By Senior Colonel Tan Kefei, Deputy 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.
First, the Chinese People’s Armed Police Force (PAP) will host the “Great Wall-2022” International Forum on Counter-terrorism in Beijing from August 30 to 31. The forum focuses on counter-terrorism and has two topics, namely, “International Cooperation on Counter-terrorism among World Gendarmerie or Police or Armed Forces” and “The Application of Unmanned and Smart Weaponry in Counter-terrorism Operations under Different Circumstances Such as Urban/Mountainous Regions”. The forum will be held both online and offline, with Chinese participants and foreign military attachés (or representatives of gendarmerie) in China attending the event offline, and other foreign delegates attending online. About 110 representatives from military police forces of 30 countries have been invited, including Russia, Pakistan, Brazil and Italy. Principal officials of the military police forces of Cambodia, Vietnam, Uzbekistan, and other countries will address the opening (closing) ceremony. The forum will help enhance mutual understanding and friendship between the PAP and its foreign counterparts, and deepen bilateral and multilateral cooperation on counter-terrorism.
Second, the Peacekeeping Affairs Center of the Ministry of National Defense hosted the first "Shared Vision" International Peacekeeping Forum via video link in Beijing from August 24 to 25. With the theme of "Making the Vision of Peace Come True", the forum include three seminars: "UN Peacekeeping Operations: Prospects and Challenges", "Supporting UN Peacekeeping Operations: Capacity Building and Best Practices", and "Promoting UN Peacekeeping Partnership: Global Collaboration and Cooperation". Foreign representatives include officials from major troop-contributing or fund-contributing countries such as Argentina, Bangladesh, Brazil, Chile, Ethiopia, France, Germany, India, the ROK, and Pakistan, officials from international and regional organizations such as the United Nations and the African Union, and experts and scholars from research institutions. On the Chinese side, participants are officials from central and state agencies and relevant military units, and scholars from colleges and universities.
Question: The General Office of the Central Military Commission (CMC) issued a notice recently, requiring the People’s Liberation Army and the People’s Armed Police Force to study the fourth volume of “Xi Jinping: The Governance of China”. Could you please brief us on relevant details and specific measures the military will take?
Answer: The publication of the fourth volume of “Xi Jinping: The Governance of China” is of great significance to promoting the study and implementation of Xi Jinping Thought on Socialism with Chinese Characteristics for a New Era, and leading the Party, the military and people of all ethnic groups to forge ahead and work together in the new era and on the new journey. Following the notice, the military will make continued efforts to study and implement the fourth volume, and combine the study with the first, second and third volumes, so as to gain a deeper understanding of the decisive significance of establishing Comrade Xi Jinping’s core position on the Party Central Committee and in the Party as a whole and establishing the guiding role of Xi Jinping Thought on Socialism with Chinese Characteristics for a New Era, strengthen our consciousness of the need to maintain political integrity, think in big-picture terms, follow the leadership core, and keep in alignment with the central Party leadership; stay confident in the path, theory, system, and culture of socialism with Chinese characteristics; and uphold Comrade Xi Jinping’s core position on the Party Central Committee and in the Party as a whole, and uphold the Central Committee’s authority and its centralized, unified leadership, implement the CMC Chairman responsibility system, and resolutely follow the command of the CPC Central Committee, the CMC and President Xi. The military will take the fourth volume as an important part of the theoretical study program of the party committees of military units, the rotation theoretical training of senior officials, and the political education of the troops and as teaching materials of political theories at military academies, deeply comprehend the significance, scientific system, spiritual essence and practical requirements of the latest achievements of adapting Marxism to the Chinese context and the needs of our times while adhering to and making good use of the standpoints and methods in it. On the basis of a comprehensive study campaign, we will prioritize the study of Xi Jinping Thought on Strengthening the Military, have an in-depth study of the three volumes of a compilation of President Xi Jinping’s discourses on strengthening and rejuvenating the armed forces, the “Study Outline of Xi Jinping Thought on Strengthening the Military”, and the “Q&A in Studying Xi Jinping Thought on Strengthening the Military”, with a view to firmly establishing the guiding position of Xi Jinping Thought on Strengthening the Military in defense and military development. Besides, the military will organize theoretical workers and military news media to deepen research, publicity and interpretation of the fourth volume, and give full play to the leading and exemplary role of leaders at all levels to create a strong learning atmosphere. We will follow the Marxist style of study that integrates theory with realities and make efforts to really understand and apply the theories. To achieve the military’s centenary goal, we will strengthen the armed forces in all respects and improve military training and combat readiness in an all-round way, fulfill the missions and tasks entrusted by the Party and the people, and set the stage for the 20th National Congress of the Communist Party of China with concrete actions.
Question: Recently, some officials from the US and Japan have made groundless accusations against the exercises carried out by the Chinese military near the Taiwan Island. What’s your comments on this?
Answer: The remarks made by some officials of relevant countries have distorted facts. The aim is to shift blames on China. China has made clear its firm opposition to these remarks on multiple occasions. The context, cause and course of the current tensions in the Taiwan Strait are crystal clear. The recent military exercises conducted by the PLA near China’s Taiwan Island were open, transparent, professional and appropriate. It is a warning and a response to those who provoked and stirred up troubles. It is a legitimate and justified act to resolutely defend China’s sovereignty and territorial integrity. The US, who started the crisis, should and must bear full responsibility for the current tensions. The US side should truly abide by the one-China principle and take immediate measures to correct its mistakes, instead of further escalating tensions in the Taiwan Strait.
Recently, the Japanese side has echoed the negative words and deeds of the US side regarding Taiwan and hyped up the so-called “China military threat”. It is extremely irresponsible. For some time, Japan has been increasing its defense budget and strengthening military posture. Regional countries and the international community are highly vigilant of these actions. We urge the Japanese side to honestly reflect on its history of aggression, stop spreading rumors against and smearing the Chinese side, and do more things that are conducive to enhancing mutual trust with its neighbors and maintaining regional peace and stability.
Question: It is reported that General Xu Qiliang, vice chairman of the CMC, recently met with Cambodian Deputy Prime Minister and Defense Minister General Tea Banh in Guangzhou. Please share with us more details on the meeting and comment on the current military relations between China and Cambodia.
Answer: China and Cambodia are iron friends and live in a community of shared future. The special relationship was built and nurtured by leaders of older generations. It has been growing strongly for a long time. The Chinese and Cambodian armed forces are good brothers and good friends who help each other. The two sides maintain sound exchanges and cooperation in military training, personnel training, and exchanges between services and arms.
During General Tea Banh’s visit to China, the two sides, in the spirit of mutual respect, mutual trust and equality, had in-depth exchange of views on international and regional issues and discussed practical cooperation between the two militaries. The visit will elevate the mil-to-mil relationship to a new level, continue to cement the strategically important community of shared future between the two sides, and make new contributions to international and regional peace and stability.
Question: It is reported that the Chinese military has sent troops to participate in the Vostok-2022 exercise in Russia. Can you please brief us on China's preparation and the purpose and significance of participation in this exercise?
Answer: As per the annual cooperation plan between the Chinese and Russian militaries and the consensus reached by the two sides, the PLA recently sent troops to Russia to participate in the Vostok-2022 exercise. India, Belarus, Tajikistan, Mongolia and some other countries also sent troops to the event. The Chinese land and air troops have now reached the designated areas. They have completed assembling, field camps set-up and site surveys, and started adaptive flight training. The Chinese maritime troops, after joining the Russian ships at sea, have conducted drills on communication and other subjects.
The Chinese military participates in the Vostok-2022 exercise in Russia to deepen practical and friendly cooperation with other participating militaries, enhance strategic coordination among participating parties, and strengthen the capability to jointly respond to various security threats.
Question: Recently, General Wei Fenghe, Chinese State Councilor and Defense Minister, delivered a video speech at the 10th Moscow Conference on International Security, and attended the Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO) Defense Ministers’ Meeting via video link. Please share with us further details on how the Chinese military is implementing the Global Security Initiative (GSI) and deepening multilateral security dialogues and cooperation.
Answer: The world is undergoing profound changes unseen in a century. Amid the momentous changes and the COVID-19 pandemic, the world is now in a new period of turbulence and transformation. When attending the Boao Forum for Asia (BFA) in April 2022, President Xi Jinping put forward the Global Security Initiative for the first time, advocating the concept of common, comprehensive, cooperative and sustainable security. The initiative provides a new direction for eliminating the root causes of international conflicts and realizing long-term world peace and stability. On August 16, State Councilor and Defense Minister General Wei Fenghe delivered a video speech at the 10th Moscow Conference on International Security. On August 24, the 19th SCO Defense Ministers’ Meeting was held in Tashkent, Uzbekistan. General Wei addressed the meeting via video link. During the two events, General Wei expounded on important initiatives proposed by President Xi including the GSI. He pointed out that China is willing to work with other countries to enhance the awareness that all countries live in an interconnected community of shared future, promote the GSI to take roots and bear fruits, and make the world more peaceful, secure and prosperous. China always stands on the side of peaceful dialogues fairness and justice, and will proactively explore solutions with Chinese characteristics to hotspot issues .
The Chinese military attaches great importance to multilateral security dialogues. In recent years, China has actively participated in multilateral dialogues and cooperation mechanisms such as the SCO mechanisms, the ASEAN Defense Ministers’ Meeting Plus, the ASEAN Regional Forum, the Shangri-La Dialogue, etc, and put forward constructive proposals on strengthening regional defense and security cooperation during these meetings. The Chinese military has established the Beijing Xiangshan Forum, a platform for exchanges, and invited representatives from various countries and international organizations to explore new approaches to addressing regional security threats and challenges, playing a positive role in promoting security dialogue and mutual trust and cooperation in the Asia-Pacific region. The Chinese military will continue to implement the GSI, promote innovative growth of international military cooperation, and make positive contributions to world peace and stability.
Question: It is reported that the Chinese and Thai air forces recently held a joint air force training exercise code-named “Falcon Strike-2022” in Thailand. Please share with us more details.
Answer: On the morning of August 24, the closing ceremony of the China-Thailand Falcon Strike-2022 joint air force training exercise was held at Udorn Royal Thai Air Force Base in Thailand. Members of both sides’ commanding groups, officials of the Chinese Embassy in Thailand, and representatives of the participating troops attended the event.
The joint training exercise marks the fifth of its kind between the air forces of China and Thailand. It emphasizes diverse force composition, real combat training and integrated command. The scale of the joint training exercise has been steadily growing with more realistic training subjects and greater intensity. China and Thailand sent a total of 17 aircraft of seven types including fighter jets and airborne early warning and control aircraft to the training exercise. The two sides conducted discussions and exchanges on mission planning, command coordination, tactics application and comprehensive support, and completed training on close air support, anti-ground assault, and small-and-large-scale force maneuver. The joint training exercise has deepened the practical cooperation between the two militaries and improved the capabilities of both sides. It will help both sides jointly maintain regional security and stability.
Question: Recently, China stated at the Review Conference of the Parties to the Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons (NPT) that it firmly opposed the AUKUS (a security partnership among Australia, the United Kingdom and the United States) cooperation on nuclear-powered submarines, and warned Japan and related countries not to replicate “nuclear sharing” in the Asia-Pacific region. Could you please further explain China's position on relevant issues?
Answer: The Chinese side has emphasized many times that the AUKUS nuclear submarine cooperation poses a serious risk of nuclear proliferation, impacts the international nuclear non-proliferation regime, intensifies arms races, and undermines regional peace and stability. The US and the UK, as depositors of the NPT and nuclear-weapon states, decided to transfer nuclear submarine power reactors and weapons-grade highly enriched uranium to a non-nuclear-weapon state, which is a blatant violation of the purpose and principles of the NPT. We urge relevant countries to earnestly fulfill their nuclear non-proliferation obligations and revoke their decision on nuclear-powered submarine cooperation. We call on the international community to jointly defend the NPT-based international nuclear non-proliferation regime and maintain international peace and security.
We have noticed that recently there were voices in certain countries including Japan about seeking “nuclear sharing” with the US. China believes that relevant countries should earnestly fulfill their obligations under the NPT and their own pledge, and stop clamoring for “nuclear sharing” or other forms of nuclear deterrence arrangements. Any attempt to replicate the “nuclear sharing” model in the Asia-Pacific will seriously damage regional strategic balance and stability, and will surely be firmly opposed and countered by countries in the region.
Question: According to foreign media reports, special operation forces of the US and India recently launched a joint operation exercise in the southern foothills of the Himalayas, which will last 20-odd days. As another media report says, the US and Indian militaries have planned to hold another joint exercise code-named “Yudh Abhyas” in October this year. The report says the location of the exercise will be close to the China-India border and will focus on combat capabilities on plateaus and mountains, which means the exercise is obviously targeted at China. What is your comment on this?
Answer: We are aware of the relevant reports and will keep a close watch on related movements. China believes that military cooperation, in particular exercises and training activities, between countries should not target at any third party, but rather serve to help maintain regional peace and stability.
The China-India border issue is a matter between the two countries. China and India have maintained effective communications at different levels and agreed to properly handle the issue through bilateral dialogues. We firmly oppose any third party meddling in the China-India border issue in any form. In light of the relevant agreements signed by China and India in 1993 and 1996, neither side is allowed to conduct military exercises against the other in areas near the Line of Actual Control. It is hoped that the Indian side will strictly abide by the important consensus reached by the leaders of the two countries and the relevant agreements, honor its commitment to resolving border issues through bilateral channels, and maintain peace and tranquility in the border area with concrete actions.
Question: The Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) authorities recently hyped up on multiple occasions that the military exercises organized by the mainland around Taiwan were “irresponsible” and “provocative” actions. According to Taiwan media reports, the troops in Taiwan recently carried out heavy artillery firing training, test-fired surface-to-surface missile with “infinite” trajectory altitude, and conducted an anti-landing exercise. What’s your comment on this, please?
Answer: The Taiwan Question and China’s Reunification in the New Era, a white paper published recently, gives a comprehensive and systematic explanation on the historical context and legal basis of the fact that Taiwan has belonged to China since ancient times, and China’s position, principle and policy for promoting reunification in the new era. The DPP authorities and the “Taiwan independence” separatist forces have, for their personal interests, turned against the overall interests of the Chinese nation and colluded with external forces to carry out “pro-independence” provocations. This is the root cause of the rising tensions across the Taiwan Strait.
The recent military operations organized by the PLA are punitive deterrence against the “Taiwan independence” separatist forces and the interference of external forces. Pursuing “Taiwan independence” will only plunge Taiwan into the abyss and bring nothing but disaster to Taiwan compatriots. We sternly warn the DPP authorities and the “Taiwan independence” separatist forces that if they insist on courting foreign support for “independence” and making provocations, the Chinese military will continue to speak with actions and take resolute countermeasures.