Senior Colonel Wu Qian: Under the leadership of President Xi Jinping, the whole nation has been united as one to fight against the COVID-19 epidemic. To answer the concerns of the Chinese people and the international community, the Chinese government has taken a series of actions to prevent and control the epidemic in the most comprehensive, strict and thorough way. President Xi directed that, the military should bear in mind its purpose of serving the people and make active efforts to support local authorities in epidemic prevention and control. All service members follow President Xi’s order and remain true to their original aspiration of serving the people. They will perform their duties of saving people's lives with great courage and stand with the whole nation until the end of the battle against COVID-19. There will be no success without a total victory. Relevant military departments will host a special briefing on the support provided by China’s armed forces in fighting COVID-19 in the next few days.
According to the consensus between China and Cambodia, the militaries of the two countries will hold “Dragon Golden 2020”, a joint training focusing on counter-terrorism operations, in Cambodia from March 2 to April 10. The Chinese side will send 265 troops from the Southern Theater Command Army to the joint training, .
Dragon Golden is an important program in China-Cambodia military cooperation. The training this year, the fourth of its kind, is a concrete step to implement the consensus reached by the leaders of the two countries during their recent meeting in Beijing. It can help the two militaries strengthen strategic trust and cooperation in military training, and enhance their capabilities in dealing with global security threats including terrorism.
Question: The US Department of Justice (DoJ) announced this month indictment against four members of the Chinese People's Liberation Army (PLA) on allegations of hacking Equifax, a credit reporting agency in 2017. What’s your comment?
Answer: We have already stated our position on this case. I want to emphasize that the indictment is based on fabrications and lies for ulterior motives, and is an example of US judicial bullying. The Chinese military has lodged solemn representations with the US side.
China’s position on cyber security is clear and consistent. China is a staunch defender of international cyber security. The Chinese government firmly opposes and fights all kinds of cyber crimes in accordance with the law. The Chinese military has never engaged or participated in any form of cyber theft.
The world knows that the US side has a notorious record on cyber security issues. From WikiLeaks and Snowden revelations to the recent Crypto AG incident, the US has never been able to offer a proper explanation to the world. It has been proven time and again that the US has been conducting large-scale, organized and indiscriminate cyber theft and surveillance activities against foreign governments, businesses and individuals. It is a real “hacking empire”. The world should stay vigilant against its bad behaviors. We urge the US side to correct its mistake and withdraw the indictment so as not to do further damage to the relations between the two countries and the two militaries.
Question: Recently, the US Secretary of Defense Mark Esper said that China is America’s main adversary at the Munich Security Conference. He claimed that China has made more aggressive military posture by seizing and militarizing islands in the South China Sea, weaponized the space domain through the development of directed-energy weapons and killer satellites, and challenged and undermined the rules-based international order. He said China is heading even faster and further toward the wrong direction. What’s your comment?
Answer: These remarks made by the US side on China do not make sense. In this speech, the US side spared no effort in smearing and slandering China’s defense and military development, exaggerated the so-called “China military threat”, interfered in China’s internal affairs and undermined the basic norms governing international relations. The Chinese side is strongly dissatisfied and firmly opposed to these words.
On the South China Sea, the overall situation is improving towards greater stability thanks to the concerted efforts made by China and other countries in the region. The US, out of self-interest, does not want a peaceful and stable South China Sea. It has sent warships and aircraft to carry out hegemonic navigation operations in the region, and held targeted military exercises and joint patrols together with countries outside the region. These fact have proven that the US is the true trouble-maker undermining regional peace and stability in the South China Sea and the black hand behind the militarization in the region.
On the space issue, the US confuses right with wrong in its accusation against China. In fact, it is the US that has been weaponizing the space. It is known to all that the US, in pursuit of space hegemony, has formed the Space Force, spent enormous amounts of money on enhancing space combat readiness and unilaterally initiated an arms race in the space. The accusation against China is just an excuse for itself to strengthen its own military power.
On the issue of safeguarding international rules, I would like to ask a question: who is the global rule-maker, the international community or the US? Can anyone put its own interests over the rules universally recognized by the international community? Can a country choose whether to follow the rules or not just based on its own interests? The fact is that the US, who is championing unilateralism, has violated or withdrawn from international conventions in order to shirk or shift its international responsibilities and obligations. In recent years, the US has exited from the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO), United Nations Human Rights Council, and a number of international treaties including the Paris Agreement, Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) on Iranian nuclear issue and Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces Treaty (INF Treaty). Its actions have made clear to the international community that the US is the disruptor of the international order, and it is in no position to point fingers at other countries.
"Verdant mountains could not stop the river from flowing into the sea." China’s development is an unstoppable trend. These false and slanderous comments from the US will only expose its prejudice and anxiety to the world. China stays committed to the path of peaceful development, upholds a defensive defense policy, and stands ready to work with countries all over the world to build a community with a shared future for mankind. We urge the US side to stop its wrong doing and not to go any further down the wrong direction.
Question: President Xi recently signed the CMC Order No.1 of the year to launch the annual military training. What measures will be taken to implement the order?
Answer: On January 2, President Xi Jinping, also General Secretary of the Communist Party of China (CPC) Central Committee and Chairman of the CMC, signed the CMC Order No.1 of 2020 to launch the annual military training.
Following this Order, the military has carried out arduous and rigorous training to further enhance real combat training.
First, the leading role of the CMC and commanding officers in training is emphasized. The CMC functional organs have organized high-tech lectures through video conferences. Commanding officers at different levels have taken the lead in organizing and participating in training, setting an example for the troops.
Second, real combat training is prioritized. Seminars and exercises of operational commanding, training of new capabilities in new fields, and basic technical and tactical training have been conducted across the military with more emphasis on emergency response. The purpose is to leave no stone unturned in the training of every individual soldier, every type of equipment, and every category of combat element, thus consolidating the capabilities of fighting and winning battles.
Third, stricter training inspection has been put in place. Considering the COVID-19 epidemic, training inspection has been organized flexibly in groups and at different levels to strengthen supervision and to guarantee a high starting point of military training in 2020.
Question: Some analysis says the outbreak of COVID-19 might influence the combat readiness of the Chinese military. What’s your comment?
Answer: Since the outbreak of COVID-19, the Chinese military has strictly implemented the orders of President Xi Jinping and the CMC, focusing on both epidemic prevention and military training. To minimize the influence of the outbreak on military training, some measures have been adopted:
First, we have adjusted annual training tasks in accordance with the requirements of disease prevention and control. Given the impact of the epidemic, we have drafted more appropriated training plans and suspended some large-scale drills and training;
Second, we have established a training order in line with the requirements of disease prevention and control. The sites, time and participants of training have been managed in a more scientific way. Meanwhile, training in headquarters, basic tactical training in troops and self-training have been organized in a more careful manner;
Third, we have differentiated training forms in different places based on specific risk levels in local areas. Large-scale training is tightly restricted in areas with severe outbreaks. Troops in areas with less affected cases can conduct basic training in their barracks or closed training camps around.
Fourth, we have explored innovative teaching and training methods such as forming training units in a more flexible manner, conducting training courses step by step and using digital and smart technologies to ensure the quality and efficiency of training.
Fifth, we have strengthened epidemic prevention measures during training. We have established an epidemic prevention mechanism and supervised the implementation of these measures throughout the training to ensure safety.
According to relevant laws, disaster relief and emergency rescue is one of the diversified missions of the PLA. It is the duty of the armed forces to fight the epidemic. Our service members will continue to battle the epidemic and strengthen combat readiness so as to fulfill the tasks entrusted by the Party and the people.
Question: Earlier this year, the MND released information that China will change military conscription and retirement from once a year to twice a year. Has the conscription work of 2020 been affected by the COVID-19 outbreak?
Answer: As approved by the State Council and the CMC, the conscription in the first half of 2020 will be postponed to the second half. This decision is in line with the national requirements of COVID-19 prevention and control. Currently, the top priority is protecting people’s safety and the conscription should come after the epidemic prevention and control. The postponement is to ensure that military units and local authorities at different levels focusing on the battle against the epidemic and achieving a final victory. The conscription tasks for the first half will also be completed in the second half, which means the numbers of new recruits for the year and for every province, autonomous region and municipality remain unchanged. The conscription has been rescheduled to start on August 1. New recruits will be transported from September 10 to 30.
Question: Following a joint air-sea combat-readiness patrol on February 9, the PLA conducted joint exercises in waters southeast of Taiwan on February 10. A person in charge of the Taiwan administrative department complained that the mainland, in time of the COVID-19 outbreak, still flew military aircraft around Taiwan, which caused concerns among Taiwan people and undermined regional peace. What’s your comment?
Answer: The Spokesperson for the PLA Eastern Theater Command has released information on this issue. I want to emphasize that the combat-readiness patrol and joint exercises conducted by the PLA are aimed at safeguarding national sovereignty and territorial integrity, maintaining peace and stability across the Taiwan Strait, and protecting the common interests of compatriots on both sides of the Strait. These operations are targeted specifically at “Taiwan independence” forces and their secessionist activities.
Taiwan is a part of China. We warn the Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) of Taiwan not to play with fire. Any attempt to secede Taiwan from China is doomed to fail.
Question: Senator Bernie Sanders, one of the US Democratic presidential candidates, said in an interview that he “will not stand by” if China decided to take military actions against Taiwan. What’s your comment?
Answer: The Taiwan question belongs to China's internal affairs, and brooks no foreign interference. Those actions fueling cross-strait hostility and confrontation will only bring disasters to the compatriots in Taiwan. Any attempt to resist reunification by force is doomed to failure. Containing China with Taiwan will not work. The PLA has the firm will, full confidence and sufficient capabilities to safeguard China’s national sovereignty and territorial integrity.
Question: According to foreign media reports on February 24, during his recent visit to India, US President Donald Trump said America should be India’s premier defense partner and India will buy $3 billion worth of military equipment from the US, including armored helicopters. The US and India will also strengthen the quadrilateral consultation among Washington, Tokyo, New Delhi and Canberra in a bid to jointly safeguard a free and open Indo-Pacific. What’s your comment?
Answer: We have noticed relevant reports. We hope military cooperation between relevant countries can be conductive to regional peace and stability rather than the opposite.
Question: According to Singaporean media, in a meeting with the Bayi Aerobatics Team of the PLA Air Force at the Changi Air Force Base, Singapore’s Minister for Defence Dr. Ng Eng Hen said that the presence of Chinese participants at the Singapore Airshow amid the coronavirus outbreak in China proves the strong relationship between Singapore and China. What’s your comment?
Answer: Based on the agreement between the two countries, the Bayi Aerobatics Team of PLAAF was invited to participate in the Singapore Airshow from February 5 to 18 and to put on flight performances. This is an important program in the celebration of the 30th anniversary of the establishment of diplomatic ties between China and Singapore, and both sides attached great importance to it. The participation of the Chinese military fully demonstrates the sound and smooth cooperation between the two militaries.
Question: It is reported that Exercise Cobra Gold 2020 commenced in Thailand recently. Please brief us on the performance of the PLA in the exercise.
Answer: Exercise Cobra Gold 2020 is being held in Thailand from February 25 to March 6. China has sent ground force troops from the PLA Southern Theater Command Army to participate in HADR subjects.