruptions?

  Answer: I think your question is about the air space management system. To put it simple, the purpose of airspace management is to safeguard national security and ensure flight safety and order, while taking into consideration the needs of military and civilian aviation.

  According to the General Flight Rules of the People’s Republic of China, China’s air space management is under the leadership of the National Air Traffic Control Committee of the State Council and the Central Military Commission.

  Under the leadership of the National Air Traffic Control Committee, the civilian and the military air traffic management departments provide services in terms of air traffic management.

  At the current stage, relevant departments are conducting research on a reform plan to improve the air space management mechanism.

  As I have mentioned, military activities will inevitably have some impact on civilian flights. Through the reform, we are hoping that the air space structure can be optimized and the resource efficiency can be improved, so as to ensure safer, and more efficient military and civilian flight.

  Question: What is the direction of the reform of the airspace management system? We know that currently the Chinese military controls a larger part of China’s airspace, while civil aviation has less control. Will there be more airspace to be opened to civilian aviation?

  Answer: I think the main purpose of the airspace management system reform is to optimize the resource utilization and maximize the resource efficiency.

  As to the questions you have mentioned, I could tell you that reform is needed to overcome the existing problems, so as to improve the airspace utilization efficiency and ensure flight safety.

  After the press conference, a journalist asked: the US navy disclosed that China sent a spy ship to collect intelligence in waters of the RIMPAC exercise. Commander of the U.S. PACCOM welcomed such actions because he thinks this is good news since China can no longer blame similiar intelligence collection activities of the US against China. What is your comment?

  Answer: The Chinese navy ship is navigating outside of the US territorial water, which is in line with the international law and domestic law of the US. We hope the US respect the legitimate rights of the Chinese ship.

  What needs to be pointed out is that for a long period of time, the US military aircraft and ships have been conducting high intensity reconnaissance activities in waters and air spaces administered by China.

  Such activities severely compromise China’s national security and can easily trigger accidents at sea and in the air. The activities of the Chinese navy ship, no matter in terms of scope, frequency, or pattern, can not be compared to the U.S. ship and aircraft’s high intensity close-in reconnaissance against China.

Editor :  Dong Zhaohui