(The following English text of the press conference is for reference. In case of any divergence of interpretation, the Chinese text shall prevail.)
Senior Colonel Wu Qian: Good afternoon, friends from the media! Welcome to this month’s regular press conference of the Ministry of National Defense (MND) of the People’s Republic of China (PRC). It is very hot Today in Beijing, and we have prepared some bottled water in the refrigerator outside this meeting room, and you can get some if you need to.
Today I have five pieces of news to release at the beginning.
The first one is concerned with the China-Africa Defense and Security Forum.
From June 26th to July 10th, 2018, the first China-Africa Defense and Security Forum is held at the College of International Defense Studies of the PLA National Defense University. The forum is hosted by the Chinese Ministry of National Defense and it is the first China-Africa multilateral mechanism of high-level military exchanges. This forum aims to promote the transformation and improvement of China-Africa military cooperation, so as to give new momentum to the development of China-Africa relationship in the new era. The theme of the Forum is “Join Hands for Mutual Assistance”. Delegates from various countries have in-depth discussions on such topics as the China-Africa community of shared future, the relation between China and Africa, China’s national defense policy, the military relations between China and African countries, and so on.
A total of 58 representatives from 50 African countries and Africa Union (AU) participate in this forum. The Chinese side attaches great importance to the military exchanges and cooperation with the African countries. I think the prospect of Defense and Security Cooperation between China and Africa can be best summarized with a Chinese poem: “The river is wide at full tide, a strong wind sends the sail surging forward.”
The second piece of news is about China’s assistance in the establishment of the Tropical Disease Prevention and Control Center in Sierra Leone.
In order to implement Chinese President Xi Jinping’s solemn commitments in the Forum of China and Africa (FOCAC) Johannesburg Summit to help Africa countries in strengthening their abilities in public health prevention and control, China helps Sierra Leone to build a Tropical Disease Prevention and Control Center. The new center, which will be inaugurated in the first half of July this year, is mainly designed to improve the capacity of Sierra Leone in prevention, control and treatment in case of epidemic diseases, and it will be the first disease control center contributed by Chinese PLA in Africa.
Next, China will make full use of the center for its medical cooperation with Sierra Leone and continue its participation in the system and capacity building of African public health prevention and control. China will provide more public health support to the continent and contribute to the friendly cooperation with Africa.
The third piece of news is about the Chinese hospital ship Peace Ark’s visits.
The Chinese PLA Navy hospital ship Peace Ark (Hull 866) will set sail on June 28th to 11 countries, including Papua New Guinea, Vanuatu, Fiji, Tonga, Columbia, Venezuela, Grenada, Dominique, Antiqua and Papuda, Dominica, El Ecuador and provide humanitarian medical aid to these countries, and it will also visit Chile to participate in the 200th Anniversary of the founding of the Chilean Navy. This will be the 7th “Harmony Mission” tour, during which the Chinese hospital ship Peace Ark will provide free medical service to the local people and staff of overseas Chinese institutions in these countries. Other activities including medical exchanges and open day activities will be arranged.
This tour is a practical step to champion international humanitarianism and the concept of peace, development, win-win cooperation. It will help strengthen friendly cooperation with host countries and improve the deep sea medical capability of the Chinese PLA Navy.
The fourth piece of news is about the visit of the Commander-in-Chief of the Russian Land Forces Colonel General Oleg Salyukov to China.
At the invitation of General Han Weiguo, commander of the Chinese PLA Army,
Commander-in-Chief of the Russian Land Forces Colonel General Oleg Salyukov will make a formal visit to China from July 2nd to 15th, 2018. During his visit, he will have meetings and hold talks with Chinese military leaders, and exchange views on such issues as bilateral relations, military cooperation, international and regional situation and so on. General Salyukov and his delegation will also visit relevant military units and academies of the Chinese PLA.
The fifth piece of news is about the Chinese PLA Guards of Honor to participate in Independence Day Parade in Belarus.
Belarus will host their Independence Day Parade on July 3rd, 2018. At the invitation of the Ministry of Defense of Belarus, China will dispatch a 66-member marching column to the Belarussian Independence Day Parade. The members of the team are selected from the Chinese PLA Guards of Honor, and they are now conducting preparatory training in Minsk.
In order to improve information transmission capacity, we have prepared two video clips and one picture. The first video clip is an interview made by journalists from China Military Online and Ministry of National Defense website during the opening ceremony of the China-Africa Defense and Security Forum. It interviews some representatives of African countries and asks them to talk about their thoughts and expectations about the cooperation with Chinese military. The second video clip is about the route and mission of the Chinese hospital ship “Peace Ark” in Latin America. The last picture is about the PLA Guards of Honor having trainings in Minsk. Please let the staff show them.
Now the floor is open for questions.
Question: General Mattis, Secretary of Defense of the United States is visiting China from June 26 to 28. What are the consensuses reached between China and US during this visit? And what is your comment on his first visit as the Secretary of Defense of the United States?
Answer: At the invitation of General Wei Fenghe, State Councilor and Minister of National Defense of China, General Mattis paid an official visit to China from June 26 to 28. President Xi Jinping met with Mattis. General Wei Fenghe, State Councilor and Minister of National Defense of China, General Xu Qiliang, member of the Political Bureau of CPC Central Committee and Vice Chairman of Central Military Commission and Yang Jiechi, member of the Political Bureau of CPC Central Committee and Director of the Office of Central Leading Group of Foreign Affairs also met with him.
Both sides had in-depth exchange of views on topics of mutual interest such as international and regional situation, bilateral relations between the countries and the two militaries, Korean peninsula issue, Taiwan, maritime security and other issues. Important consensuses were reached on strengthening exchanges between the two militaries at all levels, enhancing mutual trust, deepening practical cooperation and managing risks and challenges. The visit was fruitful and constructive.
Question: It has been reported that Chinese Minister of National Defense General Wei Fenghe will make an official visit to the United States within this year. Would you please confirm this information?
Answer: To realize the exchange of visits between the defense ministers of the two countries is important consensus reached by Chinese President Xi Jinping and the U.S. President Trump. During their official talks, the U.S. Defense Secretary Mattis extended an official invitation to his Chinese counterpart General Wei Fenghe to visit the United States within this year, and General Wei accepted the invitation gladly. The defense departments of the two countries are keeping close contact concerning this issue.
Question: After the completion of the reform, what departments will the Armed Police Force (APF) consist of? What are their functions and tasks?
Answer: After the completion of the reform, the APF will be composed of the internal security contingent, maneuver contingent and coast guard contingent, as well as educational and research institutions. The APF is mainly responsible for performing such tasks as guard duty, emergency handling, counter-terrorism, maritime law enforcement, emergency rescue and defensive operations.
Question: We had a summit between the leaders of China and India in Wuhan this April. May I ask whether the leaders of the two militaries have plans of reciprocal visits? What new developments will be made in the mil-to-mil relations under the new circumstances? What is the progress of building the direct hotline between the Chinese and Indian military headquarters?
Answer: China and India are neighbors set by nature. Their friendly cooperation can be traced back to introduction of Buddhism into China and the travel of the famous monk Xuanzang to India.
China is willing to work together with the India side to earnestly implement the consensus of the leaders of the two countries about the development of bilateral relations, accumulate strategic trust, promote win-win cooperation, effectively manage and control differences, maintain border stability, and ensure the sound development of the relations between the two militaries.
Lieutenant General Liu Xiaowu, deputy commander of the PLA Western Theater Command, will lead a border defense delegation to visit India and Pakistan recently. During the visit, he will meet with military leaders of both countries and exchange views on issues including exchanges at the theater level, border management and control and border defense cooperation.
Speaking of the China-India border defense cooperation, I want to mention a special border meeting. June 21 is the International Yoga Day that day. On that day this year, the border defense soldiers from China and India held a meeting to practice yoga together. Besides, the Chinese officers and soldiers also demonstrated Chinese Martial Arts for the Indian soldiers. I expect more extensive friendly cooperation between the two sides and accumulation of mutual trust so that we can maintain peace and stability along the borders and fully implement important consensus reached by leaders of the China and India.
Question: The College Entrance Examination ended recently and the examinees are very concerned about the recruitment of the military academies of the PLA. Could you please give us more details about the recruitment of the military academies this year?
Answer: Under the guidance of Xi Jinping’s thoughts on building a strong military, the 2018 military academies recruitment aims to select talents who can fight and win. The PLA will give full play to its new education system and take a steady and meticulous approach in planning, publicity and recruitment. As for now, the recruitment plan has been issued and 26 military academies will take in 30,000 cadets. Among them, 12,000 will be from general high schools, 5,000 from cadet soldiers and 13,000 from NCOs. We welcome all potential applicants, and we hope to see them in the barracks and happiness through their own efforts.
Question: It was reported that the work to transfer the administration of China Coast Guard was to start. What will be the command system of the Coast Guard after it is placed under the People’s Armed Police Forces? And what will be the change in its maritime law enforcement? And will there be any change in the patrol and rights protection around the Diaoyu Island?
Answer: After transferring the administrative control of the coast guard to the Armed Police Forces, a separate general detachment of Coast Guard，known as the Chinese Bureau of Coast Guards，will be set up. The transferring of its control and reform of the command and control system will not change its basic mission to protect maritime rights and carry out law enforcement. It does not entail any change on the Chinese side in its principles and policies on maritime issues. As always, China is committed to a peaceful resolution of differences through direct consultations with relevant sovereign countries and will continue law enforcement and security cooperation with other countries.
Question: China’s Ministry of National Defense hosted the first China-Africa Defense and Security Forum in China from June 26 to July 10, 2018. What’s the major consideration of the Chinese side to host the forum? We have noticed twelve countries including Sierra Leone, South Sudan, Gambia, Sao Tome and Principe have sent their Chiefs of General Staff or Deputy Chiefs of General Staff to participate in the forum. What is your comment on their participation?
Answer: China and Africa have been bounded as a community of shared future even in times of difficulty. The first China-Africa Defense and Security Forum hosted by China’s Defense Ministry is designed to implement important consensuses reached between Chinese President Xi Jinping and African leaders on building China-Africa community of shared future, as well as enhancing cooperation in the field of peace and security, and to set up a multilateral platform for military exchanges between China and African countries and for steady and sustainable development of China-Africa military cooperation in the new era. It also aims to help the African countries improve independent peace and security capabilities, and to solicit renewed international attention to and support for the peace and stability in Africa.
The decision to hold the forum was warmly welcomed by African countries and the African Union. The defense departments and armed forces of African countries attached great importance to the forum, and fifty African Countries and the African Union have dispatched high-level representatives to the forum, including chiefs of general staff or deputy chiefs of general staff from twelve countries. I’m confident that with the joint efforts from all the participants, the forum will meet its goal of enhancing mutual trust, consolidating consensus and deepening cooperation, and will conclude in complete success.
Question: Australian media reported that the Australian naval vessels had been monitored by Chinese “spy ships” during its visit to Fiji. What’s your comment?
Answer: The Australian media’s reports are sheer fabrication out of nothing and whimsical imagination. To be very frank, the Australian media may have overestimated their country’s strength. China has no reason or need to conduct the so-called surveillance on Australian naval ships.
The way the Australian media draw attention by distorting the story only reveals their lack of common sense and confidence. I want to stress that freedom of the press is not equal to fabrication.
Question: You have mentioned that during the US Secretary of Defense James Mattis’ visit to China, the two sides have talked on topics of Taiwan issue. Can you tell us what information has the Chinese side conveyed to the US side? A scholar of a think tank of the pan-Green groups within Taiwan has suggested renting a part of the Taiping Island to the US in the name of the humanitarian aid. What is your comment on that?
Besides, the recent China-US economic and trade frictions including the issue of the ZTE have raised Chinese concerns about China's high-tech sector. Some people wonder whether such kind of incident exists in the military fields. If high-tech areas such as military chips were seized by the throat, would the Chinese military be short of breath?
Answer: About Secretary Mattis’ visit to China, the media have given full coverage yesterday. Needless to say, China and the US have different views on some issues. It must be pointed out, however, that the common interests of China and the US far outweigh their differences, and the opportunities for cooperation far outweigh the challenges. China is willing to work together with the US to expand common interests of both sides, properly handle contradictions and differences, manage and control risks and challenges, walk in the direction of mutual respect and win-win cooperation between the two militaries, and promote the mil-to-mil relations as an important stabilizer for the development of relations between the two countries.
As for the proposal you mentioned on the Taiping Island, I think it is very dangerous. Any words and deeds that harm the interests of the Chinese nation will be firmly opposed by all Chinese of both sides of the Taiwan Straits. The Chinese PLA will resolutely safeguard China's sovereignty, security and territorial integrity.
On the high-tech issue, China has always adhered to the principles of independence, self-reliance and independent innovation in developing its weapons and equipment, and has mainly relied on its own efforts to conduct research and production. We have the wisdom and ability to research and develop the weapons and equipment needed to maintain national security, as the past history has proved. It is and will be the same at present and in the future.
Question: The senate of the United States has approved the 2018 National Defense Authorization Act in June, in which the US Armed Forces is encouraged to participate in some of Taiwan’s military exercises. It also suggests that the US Secretary of Defense James Mattis to suspend the invitation for China to participate in the RIMPAC Exercise until it can proved that China has stopped the construction of the islands in the South China Sea. What is your comment on that?
My second question is that the US, Japan and India held the Malabar 2018 naval exercise off the coast of Guam in June. This is the first joint naval exercise since the establishment of the US Indo-Pacific command. It is reported that the anti-submarine training of the exercise is aimed at Chinese submarines. What is your comment?
Answer: Taiwan is a part of China. We are firmly opposed to any form of official exchanges and military contacts between any country and Taiwan. This position is clear and definite. What needs to be stressed is that there is no way out to bank on foreign forces to build themselves up, and it is impossible to contain China with Taiwan. We urge the US side to deal with the Taiwan-related issues cautiously or it might shoot itself in the foot. As for the participation of the Pacific Rim Exercise, we have already shown the Chinese military’s stance on this issue, so I will not repeat here.
And for your second question, China is concerned about the Malabar 2018 naval exercise held by the US, Japan and India. China believes that the military cooperation of relevant countries should be conducive to regional peace and stability and not target at any third country.
Question: We can see that, after the 19th Party Congress, the military, under the leadership of President Xi, embarked on a new jouney with renewed spirit and restored the good traditions and fine styles of the past. Recently, the Central Military Commission (CMC) issued Action Plan for Inheriting Red Gene. What are the concrete measures of the armed forces and what important events will be held?
Answer: In the process of leading and pushing forward the great course of making the armed forces and the nation strong, President Xi Jinping has attached great importance to the red gene and repeatedly told us to pass on the red gene from generation to generation. The CMC has recently issued Action Plan for Inheritance of Red Gene. It is the guideline that champions revolutionary legacy and good traditions. It will play an importatn role in encouraging the officers and men of the PLA to remember the history and their missions and to commit themselves to building PLA into a world-class army.
The PLA and the PAP will focus on the following measures:
First, strengthen theoretical research and teaching and grasp the theoretical source and essence of the red gene. Second, carry out education on the history of the PLA and the Communist Party, and oppose any distortion of history or defamation of heroes. Third, strengthen history archives. We will do our best to preserve and compile historical documents to give a clear presentation of the revolutionary history. Fourth, carry out important commemorative activities. Remembrance ceremonies will be held for important festivals or anniversaries in the history of the party, the country and the PLA. We will also commemorate important events or personalities in the history. Service branches, theater commands and different units are encouraged to have their own ceremonies, celebrating their own heroes and glories to boost the morale and team spirit. Fifth, make full use of military history museums to show the brilliant history of the PLA and provide the officers and men with a place to receive education on good traditions in the past. Sixth, develop revolutionary red culture and expose officers and men to red culture to keep the red gene alive and powerful.
Question: The 18th Meeting of the Council of Heads of Member States of the Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO) was held in Qingdao, east China’s Shandong province on June 9-10. What will the SCO member states do to further enhance the defense and security cooperation and what are the specific arrangements in this regard?
Answer: President Xi Jinping pointed out at the SCO leaders' summit that security is the cornerstone for the sustainable development of the Shanghai Cooperation Organization. We need to practice the vision of common, comprehensive, cooperative and sustainable security, and abandon the outdated cold-war mentality and bloc confrontation. We advocate the universal security and oppose the so-called absolute security at the expense of security of other countries. Facts have proved that seeking exclusive and absolute security is no different from an idiot's daydream. Just as a Kazakh proverb says: people who try to blow out the oil lamp of others will have their own beard burned.
Defense security is an important area of cooperation of the SCO, and the SCO member states have in recent years conducted smooth, effective security cooperation along with increasingly deepening pragmatic cooperation in various areas, making positive contributions to maintaining regional security and stability.
In August this year, the SCO joint counter-terrorism military exercise will be staged in the Chelyabinsk region of Russia. All the SCO member states including India and Pakistan will sent contingents to participate in the exercise, which will facilitate the enhancement of mutual trust, friendship and cooperation among the SCO member states to jointly cope with new threats and challenges.
We are confident that under the strategic guidance of the SCO heads of states, the armed forces of all the SCO member states will continue to uphold the Shanghai Spirit and deepen their cooperation and communication in the defense and security area. The SCO defense and security cooperation will for sure embrace a brighter future!
Question: Taiwan's United Daily News reported that last week, the guided-missile destroyer Jinan and frigate Huanggang of the Chinese PLA Navy sailed southward through the eastern waters of Taiwan, headed west from the Bashi Channel and lingered in the southwestern waters of Taiwan. Taiwan media said it was the first time that the PLA had sent a type 052C destroyer, known as the “Chinese Aegis”, to carry out such a mission. But, Taiwan's defense ministry kept silent on this. What is your comment?
Answer: I have three points to make concerning this issue.
First, Taiwan is a part of China. To safeguard national sovereignty and territorial integrity is a sacred mission of the PLA.
Second, necessary actions taken by us are aiming at the secessionist forces within Taiwan, in order to prevent the welfare of the Taiwan people from being harmed by the “Taiwan independence” plot.
Third, we will organize and carry out relevant training and actions according to the development and change of situation across the Taiwan straits.
Question: The reform the Chinese People’s Armed Police Force concerns sectors of both civilian and military. Please brief us on the progress of the reform.
Answer: According to the Plan for Deepening the Reform of the Party and State Institutions approved by the Party Central Committee, the reform of the Chinese People’s Armed Police includes the following aspects:
Firstly, we will change the administration of Coast Guard from the State Oceanic Administration to the Armed Police Force.
Secondly, the Armed Police Force troops that performed civil-related duties including gold, forestry and hydropower have been transferred to relevant state institutions accordingly while no longer in military service. The Armed Police Force troops that took on duties at the customs are withdrawn. As for now, the customs troops have already been withdrawn.
Thirdly, we will change the administration of coast guards from the State Oceanic Administration to the Armed Police Force. This will take effect from 1st of July.
As for the gold, forestry and hydropower troops, they will be handed over to the Ministry of Emergency Management, Ministry of Natural Resources and the State-owned Assets Supervision and Administration Commission of the State Council before the end of this year. The reform is now being implemented according to the overall arrangement of the Party Central Committee.
Question: The International Military Games 2018 will be held soon, and China will also host some competitions. How many countries will participate in the games? And will Pakistan participate in the games?
Answer: The Chinese People’s Liberation Army will send delegation to Russia, Kazakhstan and Belarus from late July to mid August to participate the International Army Games 2018. And we will also host four competitions in China. The PLA Army will host Suvorov Attack, Clear Sky and Safety Route in Korla of the Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region, and the PLA Navy will host Seaborne Assault in Quanzhou city of southeast China’s Fujian Province.
In the middle of June, Russia, Kazakhstan, Belarus, Venezuela, and Egypt sent working teams to China to carry out onsite investigation on the facilities and supporting guarantee conditions of the competition fields and work transition. Chinese military has sent personnel to relevant countries to organize onsite inspection. The competition teams from the Chinese Army, Navy and Air Force are now having targeted training according to the program and will enter the competition fields successively in late June.
Next, Chinese military will steadily advance all preparations for the hosting of and participation in the competitions. With the aim of enhancing exchanges and training our troops, we will consult skills and deepen exchanges with foreign militaries during the competition. We will release information on the participating teams in due course.
Question: According to reports by Taiwan media, China’s HQ-9 missile system appeared again on the Yongxing Island days ago. The Foreign Ministry of Vietnam made a response on June 15, asking China to withdraw the illegal military deployment on the island. What is your comment on this issue?
Answer: The Xisha Islands is Chinese territory, and it is fully just and reasonable to deploy necessary defense facilities on the Islands.
Question: It was reported that some time ago, China's Y-20 had conducted its first joint airborne jump and airdrop training with the PLA airborne troops. Could you give us details about this training? Does it mean that the Y-20 has formed combat capability?
Answer: China's independently developed large transport aircraft Y-20 has conducted its first airborne jump and airdrop training jointly with the PLA airborne troops in recent days. This is another leap in the strategic projection capability and long-range airborne operation capability of China’s air force.
Y-20 is a large multi-purpose transport aircraft independently developed by China, which is capable of carrying out long-distance transportation tasks of personnel and various materials under complicated meteorological conditions. After its commission to the Air Force troops in July 2016, the realistic combat training of Y-20 aircraft has been fully carried out.
Question: In a recent report released by the official Wechat account of the China Shipbuilding Industry Corporation, a picture showed the image of the third aircraft carrier. What is the progress of China's third aircraft carrier?
My second question is about US president Trump’s recent announcement to set up a “Space Force” to fight in space. What is your comment? And what counter measures will China take if the US does succeed in building a “Space Force”?
Answer: For your first question, we will make an overall plan in the development and construction of the aircraft carriers. For you second question, we have noticed relevant report and will follow closely of the movements of the US. The outer space is the common property of human kind. China always advocates for the peaceful use of outer space and opposes the weaponization of outer space and the arms race in outer space. We are also oppose to the use or threat or the use of force in outer space. We hope that all countries will earnestly safeguard lasting peace and tranquility in outer space.
Question: Foreign media reported that China and the ASEAN countries were to hold joint maritime military exercises. Could you please confirm?
Answer: According to the consensus reached among defense departments of China and the ASEAN countries, joint maritime military exercise will be held within this year. This exercise aims to enhance mutual trust, expand exchange and cooperation and maintain regional peace and stability. Currently, relevant parties are in contact with each other on specific arrangements. We will release relevant information in due course.
Question: In July 2016, the United States and South Korea claimed that due to the tensions in the Korean Peninsula, they decided to deploy the THAAD system in South Korea. After the recent Trump-Kim summit and with the ease of tension in the Peninsula, has the Chinese side raised the request of withdrawing the THAAD system from the Peninsula during the high-level mil-to-mil meeting between China and the United States?
Answer: China is strongly opposed to the deployment of the THAAD system in South Korea, and this stance is clear and consistent. The Chinese armed forces will make concrete actions to safeguard national security and regional peace and stability.
So if there are no more questions, I want to say something. Recently the FIFA World Cup 2018 in Russia is in full swing. But I want to draw your attention to another sport event – the 7th International Military Sports Council (CISM) Military World Games, which will be held in Wuhan in Oct. of 2019. The CISM Military World Games will have the biggest number of competition events, and It will also be the first time that a single city hosts all events.
As for the preparation works of the Game, I would summarize the preparation in three areas:
First, the preparation of sports venues are going smoothly. All venues will be finished by the end of this year, except for the 6 projects including the Wuhan Sports Center, the Military World Games Media Center, the East West Lake Sports Center and the Athlete’s Village. Most of these venues will be used for other international or national games after the Game in the future, and it will also be open to the general public.
Second, the organization work of the Military World Games is going smoothly. The game rules, general competition programs and rules for all sports disciplines have been finished. The organizers have signed memorandum of understanding (MoU) with relevant committees of the CISM concerning such subjects as parachuting, Mordern Pentathlon，Equestrian Hurdles, Naval Pentathlon, Military Pentathlon, Orienteering, and so on. These MoUs will serve as the standards for all parties during the execution of the Game.
Third, volunteer recruitment’s work is going smoothly. We plan to recruit 10,000 volunteers in 2018. By now，24,531 individuals and 28 volunteer groups have filed their application. From the beginning of 2019, we will begin the next round of volunteer recruitment.
We also made a video clip in cooperation with the relevant committees of the CISM about the preparatory work, and we would like invite you to watch.
I want to make additional remarks that the animal you’ve seen from this video is a mascot of the CISM Military World Games named Bing Bing, and Bing means soldiers in Chinese.
If there is no more questions, here concludes today’s press conference. Few days later will be the ceremony of the founding of the Chinese Communist Party, so let us present our birthday wishes to the Party. Thank you!