(The following English text of the press conference is for reference. In case of any divergence of interpretation, the Chinese text shall prevail.)
Question: The military medical teams to Hubei have recently returned after successfully accomplishing their tasks. Could you please tell us what achievements the military has made in supporting the fight against COVID-19? And what’s your comment?
Answer: With the approval of President Xi Jinping, also Chairman of the Central Military Commission (CMC), the military medical teams to Hubei have successively returned after accomplishing their tasks. Since the COVID-19 outbreak, the whole military has resolutely implemented the decisions and orders of the CPC Central Committee, CMC, and President Xi Jinping, and lived up to its duties and missions regardless of daunting difficulties, making a great contribution to winning the people's war against the virus. The military medical teams came to Hubei on January 24 and withdrew on April 16 from the three designated hospitals under their charge. Thanks to their arduous efforts for more than 80 days, great results have been achieved while not a single team member was infected.
First, the task of curing COVID-19 patients was successfully accomplished. Wuhan-based Huoshenshan Hospital, Wuhan Taikang Tongji Hospital, and Guanggu Branch of Hubei Maternal and Child Health Hospital provided 2,856 sickbeds, received 7,198 confirmed COVID-19 patients in total, and cured 346 patients aged over 80, the oldest being 100 years old. The Huoshenshan Hospital created a record of receiving 421 patients in a single day.
Second, important progress was made in scientific research. Scientists at the PLA Academy of Military Sciences worked against time on scientific research breakthroughs and the recombinant COVID-19 vaccine they developed has passed registration and review for clinical research and entered the second phase of clinical trials, playing a critical role in winning the battle against the virus.
Third, rich experience in epidemic prevention and control was garnered. While scientifically treating the patients, the military also makes a point of gathering experience in medical treatment, nursing, prevention and control, and logistic support, so as to lay a solid foundation for next-step virus containment and international cooperation in this field.
We strongly believe that under the firm leadership of the CPC Central Committee, CMC, and President Xi, the Chinese military and people will certainly defeat the virus and achieve the final victory in this grave war through concerted efforts and unity.
Question: As COVID-19 is still spreading across the world, many countries have asked China for help. Please brief us on the foreign assistance provided by the Chinese military.
Answer: China highly appreciates the help and assistance that many foreign defense authorities and militaries have provided to us since the outbreak of the epidemic. "You give me a peach, and I will return you a white jade for friendship." It is China's traditional virtue to repay goodwill with greater kindness. Upholding the concept of a community with a shared future for mankind advocated by President Xi Jinping, the Chinese side has provide the international community with assistance as its capacity permits while continuing to promote domestic epidemic prevention and control.
As of April 30, the Chinese military has provided material aid or sent medical experts to a number of foreign militaries, namely Iran, Pakistan, Myanmar, Laos, Cambodia, Vietnam, and Lebanon. Medical experts of the Chinese military have also held video conferences with their counterparts in Pakistan, Singapore and Russia to share experience on pandemic control.
The virus knows no borders. All countries in the world live in a community with a shared future and face a common enemy of the pandemic. Only through unity can the world defeat the enemy. The Chinese military will continue to strengthen disease control and prevention cooperation with the defense authorities and militaries of other countries, and stand with them to overcome the difficulties, so that we can drive away the pandemic through cooperation and protect our common homeland through concerted efforts.
Question: China and Pakistan, as well as their militaries, have had frequent interactions since the COVID-19 outbreak to give each other strong support. Could you please brief us on that and make a comment?
Answer: China and Pakistan are good friends, neighbors, partners, and brothers. Mutual help is a tradition between the two countries and the two militaries. As "iron brothers", we can achieve great things with the same mind.
We will not forget that when China was at the most difficult time of fighting the disease, Pakistan's state and military leaders wrote us letters of sympathy at the first opportunity and Pakistani President Arif Alvi paid a special visit to China. The Pakistani government and society did their very best to help us.
Likewise, the Chinese people are concerned about the pandemic in Pakistan now. The Chinese government and military have provided batches of medical supplies to Pakistan and sent experts to help contain the spread of the virus. Medical experts in the two militaries also held video conferences to share experience in COVID-19 prevention and control.
Only the toughest grass can stand strong winds. People of worth show their morality during hardships. China and Pakistan have an all-weather strategic partnership of cooperation, which means they will always stand by each other.
We firmly believe that bilateral and mil-to-mil relations between the two countries will embrace new and greater developments through the joint battle against COVID-19.
Question: Since the COVID-19 outbreak, the US defense and military leaders have repeatedly accused China of withholding information, claiming that the information from the Chinese Communist Party has misled the public. What is your comment on that?
Answer: Since the COVID-19 broke out, some politicians in the US, including US defense leaders, have been continuously attacking China in an attempt to stigmatize it. China is firmly opposed to that.
China has maintained an open, transparent, and responsible attitude in the fight against the COVID-19. We notified the WHO of the pandemic, shared the genome sequencing of the virus, and carried out international cooperation in pandemic containment, all at the earliest time possible. What China has done is widely appreciated by the international community.
Some American politicians' eager attempt to shift the blame is completely out of political and personal purposes, which is extremely selfish and irresponsible. China's position on this has always been clear and consistent - we will not take the blame for the US.
You mentioned the Community Party of China in your question. I must emphasize that the CPC has served as the mainstay during the fight against the COVID-19. The CPC Central Committee has exercised firm leadership. President Xi Jinping, the core of the CPC Central Committee, commander-in-chief of the military and leader of the people, has personally directed and deployed the national response. CPC branches at all levels have acted proactively with a strong sense of responsibility, and CPC members have been working on the front line. Almost all of the PLA supporting team members are CPC members. If you know something about Chinese history, you will understand that the CPC comes from the people, takes roots among the people, and serves the people. CPC and Chinese people are of one mind and share a common destiny. Any attempt to disrupt or sever the ties between the Party and the people are doomed to failure.
The pandemic is a touchstone and a magic mirror that reveals the true and the false, the right and the wrong, the kind and the vicious. Only through unity and cooperation can we defeat the pandemic. China stands ready to join hands with all the peoples in the world, including the American people, who love peace, pursue justice, and aspire for a beautiful life to win this global war against the virus.
Question: According to Japanese media, Japan's Minister of Defense Taro Kono mentioned the task force of Chinese aircraft carrier Liaoning passing through the Miyako Strait in his recent speech, saying that in past few years, the Chinese military has been increasingly active and as a result, the responding frequency of Japanese Self-Defense Force's scrambling fighter jets has been rising since 2019. He also commented that China’s operations are extremely disgraceful in the context of the international cooperation against the COVID-19. What is your comment?
Answer: The Chinese military conducted training exercises in accordance with the annual training plan, which is in full compliance with international laws and practice. The accusations from the Japanese side are totally unjustified and highly inappropriate. The Chinese military will continue to organize training exercises in relevant air and sea areas in accordance with the law.
Question: Recently, we noticed the news that the military medical teams to Hubei quietly withdrew. There were neither police cars escorting them, nor people lining the road to see them off. Some netizens said they "rushed to help in winter snow and left quietly in the spring breeze." Some netizens also noticed on social media the clean and spotless hospitals, the orderly-positioned medical equipment, and the neatly arranged personal bedding they left behind. There were comments saying it reflected the return of the fine tradition of the Red Army in a new era. Do you have any comment on this?
Answer: With the joint efforts of the whole nation, there have been positive results in disease prevention and control and the most difficult time has passed. We owe this achievement to the strong leadership of the CPC Central Committee with Comrade Xi Jinping at its core, to the great strength of the socialist system with Chinese characteristics, to the growing overall national strength since reform and opening up, and to the unity of the people and the military.
With regard to the quiet withdrawal you mentioned, I would like to underline that the PLA is a people's military under the absolute leadership of the CPC. Serving the people wholeheartedly is the purpose of our military and a glorious tradition passed down from generation to generation. In the face of the people’s interests, the military will always follow the Party's command, be able to fight and win battles, and stick to a good style of conduct. Quiet withdrawal is a true portrayal of the close relationship between the people and the army.
Question: Many touching stories of the PLA medics are circulating online during the pandemic. Their strong will, bravery, and dedication moved many people and also inspired many to join the military and serve the country. Could you please introduce the overall conscription arrangement of this year?
Answer: Based on the overall plan of national disease prevention and control and with the approval of the State Council and the CMC, conscription in the first half of this year has been postponed to the second half, with the recruitment task merged to be completed in the second half. At present, the conscription registration for the second half-year has started. People of draft age can visit the official website designated by the Conscription Office of the MND, National Conscription Website (http://www.gfbzb.gov.cn), to register. The online registration for females will start at the end of June. Those who have registered in the first half-year and eligible for recruitment will automatically be registered for the second half. The deadline for registration is August 15. Male college graduates can register any time before the deadline and visit local conscription stations for medical examination.
We welcome more aspiring young people to join the big family of the armed forces, and make their efforts to create a better future for the motherland, contribute to the military and be the most-admired people in the new era.
Question: The US State Department issued an arms control report claiming that China may have conducted a secret underground nuclear test recently. Could you please confirm that and what’s your comment?
Answer: The US report is not true and is full of fabricated facts. On international arms control, unlike the US, China has always been faithful to its commitments and true to its words.
Question: It is reported that the Chinese military sent military aircraft to transport medical supplies to Pakistan. The mission was conducted by China’s indigenous Y-20 large military transport aircraft, nicknamed "Chubby Girl" by fellow netizens. Comment has it that it was Y-20's first overseas mission. Please confirm it.
Answer: Thanks for your interest. It is true that Y-20 large military transport aircraft were deployed to transport medical supplies and Chinese expert teams to Pakistan. It marked the first overseas mission of Y-20. The official name of the "Chubby Girl" as you mentioned is "Kunpeng". Like Kunpeng, a mythical bird that can fly for thousands of miles, I firmly believe Y-20 will play a greater role in the military.
Question: It was reported that the US military recently conducted frequent military operations in the sea and air areas surrounding China. US warships and aircraft conducted training for several consecutive days in the South China Sea and had military drills with the Australian Navy. What's your comment on this?
Answer: We pay close attention to and stay highly vigilant about the movements of the US and Australian forces. For some time, some countries outside the region such as the US and Australia have frequently carried out military activities in the South China Sea to strengthen their military presence in the region. This approach is not conducive to the security and stability in the South China Sea and we are firmly opposed to this. Facts have repeatedly proved that the US is the biggest promoter of militarization in the South China Sea and a troublemaker for regional peace and stability. The PLA has always maintained a high degree of vigilance and will resolutely defend national sovereignty, security and development interests, and resolutely safeguard regional peace, stability, and prosperity.
Question: The US Naval Institute (USNI) Journal recently published an article saying that the US should issue letters of marque to the privateers, which allows the privateers to capture the Chinese merchant ships and goods when bilateral conflicts occur between China and the US. What is your comment?
Answer：The so-called "letters of marquee" is actually an act of piracy and a criminal activity forbidden in international laws. The activity is opposed and by the international community. In today’s society, it is appalling that someone encourage piracy activities and there was a journal publish these ideas. The international community should stay vigilant to the power politics and the Law of the Jungle mindsets behind such words and deeds.
Question: As a result of the COVID-19, the national college entrance examination in 2020 will be postponed. Many senior high school students preparing for the exam are concerned whether there will be corresponding adjustments to the 2020 military college enrollment policies and plans? Please brief us on it.
Answer: The national college entrance examination for 2020 will be postponed for one month. The enrollment of military colleges will follow the overall requirements of national disease prevention and control. The political assessment, physical examination, interviews, admission and other arrangements will follow the territorial principle, and be jointly determined by the enrollment offices of provincial military command and provincial authorities under the guidance of local party committees and government.
In 2020, the enrollment of all military colleges will further promote the "sunshine initiative" in college entrance exams, and strictly implementing the seven transparent requirements concerning policy and regulation, admission plan, qualification, exam result, admission information, complaint channels and violation handling. During the pandemic, we will unify competitive resources and take advantage of the "Sunshine Initiative" website of the Ministry of Education, PLA Daily, WeChat official account and other multimedia platforms to promote enrollment publicity on the Internet. Enrollment information will be published and interpreted through out the process to ensure openness and fairness.
Question: Will there be any corresponding adjustment to the entrance examination of military academies designated for enlisted personnel in 2020?
Answer: This year's academic examination for the admission of enlisted personnel to military schools is scheduled to be held from July 7 to 8 and the examinations on common military subjects, in principle, will be held no earlier than June 1. The arrangement has been made to keep in alignment with the requirements of national disease prevention and control, and to ensure orderly and smooth admission. The examinations on common military subjects will be organized by the theater commands, services, Academy of Military Sciences, National Defense Universities, National University of Defense Technology and the People's Armed Police Force separately. They will take place in units of or above division/brigade level at their convenience or in the forms of examination tour.
Question: Taiwan media reported that Taiwan "defense officials" recently claimed that the PLA has threatened the island by offensive words and show of force. They said that Taiwan is well prepared for any potential war between the two sides across the Strait. What is your comment?
Answer: Taiwan is an integral part of China. The PLA organized related military operations to safeguard national sovereignty and territorial integrity and protect the well-being of compatriots in Taiwan from "Taiwan independence" attempts. They are not targeted at the compatriots in Taiwan, but at a small number of "Taiwan independence" separatists and their activities. I should emphasize that any attempt to resist reunification with force is doomed to failure and will damage the interests of the Chinese nation.
Question: At present, China's disease prevention and control situation is gradually improving. However, the task of maintaining the momentum and preventing a rebound is still heavy. What prevention and control tasks are being undertaken by the military and what will be the focus of the military in the future?
Answer: At present, COVID-19 is basically contained in China. In accordance with the decision of the CPC Central Committee and the CMC, the Chinese military has been following the development of the pandemic and implementing regular control and prevention measures. We will continue to play an active role in the fight against COVID-19.
First, we will strengthen the pandemic prevention and control of overseas military personnel, establish and improve the response mechanism, strictly strengthen personnel management and control, and do a good job in material collection and medical treatment. Second, we will make efforts to strengthen disease prevention and control at border areas, and increase medical preparedness. Third, we will promote international military cooperation in disease control and prevention and provide strong support for the armed forces of relevant countries by sending experts and medical supplies and hosting video conferences. Fourth, we will carry out a patriotic public health campaign within the military and launch the 32nd patriotic public health month under the theme of "promoting traditions, eradicating bad habits and fostering new habits".