By Senior Colonel Ren Guoqiang, Deputy 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.)
Ren Guoqiang: With the approval of the Central Military Commission (CMC), the PLA Army and Air Force will send service members to Russia to participate in the International Army Games (IAG) 2020, which will be held from August 23 to September 5.
The army troops will participate in five contests including the “Tank Biathlon” for tank teams, “Safe Environment” for nuclear biological and chemical (NBC) reconnaissance teams, “Masters of Armored Vehicles” for armored vehicles teams, “Army Scout Masters” for army reconnaissance units, and “Open Water” for pontoon bridge units.
The air force troops will get engaged in the “Airborne Platoon” for airborne unit competition.
At the critical moment of the global fight against COVID-19, China dispatches troops to the IAG to further strengthen strategic coordination between the Chinese and Russian militaries, deepen practical cooperation in the field of military training, carry out friendly exchanges and promote mutual learning with participating teams from the rest of the world. This is also a way to improve training and combat readiness of our troops.
Ren Guoqiang: Recently, the Naval Aviation of the Southern Theater Command deployed new-type aircraft including H-6G and H-6J bombers to conduct high-intensity training during day and night time in the relevant waters of the South China Sea. The troops completed training subjects such as take-offs and landings during the day and at night, long-range raids and strikes against maritime targets, and achieved expected effect. This training is a routine arrangement within the annual plan. It can help hone skills of the pilots and improve all-weather combat capability of the troops.
Question: We have noticed that this year's flood control situation is very serious in China. Many troops are still fighting on the front line in hard-hit provinces such as Fujian, Jiangxi, Jiangsu and Anhui, racing against time to save the lives of the people and their property. Could you brief us on the military’s participation in flood control and disaster relief?
Answer: Since the start of this year's flood season, there have been floods and geological disasters in many provinces in China. President Xi Jinping attaches great importance to disaster control and relief and has made important instructions, directing the PLA and the People's Armed Police Force (PAP) to actively participate in rescue and disaster relief.
The people’s military always follows the Party’s command. Soon after the fight against the COVID-19 pandemic, it quickly transferred to the battleground against the floods. Following President Xi’s instructions, the military took saving people’s lives and property as its priority and made quick efforts to respond to the floods. They went all out to carry out rescue and disaster relief work, and have achieved remarkable results.
As of July 28, the Chinese military has deployed 725,000 soldiers, 228,500 militia, 7,749 boats, and 54,116 construction machinery and vehicles in total to participate in 3,749 rescue operations. The military has assisted in the transfer of 137,000 people and over 4,560 tons of materials from the disaster-stricken areas. There are over 11.8 million sandbags filled, 3,800 piping leaks blocked, 900 kilometers of embankments reinforced, and 224 kilometers of roads restored.
The military always follows the instructions of the Party. It is the unchanging soul and purpose of the people’s military to obey the Party's command and serve the people. Since the beginning of this year, under the strong leadership of the CPC Central Committee, the CMC, and President Xi, the military has been actively involved in both the fight against COVID-19 and the flood. Together with all Chinese people, we will overcome all the hardships and difficulties, fight the flood with unity and courage and strive to win the final victory in flood control and disaster relief.
Here are some photos of battling the flood.
Question: US Defense Secretary Mark Esper said in a recent speech that China is undermining international rules and taking malicious and coercive actions. He also said that China’s aggressive activities including military drills targeting the Taiwan region in the East China Sea and the South China Sea will increase the risk of miscalculation. What’s your comment?
Answer: The remarks from the US side about China are groundless and unreasonable, full of arrogance, bias, attacks and smears. We are firmly opposed to these remarks.
It is a well-known fact that the US always bends international rules as it sees fit and is aggressively pursuing "America first" and unilateral bullism. Unlike the US, who has withdrawn from many international organizations and treaties, China is taking solid actions to fulfill its international responsibilities and obligations and joined the Arms Trade Treaty (ATT) on the same day the US announced its withdrawal from the World Health Organization (WHO).
The US has held and bragged about some highly-targeted military exercises in the Indo-Pacific region, deployed game-changing weapons and equipment to the region, and even openly pursued an alliance against China.
We urge the US to stop undermining world peace and regional stability, and stop sowing discord among countries.
Recently, the US has strengthened its military contacts with the Taiwan region, promoted arms sales to Taiwan and floated possible joint military training with Taiwan. These actions have sent extremely wrong messages to the Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) authorities. These are the latest moves from the US that violate the one-China principle and the three China-US joint communiqués.
These attempts to contain China with Taiwan interfere in China's internal affairs and undermine peace and stability across the Taiwan Strait. They are completely wrong and extremely dangerous.
The US should realize that China must and will be reunified, and the great rejuvenation of the Chinese nation must and will be achieved.
We can always seek wisdom from the past to enlighten the days to come. The past has proved that both China and the US would gain from cooperation and lose from confrontation. In the future, a community with a shared future and diversity is the only prospect for human development.
We hope that the US can abandon the Cold War mindset and zero-sum concept, view China-US relationship and the military-to-military relationship in a rational way, stop the negative words and deeds, and do meaningful things to improve bilateral ties and mil-mil relationship and protect the common interests of China and the US.
Question: In July, the US Department of State issued US Position on Maritime Claims in the South China Sea, claiming that China is seeking to build a "maritime empire" in the South China Sea. It accused China of causing instability in the South China Sea by carrying out military exercises in waters off the Xisha Islands. Meanwhile, the US military has posted on multiple Twitter accounts in a high-profile manner that it has conducted dual-carrier operations in the South China Sea twice this month. It is reported that this is the first time the US military has made such an arrangement in many years, which will seriously undermine the peace and stability of the South China Sea. What’s your comment?
Answer: We are firmly opposed to the US statement. Ignoring historical and objective facts on the South China Sea issue, the US side has flagrantly violated its own commitment to not taking side on the sovereignty claims of the South China Sea, willfully and groundlessly criticized China, sowed discord among countries in the region and even conducted dual-carrier operations in the South China Sea. These have fully exposed the "hegemonic mentality” and double standards of the US. It calls itself an "arbitrator" of the South China Sea issue, but is in fact actually a disruptor of regional peace, cooperation, and international relations.
China has indisputable sovereignty over South China Sea islands and their adjacent waters, which has full historical and legal basis. At present, with the joint efforts of China and Asean countries, the situation in the South China Sea is generally stable, and positive progress has been made in relevant consultations. China urges the US to stop making false remarks, stop taking provocative military actions, and stop sowing discord among countries in the region. The attempts made by the US concerning the South China Sea can only make China more firmly defend its own sovereignty and security, and to maintain peace and stability in the South China Sea.
Question: We have noticed that the US and the Taiwan region have been continuously strengthening military exchanges recently. The US Department of State has just approved a new arms sale to Taiwan worth 620 million US dollars, which was acclaimed as a helpful move to “maintain peace and stability in the Taiwan Strait and the region” by Taiwan’s defense authorities. At the same time, a promotional video of the US Special Operations Forces showed images of “joint military training” with Taiwan. Taiwan media said it was a clear strategic message to the Chinese mainland. What’s your comment?
Answer: In regard to the US announcement of a new round of arms sales to Taiwan, China has stated its solemn position and imposed sanctions on Lockheed Martin, the main contractor of the arms sale.
The US sending military personnel to Taiwan for exercises and exchanges has seriously violated the fundamental principles of international relations and the political commitment the US has made to China. It has a severe negative impact on bilateral relations and mil-mil relationship between China and the US, and peace and stability across the Taiwan Strait. It has sent a wrong message to "Taiwan independence" separatist forces and is a deliberate provocation. The Chinese side has expressed strong dissatisfaction and firm opposition to it and has lodged solemn representations to the US side. We urge the US side to immediately correct its mistake, stop its official and military contacts of any form with Taiwan, earnestly abide by the one-China principle and the three China-US joint communiqués, and promise that no similar incident would occur again.
Taiwan is an inalienable part of China. The future of Taiwan lies in reunification and the welfare of the Taiwan compatriots lies in national rejuvenation. There is no way out for Taiwan to bank on foreign support, and it is doomed to be futile for the US to contain China with Taiwan. We have the firm will, full confidence and sufficient capability to thwart any form of external interference and separatist attempts for "Taiwan independence". And we will resolutely defend national sovereignty and territorial integrity, and safeguard peace and stability across the Taiwan Strait.
Question: China and Latin American countries are working together to cope with the COVID-19 pandemic. Please brief us on the anti-pandemic cooperation between the PLA and Latin American militaries.
Answer: Since the outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic, China has been closely following the development of the pandemic in Latin America. China and Latin America have helped each other in the fight against the pandemic and demonstrated their profound friendship with practical actions.
At the request of the militaries of Argentina, Bolivia, Cuba, Ecuador, Peru, Trinidad and Tobago, and Venezuela, China has provided them with medical supplies including protective clothing and surgical masks.
This year marks the 60th anniversary of the establishment of China-Latin America diplomatic relations. Over the past six decades, China and Latin America have been working hand in hand and become "bosom friends living thousands of miles away from each other".
Under the guidance of the leaders of China and Latin American countries, the PLA and Latin American militaries have carried out active and practical military exchanges and cooperation, and achieved fruitful results in high-level exchanges, military training, and personnel training.
Today, the relationship between the PLA and the militaries of Latin American countries has been further improved through collaboration on the COVID-19 pandemic prevention and control. China will actively deepen military relationship with Latin American countries and make positive contributions to deepening bilateral cooperation.
Question: According to reports, the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) recently held a series of video conferences on defense affairs. Could you please brief us on the participation of the Chinese military?
Answer: From July 7 to 8, representatives from the Chinese military attended video conferences of the Asean Defense Senior Officials’ Meeting Plus (ADSOM Plus) and the ASEAN Regional Forum Security Policy Conference (ASPC).
The participating parties exchanged ideas on topics including the militaries’ participation in the fight against the COVID-19 pandemic and current international and regional security, and exchanged views on strengthening the coordination between the Asean Defense Ministers’ Meeting Plus (ADMM Plus) and Asean Regional Forum (ARF).
The Chinese side introduced the Chinese military's experience in the domestic fight against COVID-19 and the international cooperation in fighting the pandemic, and proposed that all parties should strengthen capacity building in jointly coping with non-traditional security challenges. The meetings have yielded positive results in enhancing understanding and building consensus.
Since the outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic, the defense departments and militaries of China and Asean countries have maintained close communication and coordination, explored exchanges and cooperation under ling-term pandemic prevention and control and achieved positive results in providing anti-pandemic material assistance, dispatching medical expert groups, and holding video conferences in exchange of experience.
Next, the Chinese military will continue to strengthen practical cooperation with relevant parties in the fields of pandemic response, joint exercises and training and humanitarian assistance and disaster relief so as to jointly maintain regional security and stability.
Question: Recently, the Japanese government issued the Defense of Japan 2020 (Annual White Paper), claiming that China's military development lacks transparency, China has unilaterally changed the status quo in the East China Sea and the South China Sea, and China has used anti-pandemic assistance as a pretext to seek its own political interests. It also described the cross-Strait relations as “China-Taiwan” relations. What's your comment?
Answer: On July 14, the Japanese side released the Defense of Japan 2020 white paper and its contents related to China are inconsistent with facts. The white paper made irresponsible remarks on China’s national defense and military development and exaggerated the so-called military threat of China. It distorted facts and discredited China on issues such as the South China Sea, the East China Sea and China’s pandemic response, and made extremely irresponsible remarks on the Taiwan question. We are strongly dissatisfied and firmly opposed to these contents and have lodged solemn representations to the Japanese side.
At present, China-Japan relationship is in a critical period of improvement and development. We urge the Japanese side to take history as a mirror and look to the future, and stop making wrong remarks. Following the strategic consensus reached by the leaders of the two countries, the Japanese side should work with the Chinese side towards the same goal, jointly promote a constructive bilateral security relationship, and make positive efforts to enhance mutual political and security trust, safeguard regional peace and stability, and promote the continuous improvement and development of China-Japan relationship.
Question: Recently, provinces across China have released the results of College Entrance Examination (CEE) successively, and students are filling in their application forms for colleges. Would you please brief us on the progress of the admission of China’s military schools?
Answer: According to this year’s arrangement in military school admission, in order to cultivate new-type high-quality and specialized military talent and meet new requirements of the college entrance examination reform, the 27 military schools plan to admit around 13,000 high school graduates from 31 provinces with strict qualification requirements and admission standards. Currently, political reviews, physical examinations and application interviews are under way in various provinces.
Students intending to apply for military schools can pay close attention to the information released by the admission offices of respective provinces or provincial military commands to learn about admission requirements. Besides the programs for officer candidates admitted in advance by the military schools, students can also apply for programs for civilian students in the National University of Defense Technology and the three military medical universities of the PLA Army, Navy and Air Force.
What needs to be emphasized is that military school enrollment will be carried out in strict accordance with enrollment plans and procedures and there are no so-called additional or internal quotas. Students and their parents are welcome to keep watch on the enrollment to maintain the fairness and justice of military school admission.
Question: Are there any new policies for the enrollment of soldiers to military schools this year?
Answer: In order to implement the decision made by the Central Military Commission in military reform, broaden the channels for selecting officer candidates from enlisted personnel, and attract enlistees with great potential and high CEE scores, a pilot program has been set for enlistees recruited from colleges (with their college admission qualification reserved or being recruited in the military with their names still on the school roll) in the "Double First-Class" initiative (namely world-class universities and first-class disciplines). According to the pilot program, such enlistees are exempted from exams to be admitted to military schools.
However, their CEE scores should have reached the threshold for the first-tier universities in their provinces and they should have scored high in basic military skills tests, and the majors they study should be in need in the military. In addition, they still need to meet the political, physical, mental, and other requirements for military school admission.
For enlisted personnel who have participated in important operations or the fight against the COVID-19 pandemic, the military has identified how to calculate the bonus scores for them and applicable situations. Besides, the service time requirement has been relaxed for enlisted personnel who have participated in UN peacekeeping operations or overseas maritime escort missions to apply for vocational and technical education for non-commissioned officers.
Question: According to media reports, the PLA Tibet Military Command has conducted a number of military exercises at an altitude of more than 4,000 meters on the plateau area. Please brief us on it.
Answer: Recently, the PLA Tibet Military Command has organized day-and-night fire strike drills involving multiple types of artillery and artillery fire assault drills in high altitude areas, aiming to test the troops' long-range precision strikes and fire assault capabilities in plateau environment. The exercises mentioned above are within the annual training plan and are not targeted at any specific country.
Question: Since the clash between China and India in the Galwan Valley region, the border troops of the two militaries have held multiple rounds of talks. Please tell us more about the relevant situation.
Answer: China and India have conducted effective communication and coordination through both diplomatic and military channels since the clash at the Galwan Valley occurred. At present, the situation in this region has been deescalated, and the disengagement between the border troops of the two countries are gradually carried forward.
China and India are important neighbors to each other, and maintaining peace and tranquility in the border area is in the common interests of both sides. China hopes that the Indian side will work with the Chinese side toward the same goal, follow the important consensus reached by the leaders of the two countries, bear in mind the importance to protect overall China-India relationship and maintain regional peace and stability, focus on cooperation, properly address differences, and earnestly promote the relationship between the two countries and the two militaries to continuously develop along the correct direction of friendly cooperation.
The 93rd anniversary of the founding of the PLA is to come in two days. In the past 93 years, under the strong leadership of the Communist Party of China, the heroic people’s military has has fought numerous battles, overcame great hardships and difficulties, and won glorious victories one after another. It has played a great and historical role in the process that the Chinese nation stood up, became prosperous and grew strong, and made important contributions to safeguarding world peace and prosperity.
Since the beginning of 2020, under the guidance of Xi Jinping Thought on Socialism with Chinese Characteristics for a New Era, the Chinese military has thoroughly implemented President Xi Jinping thought on strengthening the military, faithfully fulfilled its missions and tasks, and comprehensively strengthened training and preparedness. In the fights for defending the motherland, pandemic prevention and control, poverty alleviation, and flood prevention and disaster relief, it has always obeyed the command of the Party and served the people, and has not been afraid of hardship and sacrifice. It has lived up to the people’s expectations through hard work. On the occasion of the “August 1st” Army Day, the People's military will report to the Party and the people with victory and dedication, while celebrating its own birthday! Here, we are willing to extend our high respect to all service members, in particular, to the border troops, and officers and soldiers fighting the COVID-19 pandemic and the flood. The whole military will continue to carry forward the fine traditions, always maintain the nature, purpose, and inherent qualities of the people's military, shoulder the historical mission of strengthening the Chinese military in the new era, and make new contributions to realizing the Chinese Dream of strengthening the military and safeguarding world peace with concrete actions.