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Defense Ministry's regular press conference on September 29

( Source: China Military Online  )         2016-September-29 23:29

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 September 29, 2016. ( Aiming)
(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: Good afternoon, dear friends from the press, welcome to the regular press conference of the Ministry of National Defense of this month, and also I would like to extend my warm welcome to the friends from the training class of the Communication University of China (CUC) to attend this conference. I would like to start by making an announcement.

China-Germany joint medical military exercise, code-named "Combined Aid-2016", will be held in China's Chongqing from October 17 to 29. The joint exercise takes the humanitarian medical rescue in earthquake disasters as its subject.

The scenario assumes that after an imaginary country is hit by a mega-earthquake, China and Germany respectively send medical forces into the designated area of the quake-hit country to jointly undertake medical rescue operations within the responsibility area, conduct joint command and coordination, and also provide first-aid to the injured and sick in the earthquake and conduct hygienic epidemic prevention.

The Chinese and German sides will send their medical detachments respectively to participate in the joint exercise. The Chinese detachment will be equipped with tent hospital module, field ambulances, field epidemic prevention vehicles and Tele-medicine Systems, medical evacuation helicopters and other medical equipment. The German side will bring one set of Role-1 medical equipment and armored ambulances and so on to participate in the exercise.

This joint exercise will help China and Germany to deepen the exchange between their militaries, enhance their pragmatic cooperation on humanitarian assistance and military medicine, and improve their medical rescue and assistant capabilities in jointly coping with emergent disasters.

Now, the floor is open for questions.

Q: According to China's aviation authority, a complicated notice to navigators was issued on September 20. According to media analysis, it is because of the China's conducting of land-based mid-course anti-ballistic missile test in the area inside the borders. Could you please confirm that?

A: The media analysis you've mentioned is pure speculation. This is merely regular military training within the annual training program.

Q: The 7th Xiangshan Forum will be held. Compared with last year's Xiangshan Forum, are there any new highlights for this year’s forum? Are there any changes about the invited countries and representatives?

The Chinese side didn't sent representatives to participate in the Soul Defense Dialogue held in the Republic of Korea (ROK) this year. Will the Chinese side invite official representatives from the ROK side to attend this year's Xiangshan Forum?

Japanese Defense Minister Tomomi Inada said days ago that Japan planned to conduct joint patrols with the US military in the disputed waters of the South China Sea and also expressed strong support to the US freedom of navigation operations to intensify Japan's participation in and attention to the South China Sea issue. What is your comment on that?

A: The 7th Xiangshan Forum co-hosted by the China Association of Military Science and the China Institute for International Strategic Studies will be held from Oct. 10 to 12. So far, more than 60 countries and organizations have confirmed their participation of official delegations in this year's Xiangshan Forum. In addition, more than 100 scholars and representatives from China and abroad will also participate.

So far, compared with previous forums, this year's forum has three characteristics. Firstly, it has a wider participation. Besides the active participation by Asian countries, there is an increasing participation by European, African and South Pacific countries in the Xiangshan Forum.

Secondly, the forum has richer contents. Besides the preliminary session and the panel discussions, this year's Xiangshan Forum will increase the Young Scholar Forum and the TV Forum as well as other activities.

The third characteristic is that the forum itself is playing a bigger role as a platform for dialogue and exchange. Delegations from some countries, besides attending the forum, will also pay official visits to China. During the forum, leaders of defense establishments and militaries from various countries will have intense bilateral and multilateral exchanges.

With regard to the countries we have invited, according to my knowledge, this forum has extended invitations to all of China’s neighboring countries, and the ROK side has confirmed to send an official delegation to the forum. I’d like to take this opportunity to wish this year’s forum a great success.

Japan, as a country outside the South China Sea region, has always been attempting to mess up the South China Sea situation and trying to gain interests from the troubled waters. So we'd like to tell the Japanese side that if Japan wants to conduct joint patrols and joint exercises in China-administered waters, it is just like playing fire and the Chinese military will not sit idle.

Q: Photos recently appeared on the Internet showing a new type of J-15 fighter jet with reinforced front landing-gear. There are guesses that the future Chinese aircraft carriers will adopt catapult-assisted takeoff method. Could you please confirm it?

A: A lot of military enthusiasts and netizens also pay great attention to the question you raised. As far as I know, the research work concerning the equipment of China’s aircraft carrier is well underway.

Q: What are the considerations of the Chinese side on the choice of the exercise area and the participating forces during the "Joint Sea 2016" China-Russia joint maritime exercise concluded on Sept. 19? Will the participating troops include China's home-made aircraft carrier during the next China-Russia maritime joint exercise?

My second question is that a few days ago, Japan received the first F35A fighter jet from the US, and Yoshiyuki Sugiyama, chief of staff of the Japan Air Self-Defense Force (JASDF), also expressed that the F35 fighter jets may become the next generation main battle fighters for Japan. Then, what kind of influence will be brought to the regional military balance by the induction of the F35 fighter jets into the Japan Air Self-Defense Force?

A: On your first question. In mid-September, the navies of China and Russia conducted a maritime joint military exercise code-named "Joint Sea 2016" in the waters to the east of Zhanjiang, Guangdong Province, and the air space in that area.

The participating troops from the Chinese and Russian sides include the surface vessels, submarines, fixed-wing aircraft, ship-borne helicopters, Marines and amphibious armored equipment.

This is a regular exercise between the two militaries, aiming to cement and develop the comprehensive strategic coordination partnership between China and Russia, deepen the pragmatic and friendly cooperation between the two militaries, and enhance the two navies’ capabilities of jointly coping with maritime security threats. The exercise is not targeted at any third party.

With regard to the participating forces and equipment for future China-Russia maritime joint exercises, that will be decided according to the exercise tasks.

About your second question, we have noticed relevant report, and we hope that the relevant countries could draw lessons from history and do more things that will contribute to regional peace and stability rather than the contrary.

Q: During the China-Japan summit meeting in early September, the leaders of the two countries agreed to accelerate the establishment of the maritime and air liaison mechanism, but did not specify the time to launch it. So far, are there any pending issues as well as obstacles regarding the establishment of the maritime and air liaison mechanism?

Secondly, on Sept. 25, several types of aircraft of the PLA Air Force flew over the Miyako Strait of Japan towards the West Pacific for training. What is the intention and purpose of the PLA Air Force in choosing this time to conduct far-sea training?

A: On your first question, the Chinese side attaches great importance to the establishment of the maritime and air liaison mechanism between the defense departments of China and Japan.

As a matter of fact, a few years ago, the two sides had reached consensus on the main contents of the mechanism. However, after that, the Japanese side intentionally created troubles by raising the question of the area that the mechanism should be applied to. The Chinese side hopes the Japanese side could remove the obstacles for the negotiation as soon as possible and strive for an early start and function of the mechanism.

About your second question, this is a regular training exercise not directing against any particular party or target. I'd like to emphasize that the Chinese military aircraft has the freedom of overflight in relevant airspace, and the operations of the Chinese side are legal and professional. In the future, the PLA will continue to organize far-sea training according to the need of situation and tasks.

Q: In August, the Ministry of National Defense said that China would provide humanitarian aid to Syria, including medical equipment and medicines and that it would also provide medical and nursing training to the Syrian side. Could you please brief us on the progress in this regard?

A: We have responded to this question during last month's press conference. I do not have any further information to release.

Q: According to the Yonhap News Agency, the evaluation on the three potential locations for the deployment of the THAAD system in the Seongju County of the ROK has already been completed and the final location for the deployment may be publicized within this week. How would you comment on this?

A: China has expressed for several times its objection to the US and the ROK's decision to deploy the THAAD system in the ROK. The Chinese side will follow closely the deployment and take necessary measures to safeguard China's strategic security and regional strategic balance. What needs to be emphasized is that we Chinese mean what we say.

Q: During his visit to Japan, the Prime Minister of Singapore reached certain agreements with Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe and said that Singapore had some key interests in the South China Sea which need to be protected, including the freedom of navigation and overflight. What’s your response to that?

A: Japan is a country outside the South China Sea area and Singapore is not one of the parties directly concerned in the South China Sea dispute. We hope the bilateral arrangement of relevant countries will contribute to the peace and stability in the South China Sea region, rather than the contrary.

Q: Recently, in an article spread on the Internet, the wife of a Chinese naval officer complained that, during the college entrance examination, her child did not enjoy relevant preferential policies towards the children of military personnel. But very soon the article was removed. I want to ask about the implementation of such policies with regard to the college entrance examination for the children of military personnel in China. Will these policies of putting the military personnel first and giving them some favorable treatment be changed or canceled?

My second question is that at the beginning of this year, China’s Central Military Commission (CMC) released the Guideline on Deepening National Defense and Military Reform, which clearly put forward that China would implement reforms on the scale and structure of military forces, combat force system, military academies and the armed police forces in 2016, and fulfilled the short-term mission of reform within this year.

Now, we have already entered the fourth quarter of the year, but we can only see news on the reform on the joint logistics support system. Is it because the military reform has met resistance? Will the subsequent task of the reform be completed by the end of this year?

A: About your first question, it is a fine tradition of the Communist Party of China, of our country and of our military, to promote the support to the military and provide preferential treatment to the families of the military, and to have mutual support from the military to the government and to the people.

Such fine tradition has played an important role in consolidating and strengthening the unity between the military and the government, and between the military and the people.

As to the specific information you have mentioned, I need to further verify that. About your second question, the military reform is conducted according to the requirement of overall goals and conducted in different phases. We will release relevant information according to the progress of the reform.

Q:According to media reports, the PLA Air Force organized far-sea training on Sept. 12. There appeared dangerous situation with the standoff of the aircraft from the Chinese mainland, the US and China’s Taiwan region. Could you please introduce relevant information on that? Secondly, according to recent media reports, Russia will deliver the first batch of four Su-35 aircraft to China by the end of this year. Could you please confirm it?

A:About your first question, relevant reports are not consistent with the fact. In mid-September, the PLA organized several types of warplanes to conduct far-sea training over the West Pacific. During the training, there was no unusual situation.

About your second question, the cooperation between China and Russia in military technology has maintained good momentum of development and the bilateral cooperation in such fields as aviation is progressing according to plan.

Q: The bi-annual Zhuhai Airshow is around the corner. In recent years, the Zhuhai Airshow has become the platform for the PLA to demonstrate its weapons and technological achievements. Please brief us on the PLA’s relevant plan on participating the airshow. And could you please share with us the information on the military aircraft to be unveiled in the show and also information relevant to the show?

A: I do not have the specific information on the Zhuhai Airshow. But the organizer of the airshow will release relevant information in due time.

Q: You just mentioned that over 60 countries and organizations would send their delegations to attend the Xiangshan Forum. Would you please tell us the levels of the representatives sent by the US, Japan, the Philippines and Democratic Republic of Korea? Are they from the embassies in Beijing or from their home countries?

Russian Defense Minister Sergie Shoigu said at the ministry's Public Affairs Committee conference that next year's International Military Games may be held in Kazakhstan or in China. What is your comment?

Please brief us on the progress of the establishment of China's 8000-personnel standby peacekeeping force and also the first helicopter contingent for peacekeeping operations.

I can see that you are very interested in the Xiangshan Forum. But for the specific information you wish to know, I need to consult my colleagues from the China Association of Military Science and the China Institution for International Strategic Studies.

For your second question, the Chinese PLA has for three years in a row organized teams to participate in the International Military Games hosted by Russia and has achieved comprehensive benefits in promoting friendship and training our troops.

The Russian side has proposed that China may undertake the hosting of certain events, and we hold a positive attitude toward that. The specific matters in this regard need to be decided through consultations between the two sides.

With regard to your third question, in last year's UN peacekeeping summit, President Xi Jinping of China put forward six commitments to supporting, improving and strengthening the UN peacekeeping operations.

So far, the Chinese side has already completed the training of over 500 peacekeepers from various countries, and in the near future, we will complete the registration of the 8000-personnel standby peacekeeping force at the UN.

The first peacekeeping helicopter contingent has been well prepared for dispatchments to mission areas. China is also conducting consultation with the African Union on the implementation plan of free aid for peacekeeping in the next five years with a total sum of 100 million US dollars.

While actively implementing the related commitments made by Chinese President Xi Jinping, China is also supporting the initiative proposed by the UN Peacekeeping Department on establishing a 4000-personnel rapid deployment unit for peacekeeping operations.

While combining the development of its own 8000-personnel standby peacekeeping force, China tries to achieve the objective of sending part of the standby peacekeeping force for rapid deployment within 60 days. It needs to be pointed out that as a responsible major country, China will always honor its commitments to the UN peacekeeping operations and will play an active role in maintaining world peace and regional stability.

Q: The US Secretary of Defense Ashton Carter, when talking about the new round of nuclear test by the DPRK, said that China should be responsible for that. What's your response? And how do you think the contradictions arising from the Korean Peninsula nuclear issue should be coordinated and solved?

The second question is that some people in the academic circles for strategies in both China and the US hold that the day China starts land reclamation at Huangyan Dao will be the day China and the US have their showdown in the South China Sea. What's your comment?

A: About your first question, the Korean Peninsula nuclear issue, in the final analysis, is a contradiction between the US and the DPRK. Secretary Carter of the US Department of Defense doesn't have to find a scapegoat for the contradiction, and China will never be that scapegoat.

China has actively advocated resolving the Korean Peninsula nuclear issue through pursuing “denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula and the replacement of the armistice with a peace agreement in parallel tracks”. China’s Foreign Minister, Mr. Wang Yi, also made very detailed elaboration on this question. I suggest you may refer to his remarks.

On the question of Huangyan Dao, China has stated many times of its position on the Huangyan Dao. Here I would not repeat it. I don’t know the meaning of the so-called showdown in the South China Sea by some people. The bottom line of China’s policy is very clear: we will resolutely safeguard our national sovereignty, security and maritime rights and interests, and firmly safeguard regional peace and stability. This position of China has never changed.

Q: Recently, several photos circulating on net about an instructor for university students' military training proposing to a female university student aroused questions about the image of military personnel from the society. And people who support the military say that this instructor is not real military personnel or he is from the reserve force, and he can not represent military personnel. How would you comment on this?

And secondly, there are recently several different versions of Law of the People's Republic of China on Veterans (Draft) on the Internet. Is there such a law under consideration and when will this law be promulgated? Finally, the DPRK Embassy in Russia recently released that the DPRK had basically completed its research and development of nuclear weapons. As a neighboring country to the DPRK, how would the Chinese side comment on this?

A: To provide the military training to senior high school students and university students is for the purpose of raising students' awareness for national defense, improving their fitness and training the students to have the will and determination to serve the country and endure hardships. This is the requirement of China's Military Service Law and is also the common practice of many countries.

With regard to the new conditions and new problems arising in the process of such military training, the relevant departments of the PLA and the Ministry of Education will strengthen their supervision and management to improve the effectiveness and quality of such military training.

As for the specific case you just mentioned, according to my knowledge, relevant departments are conducting investigation and verification.

About the law on veterans, I don’t have any information. But, any law related to national defense and military development will be submitted to the National People’s Congress (NPC) or the Standing Committee of the NPC for deliberation. During this period, the NPC will release relevant information in a proper way. If it is passed, it will be promulgated in accordance with law.

On the Korean Peninsula nuclear issue, China has always been standing for the denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula, standing for safeguarding and maintaining peace and stability of the peninsula and standing for resolving these problems through consultation and dialogue.

Q: Since this May, the US military has not conducted operations within the 12 nautical miles off the Chinese islands and reefs in the South China Sea. Some defense experts from the US side said that the US side should continue to conduct such operations. How would you comment?

A: About the freedom of navigation operations of the US military, the Chinese side has stated clearly the policy, position and attitude on many occasions.

On this issue, instead of listening to what the US side says, it's more important to know what they are thinking about and what they have been doing. Anyway, the Chinese military will firmly safeguard China's sovereignty, security and its legal rights and interests and safeguard regional peace and stability.

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 September 29, 2016. ( Aiming)

Editor :  Yao Jianing