By Senior Colonel Wu Qian, Director General of the Information Office of the 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.)
I have two pieces of news at the top.
The first one.
In order to implement the Global Security Initiative and the vision of a maritime community with a shared future proposed by Chinese President Xi Jinping, build a closer China-Africa community with a shared future and strengthen maritime security and cooperation with the armed forces of Gulf of Guinea countries, the Chinese military held the Webinar on Security Situation in the Gulf of Guinea on May 24.
The theme of the webinar was "GoG Maritime Security from the Perspective of Maritime Community with a Shared Future". Admiral Dong Jun, commander of the Chinese People's Liberation Army Navy (PLAN), attended the event and delivered a keynote speech. Leaders of the navies and coast guards of Gulf of Guinea countries and relevant regional organizations also attended the event. The participants had in-depth discussions and exchanges on such topics as "GoG Maritime Security and Sustainable Economic Development", "Maintaining GoG Security and Development: Roles and Actions of Maritime Forces" and "A New Vision for China-Africa Maritime Security Cooperation."
The second one.
On May 24, the Chinese and French militaries held a video conference on health service exchanges. About 20 personnel from the two parties, including leaders of the health departments and experts on COVID-19 prevention and control, attended the event. The conference was themed on the main practices and experience of the armed forces in fighting against the COVID-19. The two parties respectively introduced the overall situation, experience and practices of their participation in national pandemic prevention and control. They mainly discussed and exchanged views on topics such as the military support for local anti-pandemic operations, pandemic prevention and control in overseas military operations, and technological progress in pandemic prevention and treatment. Besides, the two parties agreed to hold a second video conference on health service.
The Chinese military is willing to work with its French counterpart to constantly deepen strategic mutual trust, strengthen pragmatic cooperation in various fields and push the relations between the two militaries to a new level , in an effort to jointly contribute to the building of a community with a shared future for mankind.
Question: On May 10, Chinese President Xi Jinping delivered an important speech at the celebration marking the 100th anniversary of the founding of the Communist Youth League of China (CYLC) . Would you please brief us on what plans and actions the Chinese military has made in studying and implementing the spirit of President Xi's important speech?
Answer: In his important speech at the celebration marking the 100th anniversary of the CYLC, President Xi comprehensively reviewed the CYLC's 100-year history of unswervingly following the instructions and guidance of the Communist Party of China (CPC), elucidated the historical experience of the CYLC and youth work, while placing great expectations on contemporary youth and setting clear requirements for the CYLC's work in the new era. The speech is a guiding document for the Party's youth work in the new era.
The Chinese People's Liberation Army (PLA) is the people's military under the absolute leadership of the Party, and young officers and soldiers constitute the main body of the PLA and a fresh driving force to realize the Chinese Dream and the dream of building a strong military. Recently, a symposium on youth work of the Chinese military was held in Beijing with the theme of thoroughly studying and implementing the spirit of President Xi's important speech, and promoting innovative development of youth work of the military in the new era. According to the requirements of the meeting, military units at all levels should take the study and implementation of the spirit of President Xi's important speech as an important political task, and constantly break new ground in the youth work of the military in the new era.
First, strengthening political guidance to lay a solid theoretical and political foundation for young officers and soldiers. League organizations at all levels should play a good role as "political schools" that nourish youth for the Party, highlight "ways of thinking" in expounding the Party’s innovative theories, lay emphasis on pinpointing and solving doubts and confusion of young service members, start from the new recruits in fostering revolutionary traditions, and constantly strengthen political training of young officers and soldiers, so as to cultivate them into determined, faithful and qualified successors of the socialist cause.
Second, focusing on combat preparedness and increasing the contribution of youth work to combat effectiveness. League organizations at all levels should take combat preparedness as their objective, strictly take combat effectiveness as the criterion, encourage young officers and soldiers to enhance their military skills, cultivate brave and capable role models among the youth, and, inspire young officers and soldiers to hone skills and make contributions in the main areas of military preparedness, on the front line of major tasks and scientific research and in the melting pot of grassroots units.
Third, enhancing the League's attractiveness and cohesion by innovation while preserving its fine traditions. Adapting to the new expansion of missions and tasks, new changes in the military reform, new requirements set by the Internet age, and new characteristics of young officers and soldiers in the new era, the youth work in the military should attach importance to promoting the joint development and innovation of "three major organizations" including grass-roots Party branches, League branches, and service-member committees, strengthening the building of online CYLC, promoting the activity of becoming talents through reading, and establishing a mechanism to have regular contact with and provide service for the youth, so as to make sure the League's work is up-to-date and effective.
Fourth, exercising rigorous self-governance to improve scientific and standardized management of the League's work. In line with the Party’s experience and practices in strict Party self-governance League organizations in the military should exercise comprehensive, high-standard and strict management and governance, standardize organizations, strictly regulate their operation, build a strong team of League staff and members, and realize regulated, orderly and new development of the League.
The youth are the striving. Youth shines the brightest when dedicated to the motherland and resonating with the times. Officers and soldiers of the PLA will thoroughly study and implement Xi Jinping Thought on Socialism with Chinese Characteristics for a New Era , forge ahead with determination and courage to achieve the best scores on the youth track, strive to build a strong military, and embrace the 20th National Congress of the Communist Party of China with concrete actions!
Question: According to reports, US Secretary of Defense Austin said in a recent Senate hearing that the focus of US military deployment is countering "aggression and bullying" from China. According to General Mark A. Milley, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff , the US is facing two global powers, China and Russia, each with significant military capabilities, and both intend to fundamentally undermine the current rules-based order. What's the comment from the Chinese side on this?
Answer: Those remarks of the US side, as always, reflect its strong Cold War mentality, hegemonic thoughts and anxieties over China's peaceful rise. The words chosen by the US side, be them "bullying" or "undermining international rules and order", in my opinion, are exactly the words describing itself.
When it comes to "bullying" in international relations, no country has a better claim than the US to be the instigator and master of this. Based on a vial of unstated white powder, the US blatantly invaded Iraq, a sovereign state, causing a large number of civilian casualties and homeless families. Citing a fake video by the White Helmets, the US took armed intervention in Syria's internal affairs, causing tragic humanitarian disasters. The Chinese people will never forget that 23 years ago in May, the US-led NATO bombed the Chinese embassy in the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia , owing another debt of blood to the Chinese people. These are not just bullying but also crimes.
Talking about a rules-based international order, the US is a globally recognized breaker of rules. As we all know, the US likes to talk about "rules" the most, but it is also the US that takes the rules the least seriously. The US always selectively exploits or rejects international law and rules at its own will. In recent years, the US has successively withdrawn from the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA ), the Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces (INF) Treaty, and the Treaty on Open Skies, etc., which fully demonstrates its selfishness and hypocrisy. In terms of international law and rules, the US is the least qualified to blame other countries.
We urge the US to stop the wrong practices of packaging its unilaterally-defined rules as international rules to promote the US-style hegemonic order, and accept China's peaceful development in an objective and rational mood. This would be beneficial to China-US relations and world peace and stability.
Question: According to reports, Japanese Defense Minister Nobuo Kishi said that the PLANS Liaoning Carrier Task Group had recently been operating near the southwestern islands of Japan and the areas around Taiwan. The carrier-based aircraft had taken off and landed for more than 100 sorties, and the Japanese side had been keeping close attention to this. Japan's defense ministry said that Japan had sent its Izumo-class helicopter carrier to track and monitor, and Japan's fighter jets had scrambled to respond to the activities of China's carrier-based aircraft. What's your comment?
Answer: We have noticed the Japanese side's hype. Many Chinese netizens refer to the Japanese vessels and aircraft as the "chief photographer" of China's aircraft carrier Liaoning. We don't need such a photographer. The training activities of the carrier Liaoning are completely reasonable, lawful and beyond reproach. The charade of the Japanese side in paying close attention to this, I am afraid, is but trying to hype up the activities of the Chinese military so as to craft a publicity stunt and create an excuse for its own military expansion. We are firmly opposed to this.
I'd like to point out that Japan's close-range tracking and interference activities are very dangerous, which can easily lead to misunderstanding and misjudgment, as well as accident s in the air and sea. What Japan has done is not conducive to mutual trust between the two sides, and meanwhile has posed a serious threat to the safety of vessels, aircraft and personnel of both sides. China urges the Japanese side to stop all meaningless interference activities and take concrete actions to maintain bilateral relations and regional peace and stability.
Question: May 29 will mark the 20th International Day of UN Peacekeepers. Could you give us more information about the Chinese armed forces' participation in UN peacekeeping operations in recent years?
Answer: In April 1990, the Chinese armed forces dispatched five military observers to the United Nations Truce Supervision Organization (UNTSO), embarking on a new voyage as a participant in the United Nations Peacekeeping Operations (UNPKOs). Over the past 30 odd years, China's armed forces have contributed a growing number of peacekeepers across an expanding range of deployments. From a few military observers at the outset of its involvement, China’s armed forces are now sending both formed units and military professionals. Chinese military peacekeepers serve on the UN missions in engineering, medical, transport, helicopter, force protection and infantry units, and as staff officers, military observers, and seconded officers. Chinese military peacekeepers have left their footprints in over 20 countries and regions including Cambodia, the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC), Liberia, Sudan, Lebanon, Cyprus, South Sudan, Mali and the Central African Republic. They have made important contributions to facilitating the peaceful settlement of disputes, safeguarding regional security and stability, and promoting economic and social development of host nations.
China's armed forces participate in the UNPKOs because the pursuit of peace is in the genes of the Chinese nation, because Chinese people care about the wellbeing of humanity, because serving the people is the fundamental purpose of the people's armed forces, and because China honors its responsibility as a major country. Over the past 30 odd years, China's armed forces have contributed nearly 50,000 service members to 25 UN peacekeeping missions. Sixteen Chinese military peacekeepers have sacrificed their lives for the noble cause of peace. At the moment, a total of 2,240 Chinese military peacekeepers are serving on seven UN peacekeeping missions and at UNHQ. In the UNPKOs, China's armed forces have engaged in the UNPKOs with courage and determination, always aspiring to fulfill their missions of meeting the responsibilities of a major country, safeguarding world peace, and contributing to the building of a community with a shared future for mankind, going on gallantly the expedition of safeguarding world peace. China's Blue Helmets have become a key element in UNPKOs.
China takes concrete actions to safeguard world peace and has become the largest troop-contributing country (TCC) among the permanent members of the UN Security Council. In the second half of this year, the Chinese military plans to host the "Shared Vision" international peacekeeping forum, where representatives, peacekeeping experts and scholars from the UN and relevant countries will be invited to offer advice and suggestions, share their experience and practices, contributing their wisdom to UNPKOs. The "Shared Vision" international peacekeeping forum, along with the "Shared Destiny " UN peacekeeping field training exercise and the "Shared Mission " Command Post Exercise for UN Peacekeeping Operations, constitute the "Shared" series - an international brand of peacekeeping operations regularly held by the Chinese military. All countries are welcome to participate.
The International Day of United Nations Peacekeepers is just three days away. The United Nations General Assembly in December 2002 passed a resolution to designate May 29 as the International Day of United Nations Peacekeepers in memory of the peacekeepers who had devoted their lives to the UN cause of peace and in praise of the contributions made by peacekeepers from different countries. This year, we will celebrate the 20th International Day of United Nations Peacekeepers. I would like to pay high tribute to all personnel who have participated in UN peacekeeping operations, both Chinese peacekeepers and their foreign counterparts. Please stay safe when you carry out the missions. Your motherland and families are waiting for your return!
Question: It is reported that Charles Richard, commander of the US Strategic Command, said in a recent Senate hearing that Washington faces a heightened nuclear deterrence risk when it comes to Russia and China, and that China will likely use nuclear coercion to its advantage in the future considering its quick expansion of nuclear arsenal in recent years, with considerable growth in its land, sea and air-based nuclear forces. What's your comment, please?
Answer: The US officer is just exaggerating the so-called nuclear threats from China in total disregard of the facts. His purpose is no other than finding an excuse for Washington’s own nuclear weapon development and maintaining and cementing its global domination.
It is known to all that the US has the largest nuclear arsenal in the world. In recent years, to ensure its absolute security and military superiority, it has pulled itself out of several international treaties on arms control and non-proliferation, including the Treaty on the Limitation of Anti-Ballistic Missile Systems (ABM Treaty) and the Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces (INF) Treaty. Moreover, the US has consistently pushed the deployment of anti-missile systems worldwide, sought to deploy land-based intermediate-range missiles in Europe and Asia-Pacific, and formed the Cold War-like "cliques" through multiple ways such as the nuclear submarine cooperation with Australia. Its actions have exerted extremely adverse effects on the international arms control system. While sitting on the world's most massive nuclear arsenal, Washington is still spending a staggering amount of money modernizing its nuclear weapons, upgrading them and their carriers, and making them smaller for tactical use, which would lower the threshold for using nuclear weapons. In the Nuclear Posture Review (NPR) not long ago, the US sent a negative signal by refusing to adopt a "no first use" policy. What the US said and did have increased the risk of nuclear confrontation or even an outbreak of a nuclear war, posing grave danger to international security. It must be pointed out that any attempt to pursue for one’s own security at the cost of others' security is unfair and unsustainable. Facts have proven that the US is the greatest nuclear threat to the international community.
China pursues a nuclear strategy of self-defense, commits itself to a nuclear policy of no first use of nuclear weapons at any time and under any circumstances. It has pledged unequivocally and unconditionally not to use or threaten to use nuclear weapons against non-nuclear-weapon states or nuclear-weapon-free zones and always keeps its nuclear capabilities at the minimum level required for national security. This policy remains clear and consistent.
At the beginning of this year, leaders of the five Nuclear-Weapon States issued a joint statement on preventing nuclear war and avoiding arms races. In the statement, they affirmed that a nuclear war cannot be won and must never be fought, reaffirmed that none of their nuclear weapons are targeted at each other or at any other State, pledged to preserve and comply with bilateral and multilateral arms control agreements, and emphasized that the five countries should avoid military confrontations and prevent arms races. We hope the US side will abandon the outdated Cold War and zero-sum mentality and the narrow geopolitical concept, actively fulfill its international obligations of nuclear non-proliferation, and meet China halfway to jointly preserve regional and global peace, stability, and prosperity.
Question: Japanese media reported that a draft of Japan's 2022 defense white paper has recently been revealed. The draft said that a stable Taiwan Strait is of great importance to Japan's security and Japan will keep a close eye on the situation in the Taiwan Strait. In another related development, a delegation of Liberal Democratic Party (LDP) Youth Division from Japan recently visited Taiwan. Some Japanese Diet members said that the scale of China's recent military sorties into Taiwan's Air Defense Identification Zone (ADIZ) was "unprecedented", and Japan was treating this matter as its own because Taiwan is Japan's important friend. Could you please comment on that?
Answer: The Taiwan question is purely China's internal affair that brooks no interference from Japan. Everybody knows that Japan once occupied Taiwan through invasion and militarist expansion, and exercised colonial rule over Taiwan for 50 years, committing countless crimes. Japan has no right to spout off on the Taiwan question.
For historical and realistic reasons, Japan's military and security movements have always drawn close attention of the international community. We urge the Japanese side to take lessons from history, truly reflect on its crimes, and take concrete actions to gain trust of its Asian neighbors.
Question: It is reported that the US State Department has recently updated its page on US-Taiwan relations, removing expressions such as "Taiwan is part of China" and "the United States does not support Taiwan independence". The State Department spokesperson later explained that “there has been no change in the US policy towards Taiwan", and Washington still follows the "one-China" policy and does not support Taiwan independence. What's your comment on that?
Answer: The US State Department's self-contradictory statements on its Taiwan policy exposed its ill intentions to all. For some time, the US has been obscuring and hollowing out the one-China principle and attempting to use the "salami tactics" and contain China with Taiwan. That's just wishful thinking. Our stern message to some people on the US side: Slicing salami on the Taiwan question will end up cutting the hand of the US. The PLA will stay ready to take all necessary measures to smash separatist attempts for "Taiwan independence" in any form and resolutely safeguard China's national sovereignty and territorial integrity.
Question: Taiwan media reported that a PLA WZ-10 attack helicopter had recently entered the so-called Taiwan's "southwestern air defense identification zone", not only crossing the "median line of the Taiwan Strait", but even flying in for 900 meters, drawing close attention from media on the island. Please comment on that.
Answer: Taiwan is a part of China. Where does such a "median line of the Taiwan Strait" come from? The PLA undertakes the sacred mission of safeguarding national sovereignty and territorial integrity. Its relevant combat training activities are entirely necessary actions in response to the "Taiwan independence" separatist activities and interference by external forces.
Question: Several US senators have visited Taiwan this year. US Senator Lindsey Graham said in his meeting with Tsai Ing-wen that the US would "make the Chinese mainland pay a price". Taiwan media also reported that several members of the US House of Representatives wrote a joint letter petitioning Biden to visit Taiwan. Please comment on that.
Answer: There is but one China in the world. Taiwan is an inalienable part of Chinese territory, and the government of the People's Republic of China is the only legitimate government representing the whole China. These are commonly acknowledged by the international community as accepted norms governing international relations. US senators' visit to Taiwan and their provocative remarks are just political shows to catch public eyeballs, which China firmly opposes. Those who clamor for making the Chinese mainland pay a price should get ready for paying the price themselves. On safeguarding national sovereignty and territorial integrity, the Chinese PLA is always ready to fight and win.