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Defense Ministry holds press conference on V-Day parade, cut of troops’ number

( Source: China Military Online  )         2015-September-3 21:59

Senior Colonel Yang Yujun, spokesman for the Ministry of National Defense (MND) of the PRC, answers reporters' questions at a press conference after a gathering to commemorate the 70th anniversary of the victory of the Chinese People’s War of Resistance against Japanese Aggression and the World Anti-Fascist War on Sep.3, 2015.

  BEIJING, Sep. 3 (ChinaMil) -- Xi Jinping, general secretary of the Communist Party of China (CPC) Central Committee, president of the People’s Republic of China (PRC) and chairman of the Central Military Commission (CMC), announced on Sep.3 that China will cut the number of its troops by 300,000.

  Xi made the announcement when delivering a speech at a gathering to commemorate the 70th anniversary of the victory of the Chinese People’s War of Resistance against Japanese Aggression and the World Anti-Fascist War. Then, he inspected troops of China's armed forces at the Tian'anmen Square.

  After the commemoration activities, Senior Colonel Yang Yujun, spokesman for the Ministry of National Defense (MND) of the PRC, answered reporters' questions with regard to the military parade, the cut of troops’ number and so forth.

  Q: What measures has the military adopted to minimize the inconvenience caused by the parade?

  A: Serving the people wholeheartedly is the fundamental aim of China's armed forces. We always stick to the principle of disturbing the people as less as possible in the parade preparations. For example, the training bases and places for the parade were chosen from those places located far from urban areas; the movement of the equipment and the parade rehearsal were carried out by way of least impact and disturbance. The parade training was conducted at night as far as possible, and the flight training was arranged to avoid the peak hours of civil airports as much as possible. With the measures above, we strived to reduce the burden of local governments and minimized the impacts on people's daily work and life.

  Governments at all levels and the general public are very concerned about the parade and show great understanding. They provided lots of help for the parade troops in such aspects as life, traffic, security and so forth. Here, we would like to express sincere thanks! In future, we will work harder to repay the care and love of the broad masses of the people for the national defense and army building.

  Q: Will the Chinese military send more personnel to attend other countries' celebration events in future?

  A: This morning, formations or representative teams from 17 foreign countries have participated in China's activities to commemorate the 70th anniversary of the victory of the Chinese People’s War of Resistance against Japanese Aggression and the World Anti-Fascist War. They displayed the images of their militaries respectively and left a deep impression on us.

  The foreign military formations and representative teams' participation in China's V-Day parade reflects the internationalism to commemorate the victory of the World Anti-Fascist War and the high level of China's foreign military exchanges. We would like to express our sincere appreciation and thanks to the participating foreign officers and soldiers for their arduous efforts.

  In recent years, the Chinese military has successively sent formations or representative teams to participate in the celebration events of Mexico, Italy, Venezuela, Russia and so forth. In future, the Chinese military will go abroad to attend more celebration and commemoration events of other countries, and show the images of China's military personnel.

  Q: Why chose to announce the information of cutting troops’ number at the commemoration?

  A: Holding the activities to commemorate the 70th anniversary of the victory of the Chinese People’s War of Resistance against Japanese Aggression and the World Anti-Fascist War is to remember and commemorate the huge sacrifices of and great contributions made by the Chinese people during the World Anti-Fascist War. The objective of the commemorative activates is to remember history, pay tribute to national martyrs, cherish peace and open up the future.

  The announcement of cutting the number of China's troops by 300,000 made by President Xi Jinping at this commemoration fully shows China's sincerity and aspiration to join hands with the rest of the world to maintain peace, pursue development and share prosperity, and also demonstrates China's active and responsible attitude to push forward the international arms control and disarmament.

  Q: Why to cut the number of China's troops?

  A: China has initiatively cut its troops’ number for several times since 1980s, by trimming down 1milion, 0.5 million and 0.2 million successively. Now, China has a total number of 2.3million military personnel.

  According to the decision and deployment on deepening the national defense and military reform made by the 3rd Plenary Session of the18th Communist Party of China (CPC) Central Committee and after the in-depth research and scientific reasoning, the CPC Central Committee, the Central Military Commission and President Xi Jinping decided to cut the number of China's troops again by 300,000 and reduce the total troops’ number to 2 million.

  This decision is in accordance with China's national and military conditions. Through the cut of troops’ number, China's military will further adjust and optimize its scale and structure, make its troops more capable and its structure more scientific, and construct a modern military force system with Chinese characteristics, so as to realize the CPC's goal of building a strong military in the new situation, and provide strong guarantee for achieving China's “two 100-year” goals and the Chinese dream of realizing the great rejuvenation of the Chinese nation.

  Q: After cutting the number of the troops by 300,000, the number of the Chinese troops still remains the biggest in the world. Why does China still keep such a large scale of troops?

  A: As a big developing country, China is still confronted with multiple complex security threats. Problems of survival security and development security, traditional and non-traditional security threats are intertwined together. Thus, the Chinese People's Liberation Army (PLA) is entrusted with the arduous mission to maintain China's national unity, territorial integrity and development interests.

  At the same time, the PLA also carries out the military operations other than war including domestic emergency rescue and disaster relief, international peacekeeping and international rescue.

  China also has to cope with the threats of regional terrorism, separatism and extremism activities. So, China needs to maintain a certain scale of troops, which is completely for a purpose of defense.

  China will never follow the old path of “a strong nation is necessarily bound to seek hegemony”, never seek hegemony and never go in for expansion. It is against the objective facts and irresponsible for some countries to intentionally hype up "China Threat".

  Q: China faces complicated peripheral security situations now. Are there any risks in cutting the troops’ number at this time?

  A: Cutting the number of troops is conducive to pooling resources, speeding up the pace and improving the quality of informatization construction. The Chinese military has the confidence and ability to deal with various security threats and risks, and safeguard national sovereignty, security and development interests.

  Q: What troops will be the targets of the cut? How long will it take to complete the cut?

  A: It is an established policy of China’s military construction to unswervingly take the road of better troops with Chinese characteristics and build small but highly-efficient armed forces. The cut will mainly target troops equipped with outdated armaments, office staff and personnel of non-combat organizations, and optimize the structure of the PLA. The reform and the cut of troops this time will adopt a step-by-step approach and will be completed by the end of 2017.

  Q: Is there any change in the defense expenditure along with the cut of troops’ number?

  A: Both the total amount and the per-serviceman share of China's defense expenditure in the ratio of GDP are relatively low compared with those of some other countries. At present, the PLA needs to upgrade its overall level of backward weaponry and equipment while undertaking the heavy tasks of informationalization construction.

  Along with the national economic and social development and the increase of income per capital of both urban and rural residents, the salaries of the military personnel should be ensured to increase at the same pace and the social insurance system of soldiers shall be further improved.

  The spending for the placement of the 300,000 surplus military personnel who will retire from their active service in cutting troops’ number needs to be correspondingly increased so as to ensure and deepen the reform of national defense and the military. All these above require China to maintain an appropriate scale of defense expenditure.

  Q: Whether will the money saved from the troops’ cutting be invested in developing China' nuclear, cyber and outer-space forces?

  A: China has always pursued the policy of not being the first to use nuclear weapons and adhered to the nuclear strategy which is self-defense in nature. China holds a consistent position of peaceful use of outer-space and opposes space weaponization and arms race in space.

  China is one of the biggest global victims of hacker attack, which has posed an acute threat to the safety of China's cyber infrastructures. China has consistent policies and transparent strategic purposes in terms of these aspects. China will gradually raise its military strength development level under the guidance of the core national security requirements.

  Q: Does the announcement of cutting troops’ number indicate the formal initiation of a new round of national defense and military reform?

  A: Following the strategic deployment made by the 3rd Plenary Session of the 18th CPC Central Committee on deepening the national defense and military reform, the reform leading group of the Central Military Commission organized and carried out wide and in-depth study and argumentation, which resulted in the adoption of some reform measures such as the adjustment of the organizational system and leading relationship of the Audit Office of the Chinese PLA and the perfection of reform-related policies and systems.

  For the next step, the PLA will launch a lot of new reform initiatives in succession to push forward the national defense and military reform in an active and steady way.

  At the end of the press conference, Senior Colonel Yang Yujun added that to cut the number of troops by 300,000 is an important political decision and political declaration of the CPC and the Chinese government, which makes known to the world once more that China always upholds the banner of peace, development and cooperation, unswervingly sticks to the path of peaceful development, pursues the national defense policy which is defensive in nature, and always acts as a staunch force for safeguarding world peace and regional stability.

  (The English text of the press conference in this article is for reference. In case of any divergence of interpretations, the Chinese text shall prevail.)


Editor :  Yao Jianing