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Defense Ministry Spokesperson Yang Yujun's regular press conference on July 30, 2015

( Source: MOD  )         2015-July-30 23:25

Senior Colonel Yang Yujun, spokesman for the Ministry of National Defense (MND) of the People's Republic of China (PRC), answers reporters' questions at a regular press conference on July 30, 2015. ( Linghao)
(The following English text of the press conference is for reference. In case of any divergence of interpretations, the Chinese text shall prevail.)

  Senior Colonel Yang Yujun:

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

  Q: Recently, analysts say that this year’s recruitment work for the new conscripts of the PLA is different from that in the previous years, placing more emphasis on the educational background. Do you have any comments? Foreign media reported recently that the PLA navy has completed the construction of the second aircraft carrier base in the Hainan Island. Could you please confirm that?

  A:On your first question, we have always attached great importance to attracting those young men and women who have good educational background, professional skills and all-around qualities to join the military. This year, when enrolling the university graduates to join the military, there are several favorable policies. Besides the common favorable treatment for the new conscripts, the university graduates also enjoy other favorable policies in application, medical checkup, political evaluation, approval as well as distribution.

  When distributing the newly-enrolled university students to the military units, priority will be given to them, and they would be distributed to the navy, air force, second artillery force, or army units with higher technical requirements. During their service in the military, they will enjoy priority to become non-commissioned officers. And those qualified graduates could be directly promoted to officers. And after completing their military service, they will also enjoy some other favorable policies in terms of employment, resettlement, further education, etc. To love the military, undergo military training, and serve the country is a tradition of the Chinese nation. We welcome and encourage more promising young men and women to join the military and make contributions to the national defense of China.

  When it comes to your second question, as to the supporting facilities of the aircraft carrier on the land, they mainly include the port facilities for the aircraft carrier, the airport for carrier-borne planes and also the training facilities. These facilities will provide main support for the daily activities of the aircraft carrier. The construction of such facilities is determined by the task entrusted to the troops.

  Q: It is reported that during his visit to the Philippines, the U.S. Pacific Fleet Commander Admiral Scott Swift joined a 7-hour surveillance flight over the South China Sea and emphasized that the U.S. will continue to exercise its due rights. What is your comment?

  A:We have expressed our concerns in this regard. It needs to be emphasized that activities of the U.S. military ships and planes should not undermine other countries’ sovereignty and security interest, and should not undermine regional peace and stability.

  At the same time, security distance should be maintained to avoid unexpected incident. Of course, if some people from the U.S. side would like to take civilian aircraft to enjoy the beautiful scenery of the South China Sea, we could welcome them.

  Q: Last week, a Lao Airlines flight from South Korea to Laos tried to fly over the East China Sea, but was forbidden entry by the Chinese air traffic controllers. Is this because it did not seek proper permission? And is this the first time China has banned or has stopped foreign airlines from flying across its Air Defense Identification Zone in the East China Sea? Thank you!

  A:We got to know from China’s civil aviation authorities that the flight route of the commercial flight No.916 of the Laos Airlines will be crossing the airspace over the Chinese territory.

  But the temporary flight plan application of the Lao Airlines was not expressed clearly, and the Chinese civil aviation authorities repeatedly tried to contact the Lao Airlines, but there was no response from the Lao Airlines.

  On the morning of July 25, without getting authorization on the flight plan and route from the Chinese authorities, the flight took off and intended to fly over the Chinese territorial airspace. The Chinese air traffic control authorities rejected the flight from entering China’s territorial airspace according to relevant rules and working procedures. This event has no connection with the Air Defense Identification Zone (ADIZ) in the East China Sea. If you want to know further information, I suggest you refer to the Civil Aviation Administration of China.

  Q: On July 21, the Japanese government approved the white paper Defense of Japan 2015, which demanded China to stop its construction of the platform for oil and gas exploitation in the East China Sea, saying that such activities would cause unpredictable result of danger in the East China Sea and the South China Sea. What’s your comment on that?

  A:On this question, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of China has already issued the position paper on July 24, giving the whole story of this issue. You can look for the details on the MFA website.

  It needs to be emphasized that the oil and gas exploitation activities of China are conducted in waters of the East China Sea under indisputable Chinese jurisdiction, and these activities are totally just, reasonable and legitimate. The Japanese side has no right to make groundless accusations.

  We noticed that recently the Japanese side has repeatedly mentioned China’s oil and gas exploitation activities in the East China Sea and even publicly accused them of having military purposes. The purpose of the Japanese accusation against China is to create and play up the “China Threat Theory”. It is to provide an excuse for Japan to pass the new security bill in Japan.

  We urge Japan to immediately stop this wrongdoing and avoid purposely creating confrontation and tension.

  Q: We noticed that when the Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe had inquiries in the Japanese Upper House, he changed his previous position by stating that Japan would exercise the right of collective self-defense when necessary, i.e. the Japanese Self-Defense Force could participate in the demining activities in the South China Sea. What is your comment on that?

  Secondly, the debris of a plane was discovered today on a small island in the Indian Ocean, which was thought very likely to be the debris of flight MH370 of the Malaysian Airlines. The Ministry of Foreign Affairs has expressed that it would pay close attention to similar debris. What measures or preparation will the military make? If this debris is confirmed to be the part of flight MH370, will the military vessels be sent to relevant areas for further action?

  A:On your first question, we have noticed that recently several politicians of Japan have been playing up the “China Threat Theory”. The purpose of that is to provide an excuse to pass the new security bill of Japan, which is under deliberation. And such actions are purely to disturb the audience’s opinion and to create a distorted image for the public.

  This year marks the 70th anniversary of the victory of the World Anti-Fascist War. And in this special year, what changes will Japan have in its military and security policies? And how far it would go on the road of becoming a major military power? Will it embark on the old path of militarism? All these questions need the vigilance of the neighboring countries of Japan and the international community.

  On your second question, we have also taken notice of the report today and we will pay constant and close attention to the follow-up of the issue.

  Q: Just days ahead of the PLA Day, Xi Jinping, Chairman of the Central Military Commission, inspected the 16th Combined Corps and asked the military to thoroughly banish the influence of the case of Xu Caihou. There have been reports from the foreign media that Xi Jinping was putting forward requirements for the entire PLA and that the core task of the PLA this year is still to rectify the incorrect work style existing in the military. What is your comment on that?

  The second question is which countries have confirmed that they would send their state leaders or militaries to participate in the military parade on September 3?

  A:I think your first question is related to the anti-corruption campaign in the military. We have stated our position on that for many times. To have the anti-corruption campaign in the military is to purify the environment in the military and improve the combat effectiveness.

  At present, in the entire PLA, we have been emphasizing the building of the fine working style and fighting against corruption. We have focused our efforts on the capability of winning wars and battles. All the officers and men of the PLA have high morale and the combat effectiveness of the troops has been further improved.

  With regards to the invitation to foreign heads of state or government to participate in the military parade on September 3, it is communicated by the Chinese Ministry of Foreign Affairs, so I suggest you may ask the ministry for the information.

  As to the participation of foreign military personnel in the parade, so far, Russia and several other countries have confirmed their participation. We are also keeping in close contact with the defense ministries and armed forces of relevant countries.

  Q: I have two questions. The first is on the military exercises in the South China Sea that were announced, can you give us some details on what’s going on there? There have been reports of more than one hundred ships. Can you tell us what kinds of ships are taking part? Are they all military ships or some fishing craft or civilian ships?

  My second question is again about the military parade. Can you tell us for sure whether militaries from the U.S., Japan and other Western countries have formally been invited to participate in the military parade?

  A:On your first question, recently, the PLA has conducted several military exercises and trainings which are regular arrangements in the annual training plan.

  We have noted that recently there have been a lot of comments and interpretations about the military exercises and trainings of the PLA. Some of these comments and interpretations are objective while some are not consistent with the fact.

  What needs to be explained is that the military exercises and trainings are effective measures to evaluate and improve the combat effectiveness of the troops. Thank you for paying attention to the routine activities of the PLA. At the same time, we would also like to call our friends to have a normal and objective attitude towards such routine and regular activities of the PLA.

  About inviting the foreign militaries to participate in China’s military parade, at present, we are still in communication with the foreign defense ministries and armed forces.

  It needs to be emphasized that the military parade in September is part of the activities in commemoration of the 70th anniversary of the victory of the Chinese People's War of Resistance against Japanese Aggression and the victory of the world's Anti-Fascist War. The purpose of the military parade is to remember the history, honor the martyrs, cherish peace and create a better future, and to demonstrate the resolution and capabilities of the Chinese people together with the people in the world to safeguard peace.

  Q: There have been reports that three orange-colored buoys were found about 9.6 km away from the Huangyan Islands, with marks showing the name of the Chinese manufacturer. The spokesperson from the Philippine Department of Defense said that it was a matter of concern to find these buoys in the Exclusive Economic Zone of the Philippines. What is the response of the Chinese military on that?

  A:I’m not clear about the report by the media. However, if such a report is true, when some people breaks into other people’s home and take away the belongings of the owner, that’s what a matter of concern is really about.

  Q: According to information on the official website of the U. S. Department of Defense, Admiral Harris, commander of the U.S. Pacific Command, said that China is unilaterally changing the status quo of the South China Sea through its land reclamation activities. The construction, in essence, is to serve military purposes and has done great harm to the maritime environment. And the Chinese side denied diplomatic efforts and international arbitration. What is your comment?

  And secondly, it is reported that on August 1 which marks the anniversary of the founding of the PLA, the Chinese military will conduct military exercise in the South China Sea. What is the purpose and what will be the subjects of the exercise?

  A:We have noticed that recently some high-ranking military and political officials in the U.S. have been making irresponsible remarks on the South China Sea issue. And the Chinese side has made clear its positions and policies in this regard on different occasions.

  Here I want to again emphasize the following points: first, the Chinese side has introduced the purpose and function of the construction on the islands and reefs of the South China Sea for several times and the construction work will help the Chinese side better perform its international responsibilities and duties and will help to promote the safety of navigation in this area. And such work also meets very strict environment protection standards and requirements.

  The U.S. side disregards and distorts the fact, and plays up “China’s military threat” to sow discords between China and China’s maritime neighbors in the South China Sea. We firmly oppose such actions.

  Secondly, the U.S. side has remained silent on the massive construction activities conducted by some countries such as the Philippines on the illegally occupied Chinese islands and reefs. However, the U.S. made irresponsible accusations against China on the legal activities of China on its own territory. This is typical double standards. We ask the U.S. side to stop such seemingly just but actually hypocritical remarks.

  Thirdly, for a long time, the U.S. side has been sending ships and planes to conduct frequent close-in reconnaissance activities against China in the South China Sea region. And recently the U.S. has been further strengthening its military alliance in the region to increase its military presence and conducting frequent joint military exercises. The commander of the U.S. Pacific Fleet even cruised over the South China Sea on a plane, creating tensions in the region and increasing the risk of unexpected incidents in the air space and maritime area of the region. The Chinese side expresses its serious concern on the U.S. activities to militarize the South China Sea region. And such actions taken by the U.S. side would inevitably arouse the question from others -- does the U.S. want nothing but chaos in the region?

  Fourthly, the Chinese side has always attached great importance to developing the relations between China and the U.S. and between the two militaries. The relevant people in the U.S. should be prudent and cautious in their remarks and actions, keep their promise of not choosing sides on the sovereignty issue of the South China Sea, and do more things that would help instead of harming the development of the state-to-state and mil-to-mil relations and also the peace and stability of the region.

  On your second question, the military exercise which is to be held in the South China Sea is a regular arrangement within the annual training program. It is not directed against any particular country or target.

  Q: There have been concerns in Japan that China’s oil and gas exploitation facilities in the East China Sea would be used for military purposes. Could you please confirm that whether China has the plan to use such facilities for military purposes in the future?

  A:I have answered this question just now. The oil and gas exploitation activities of China in the East China Sea are conducted waters under indisputable Chinese jurisdiction. It is totally a matter within China’s sovereignty and jurisdiction. Some people in Japan have been playing up this matter just to find an excuse for them to pass the new security bill. We hope those people in Japan could reflect on their behaviors in a sober-minded way.

  Q: The Chinese military once said that it would further open the defense industry to the private capitals. what is the consideration behind this defense strategy? And what is the progress of the integration of the defense industry with civilian sectors?

  A:The civil-military integration has been upgraded to the level of national strategy. It is an important part of the overall in-depth reform which is now going on in China and is a reflection of our efforts to establish fair and open market rules. Its purpose is to promote structural transformation of the economy, to stimulate domestic demand to benefit the society, and to speed up the construction of the national defense and the military.

  The relevant work regarding the civil-military integration has been making progress. In April this year, the State Administration of Science, Technology and Industry for National Defense issued the 2015 Specific Action Plan on Civil-Military Integration and clarified 27 key tasks of the civil-military integration.

  And also, not long ago, we issued the new defense white paper entitled China’s Military Strategy, in which this point was also specially introduced. I suggest you refer to such documents for further information.

  Q: During the last press conference, you mentioned that China and Russia were coordinating the second maritime joint military exercise, so can you tell us more information regarding that, such as the place, the subjects and the scale of the military exercise?

  Secondly, the Chinese ships from the maritime surveillance authorities, while having their navigations in the waters near the Diaoyu Islands, were intercepted by the Japanese vessels yesterday. At the same time, according to the official information, the Chinese navy recently conducted a series of military exercises in the East China Sea. So does that mean that the East China Sea region has or is becoming the powder keg?

  And thirdly, along with the rise of salaries of the public servants in China, will there also be a rise of salaries for the military personnel accordingly?

  A:On your first question, according to the consensus between China and Russia, the two militaries will conduct joint military exercise from August 20 to 28 in the Peter the Great Gulf and the areas off the coast of the Clerk Cape, as well as in the airspace and waters of the Sea of Japan.

  This exercise is code-named “Joint-Sea 2015-II”, and the purpose of the exercise is to consolidate and develop the China-Russia all-round strategic coordination partnership, to deepen the pragmatic and friendly cooperation between the Chinese and Russian militaries, and to enhance the organization and command capabilities and the levels of the two militaries in jointly conducting the joint traffic defense activities and joint landing activities, so as to further enhance their capabilities of jointly coping with maritime security threats.

  The subjects of the exercise include the joint air-defense, joint anti-submarine warfare, joint anti-surface warfare and joint defense, etc. During the exercise, the joint landing training and exercise will also be conducted.

  The force of the Chinese side participating in the exercise consists of seven naval ships including destroyers, frigates, landing ships and comprehensive replenish vessels, and 5 aircraft including the early-warning plane and fighter jets. The surface vessels, submarines and fixed-wing aircraft from the Russian side will also participate in the exercise. Both sides will also send ship-borne helicopters and marines, etc. to participate in the exercise.

  On your second question, China's positions on China-Japan relations and the issue of Diaoyu Islands are very clear to all parties. Either the navigation activities of Chinese maritime surveillance ships which you mentioned, or the exercises conducted by the PLA navy are regular arrangements, and are just and legitimate.

  On your third question, the amount of salaries of the military personnel in China is decided according to the unified policy of the government and the development of the economy and society as well as the professional features of the military.

  To maintain the salaries of the military personnel at an appropriate level will help reduce the personal concerns and worries of the military personnel and encourage them to better perform their duties and obligations.

  In two days time will be the PLA Day which marks the anniversary of the founding of the PLA, and here I would like to take this opportunity to express our congratulations to all our fellow officers and men in the PLA and also to express our gratitude to the friends from all sectors of the society who care and support China's national defense and military development.

  This year marks the 70th anniversary of the victory of world Anti-fascist War and the Chinese People's War of Resistance against Japanese Aggression. In this special year, it is even more necessary for us to remember the history, to stay alert while living in peace, and to devote ourselves to building a strong army and safeguard peace.

  We will, as always, keep in close communication, exchanges and cooperation with our friends from the press. And we will continue to introduce the Chinese military to the public in an objective manner. Thank you. See you next month.

Editor :  Zhang Tao