By Senior Colonel Wu Qian, Director General of the Information Office of China's Ministry of National Defense (MND) and Spokesperson for the MND
(The following English text of the press conference is for reference. In case of any divergence of interpretation, the Chinese text shall prevail.)
Question: Recently, President Xi Jinping listened to reports on the Chinese military's participation in flood prevention and disaster relief and delivered an important speech during his inspection tour in Anhui Province. What is the latest situation concerned with the military's participation in flood control and disaster relief?
Answer: President Xi pointed out that relevant military units must work with local governments to strengthen research and analysis of the flood situation, and to dispatch troops scientifically and accurately. The task force must maintain a good condition, investigate hidden dangers in a timely manner and effectively organize emergency rescue and disaster relief, so as to protect people's lives and property and help restore production and daily life. The military shall strictly educate and manage the troops, actively fulfill the purpose of the armed forces, and establish a good image of the military as an force of strength and discipline.
The military resolutely implements the decisions of the CPC Central Committee, the Central Military Commission (CMC) and President Xi, acts upon orders and commits themselves to the fight against the flood. It has made positive contributions to winning the fight against floods. As of late August, the People’s Liberation Army (PLA) and the People's Armed Police Force (PAPF) has dispatched a total of 1.31 million person-times, organized 380 thousand person-times of militiamen, participated in 5,673 rescue operations, assisted local governments in transferring 270 thousand people, solved over 3,900 piping situations, reinforced 970 kilometers of levees, and reopened roads of 570 kilometers.
I also want to share a story. It happened in Shexian County, Anhui Province last month. The national college entrance examination was postponed due to heavy rain for a day. The officers and soldiers who had just completed the rescue mission on embankment rushed to support the exam without any break. They held umbrellas to provide the students with a 30-meter-long corridor in the rain and set up temporary medical service stations to treat the sick. A student named Fang Cheng was unable to go to the examination room to take the exam on his own due to an ankle fracture. The servicemen just took turns to carry him on their backs for 1.3 kilometers to the exam site on time. Thanks to their support, none of the more than 2,000 students in Shexian County missed the exam due to the disaster.
Serving the people wholeheartedly is the purpose and responsibility of the PLA. No matter what kind of hardship they may face, the military will resolutely obey the Party's command and will always be a great wall of steel to protect the interests of the people.
Question: According to media reports, the International Army Games (IAG) 2020 kicked off on August 23. Please brief us on the engagement of Chinese military in the event.
Answer: This year, China has sent more than 260 officers and soldiers of the PLA Army and Air Force to participate in six competitions, namely the "Tank Biathlon", "Safe Environment", "Masters of Armored Vehicles ", "Army Scout Masters", "Open Waters" and "Airborne Platoon".
On arriving in Russia, the participating detachments from the Chinese military immediately began to launch adaptive training to get familiar with equipment performance and competition venues and quickly contacted with the Russian side to ensure implementation of epidemic prevention and control measures. With these preparation efforts, the Chinese participants maintained a good condition. As of now, the Chinese military detachments have exhibited their real capabilities.
The participants of the Chinese military will firmly stick to the orientation of real combat and training, strengthen exchanges and mutual learning with foreign counterparts, and strive to display their conduct and capabilities in the competitions.
Question: According to the previously announced timetable for the reform on military policies and institutions, the Chinese military will complete the main policy reform by 2020 and the supporting policy and institution reforms in various fields by 2022. Please brief us on the progress of the current reform.
Answer: Under the centralized and unified leadership of the CPC Central Committee and the CMC, and under the overall guidance of the CMC leading group for deepening reform on national defense and the armed forces, we have established a dedicated work team with experts as the main body, who will focus on consolidating and expanding the military reform achievements, fully boost reform effectiveness, and follow the principle of systematic planning, forward-looking design, innovative development and overall remodeling. The team will improve the reform organization and implementation work system, create a reform project general ledger and task list to comprehensively cover the entire field of organizational review and evaluation, and timely coordinate with party and government agencies on major issues, to push forward the promulgation of the release of military laws and regulations as well as supporting policies and institutions.
At present, 58 policies and institutions have been released. The Law on the People's Armed Police Force has been implemented, and the Regulation on Party Building of the Armed Forces has been issued. Furthermore, other major policies and institutions in the fields of joint operations, military training, logistics and equipment are also being drafted. China has scheduled to build a socialist system of military policies and institutions with Chinese characteristics by the end of 2020.
Question: Earlier this month, the defense leaders of China and the United States had another telephone conversation after five months to exchange views on a series of issues of common concern. The media noticed that the US Secretary of Defense had previously expressed his hope to visit China this year. Please comment on the current China-US military relationship and brief us on China's considerations on high-level exchanges between the two militaries in the next stage.
Answer: The current China-US relations are facing an extremely severe and complicated situation since the establishment of diplomatic relations. For a period of time, the US has continued to make provocation against China, seriously undermining China's sovereignty and security, and damaging relations between the two countries and their armed forces. China will neither do the same nor allow the US to mess about. China has taken strong measures to firmly defend its national sovereignty, security, and development interests.
“He who does not have a long-term plan is not up to short term jobs. He who does not have the whole picture in mind cannot design a part.” We hope that the US will sincerely take a strategic vision, viewing China's development with an open and rational mind, and getting out of the quagmire of anxiety. At present, it is important for the Chinese and US militaries to maintain communication. The two sides should work together towards the same goal and step up crisis communication to effectively prevent risks, and promote and maintain the overall stability of the relationship between the two militaries.
Regarding the high-level exchanges between the two militaries, the two defense authorities have maintained communication and coordination. It is hoped that the US will take practical measures to create a positive and favorable atmosphere for its visit.
Question: According to media reports, the US military has recently taken actions frequently in areas surrounding China. The US military aircraft have frequently approached the coast of the Chinese mainland for reconnaissance, and the US warships have carried out targeted military exercises in waters of the South China Sea and the East China Sea. These actions are becoming more and more provocative against China. What's your comment, please?
Answer: Recently, the US has increased its efforts to pressurize and provoke China. The Chinese stance is clear in this regard: we hold objection to these actions but no fear of them. With a coming presidential election, some US politicians have tried their best to damage the relationship between the two countries and militaries for their own interest and even attempted to start accidents or military conflicts.
Such actions put the lives of on-site troops of both sides at risk, not to mention the fundamental interests of the two peoples. It goes against the will of peoples in the world longing for peace and will have no support at all.
China loves peace, but won’t be scared to fight. The Chinese military will take all necessary measures to resolutely safeguard national sovereignty, security, and development interests, and resolutely safeguard world and regional peace and stability.
The Chinese side urges the US side to see the reality, remain rational, stop provocative behaviors, and make efforts to push the relations between the two countries and the two armed forces back on the right track.
Question: The US and the Taiwan authorities have been interacting frequently this month. The US Secretary of Health and Human Services arrived in Taiwan for certain activities, the USS Mustin (DDG 89) passed through the Taiwan Strait, and US military aircraft increased the frequency of provocative activities in waters around. What's your comment, please?
Answer: Taiwan is an inalienable part of China. China resolutely opposes any form of "Taiwan independence" separatist actions and any form of official exchanges and military ties between the US and the Taiwan region. This position is clear.
Recently, the PLA Eastern Theater Command has deployed troops from multiple military services and arms and organized real-combat exercises along the Taiwan Strait, targeting external interference and a small group of "Taiwan independence" secessionist forces and their separatist activities. China will take all necessary measures to resolutely safeguard national sovereignty and territorial integrity, and resolutely maintain peace and stability across the Taiwan Strait.
Question：Media in Taiwan reported that the US Department of Defense recently announced a 10-year military sales order with a total value of US $62 billion, possibly including a sale deal of 66 F-16V Viper fighter jets to Taiwan. What's your comment?
Answer: China firmly opposes the US arms sale to Taiwan. The arms sale has been a major issue harming the relations between the two countries and militaries, and undermining regional peace and stability.
On this issue, China's position is clear. After the US announced the sale of 66 F-16V Viper fighter jets to Taiwan last year, China immediately stated its firm opposition. If the US insists on executing the new round of arms sales to Taiwan, China will take all necessary measures to resolutely counteract.
Question: According to media reports, the US will give priority to the deployment of medium-range missiles in Japan after the withdrawal from the Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces (INF). The US Special Presidential Envoy for Arms Control, Ambassador Marshall Billingslea recently stated that the US is studying the possibility of deploying medium- and short-range land-based missiles in Asian countries. What's your comment?
Answer: The Ministry of National Defense has previously stated its firm opposition. If the US side insists on going in the wrong direction, China will respond resolutely.
Question: According to media reports, the 16th Chinese peacekeeping engineer contingent to Darfur, Sudan, has departed for the mission area recently. Please brief us on the relevant situation.
Answer: A total of 110 troops of the first group of China's 16th peacekeeping engineering unit to Darfur, Sudan, set off for the peacekeeping mission area on August 11. They have finished a 14-day quarantine organized by the United Nations and the rotation is underway. According to the plan, 115 troops of the second group will depart for the mission area at the end of August.
Since July, the Chinese peacekeeping forces to Mali, Lebanon, and Sudan have been under rotation successively. This is the first time for the Chinese military to rotate peacekeeping forces since the outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic, which reflects China’s firm support for UN peacekeeping operations. In their training, the troops selected for peacekeeping missions have focused on strengthening pandemic prevention and control drills, and improving their ability in handling emergencies, demonstrating excellent professionalism.
This year marks the 30th anniversary of China’s participation in UN peacekeeping operations. Over the past 30 years, the Chinese military has participated in 25 UN peacekeeping operations and has dispatched more than 40,000 peacekeepers, bringing confidence and hope to the people in conflict-affected areas, and having become a key factor and key force in UN peacekeeping operations.
The Chinese military will faithfully implement President Xi’s vision of building a community with a shared future for mankind, and actively fulfill international responsibilities as a military of a major country. It will continue to make new and greater contributions to safeguarding world peace as a protector of peace and messenger of friendship.
Question: According to media reports, China has recently conducted several military activities in the Yellow Sea and the South China Sea. Could you please confirm and comment?
Answer: According to the annual military training arrangements, the Chinese military recently organized routine military exercises in the sea and air spaces to the southeast of Qingdao and west of Lveshun, and of Nansha Islands and surrounding areas, Xisha Islands and areas to the North of Xisha. The exercises mentioned above are not targeted at any country.
Question: We noticed that military academies have basically finished this year’s admission. Please brief us on the general situation in 2020.
Answer: In this year’s admission, the military schools have comprehensively implemented the principle of openness, fairness and equality, strictly carried out relevant policies and plans, actively adapted to the reform of national college entrance exam (gaokao) system, and complied with the overall situation of epidemic prevention and control of the nation and the military, with the Sunshine Admission Program being thoroughly implemented and the annual admission tasks achieved.
In 2020, 27 military schools have enrolled about 12,000 high school graduates, reaching 99.7% of the plan. Among them, 95% are admitted by their first-choice applications; 99.1% score higher than the admission line of first-batch universities or the provincial control line of independent admission; 88.9% are Youth League members, 5.3% are CPC members and 16% are merit students, students in leadership roles, or municipal or higher-level contest winners. Thirty-three military schools have met 99.4% of their plan for the admission of soldiers, with 86.1% of the cadet recruits being college students or graduates and nearly 80% from combat or combat support positions.
The PLA Navy’s pilot recruitment has reached a new high both in quality and efficiency, with all recruits scoring 49 points higher on average in gaokao than the admission line of first-batch universities. The number of pilots for carrier-borne fighter jets accounts for 49% of the total.
Question: Japanese media reported that Japanese Defense Minister Taro Kono expressed strong concern over China’s activities in the East China Sea and the South China Sea earlier this month. He mentioned that Chinese vessels have patrolled in waters of Diaoyu Islands for over 100 days. According to him, the Japanese Self-Defense Forces will join hands with the Japan Coast Guard and act firmly when necessary. China will pay a high cost for the attempt to unilaterally change the status quo in the South China Sea by force. What’s your comment, please?
Answer: The Diaoyu Islands have been Chinese territory since ancient times. China’s patrolling and law enforcement activities in that area are reasonable and legitimate and brook no interference. If Japan takes any action that escalates the situation, it will have to bear all the consequences.
As a country outside of the South China Sea, Japan has no right to make irresponsible remarks on the issue.
Question: We noticed that China and India have recently made diplomatic communications on multiple levels to ease the tension in the border area. Please brief us on the current situation in the China-India border area and comment on the relationship between the two militaries.
Answer: China and India have held several rounds of talks through military and diplomatic channels since the Galwan Valley clash. Due to their active efforts, progress has been made in disengaging the frontline troops of both sides. The two sides agreed to follow the important consensus reached by the leaders of both countries and other relevant agreements, continue military and diplomatic dialogues, ease the tension in the border area, properly handle the remaining issues, and jointly safeguard peace and tranquility in the border area.
China and India are important neighbors. Maintaining peace and stability in the border area is not only conducive to their respective development, but also to regional and world peace and stability. We hope India can work with China towards the same goal, bearing in mind the big picture of bilateral ties and putting the border issue in an appropriate position in this big picture, avoid misjudgment, prevent differences becoming disputes, and take concrete steps to bring the bilateral relations back to the right track.
Question: According to some reports, Iranian Defense Minister Amir Khatami stated in Moscow on August 22 that Iran, Russia, and China are all intended to hold another joint naval exercise in the Gulf of Oman. What's your comment?
Answer: The Chinese military has maintained exchanges with Iranian and Russian militaries, and has played an active role in safeguarding regional peace and stability.
Question: Foreign media reported that China’s first Type-075 amphibious assault ship has recently conducted its maiden sea trial. Could you please confirm that?
Answer: Yes. The first Type075 amphibious assault ship of the PLA Navy has finished its first-stage sea trial. Independently developed by China, it has strong capabilities of performing amphibious operations and diverse tasks.
The 75th anniversary of the victory of the Chinese People's War of Resistance against Japanese Aggression and the World's Anti-Fascist War is about to come in a week. Seventy-five years ago, after 14 years of arduous struggle, the Chinese people achieved victory on the main battlefield of the World's Anti-Fascist War in the East at the expense of huge national sacrifices and made significant contributions to the victory of the World's Anti-Fascist War.
The Chinese military will, as always, firmly pursues a defensive defense policy and a military strategy of active defense, firmly defends national sovereignty, security and development interests and contributes to the forces for peace in the world with the growth of its own strength. It also aims to make new and greater contributions to realizing the Chinese dream of national rejuvenation and building a strong military, and safeguarding world peace and stability.