(The following English text of the press conference is for reference. In case of any divergence of interpretation, the Chinese text shall prevail.)
Senior Colonel Wu Qian: Friends from the press, good afternoon. Welcome to this month’s regular press conference of the Ministry of National Defense (MND) of the People’s Republic of China (PRC). Before the press conference starts, let’s welcome a group of special friends. They are Hong Kong civil servants attending a course at the China Foreign Affairs University. First, I have 5 pieces of information to release.
The first piece is about China’s participation at this year’s Shangri-la Dialogue. General Wei Fenghe, Chinese State Councilor and Minister of National Defense will attend the 18th Shangri-la Dialogue in Singapore. General Wei will address the conference under the topic of China and International Security Cooperation. General Wei will also meet and exchange views on extensive issues with heads of delegation on the margins of the conference.
The second information is about the torch relay of the CISM Military World Games.
The 7th International Military Sports Council (CISM) Military World Games will be held in Wuhan from October 18 to 27, 2019. The organizing committee of the games will set off torch relay nation-wide and within the People’s Liberation Army (PLA). As an important publicity event for the military games, the torch relay will speak volumes of China’s achievements in national and defense development, China’s positions in peaceful development, and the fine Chinese culture. It will further boost the enthusiasm of people from all sectors of society and the PLA in following, supporting and participating in the games, so as to create a good atmosphere for the games. The preparation of the relay is almost completed. Now I will give you some details.
First, the theme and the slogan of the torch relay. The theme is “Sharing friendship, upholding peace”. The slogan is “Winning glory for the service people and building peace for the world”.
Second, the venues of the torch relay. The event will take two forms: first, the demonstration of the torch and the relay of the torch. It will take place in 43 venues, including 27 cities and 16 military venues. The relay will start after the torch flame is lit in Nanchang City of China’s Jiangxi Province, the birthplace of the PLA. The route of the replay will cover 10 cities, namely: Beijing City, Shijiazhuang City of Hebei Province (where Xibaipo is), Shanghai, Nanjing City of Jiangsu Province, Longyan City of Fujian Province (where Gutian is), Shenzhen City of Guangdong Province, Zunyi City of Guizhou Province, Xi’an City and Yan’an City of Sha’anxi Province. The 16 military venues include: an Army training center, an army brigade, an Army reserve division, a navy flotilla base, the Peace Ark hospital ship, Air Force Aviation University, an Air Force division, the Rocket Force University of Engineering, the Strategic Support Force University of Aviation Engineering, a brigade of Joint Logistics Support Force, the Academy of Military Science, the University of National defense, the University of National Science and Technology, a detachment of the People’s Armed Police, and two boundary posts. After arriving in the host Hubei Province, the torch relay will take place in 17 cities and autonomous prefectures. On the evening of October 18, the torch will enter the venues of the opening ceremony and light up the main torch tower.
Third, the line-up of the torch bearers. There are 2019 carefully hand-picked torch-bearers consisting of the PLA personnel, Chinese civilians and foreigners. There are 954 PLA personnel. Among them are representatives of Heroic Role Models of the PLA and People’s Armed Police, representatives from grass-root units including officers, soldiers, civilian staff, militia and reserve forces, representatives of old soldiers and Red Army old soldiers, representatives of military coaches and athletes. There are 995 civilian torch bearers. They are representatives from Party and governmental organs, exemplary individuals in the military- civilian mutual-support work, representatives of the military spouse and the family members of bereaved service members, representatives of exemplary de-mobilized service members, representatives of outstanding men and women of different sectors of society, representatives of civilian coaches, athletes and sponsors. There are 70 foreign torch-bearers, including representatives of CISM, representatives of different sports committees, defense attaches of CISM member states, and representatives of foreign military officers who are currently studying in China. Meantime, there will be 40 escort runners from the People’s Armed Police who will take on security and ceremonial responsibilities.
Fourth, the presentation and symbolization of the torch. Let me show you the real torch. The torch, named “Glory of the Peace”, symbolizes peace, development and friendship. With a length of 700 millimeters and a weight of 780 grams, the torch takes on a triangular shape. The trendy design of the torch is closely linked with the theme. The top of the torch is made up of three conjoining flames, which symbolizes the exciting event which will bring together military people from all around the world to build up friendship and peace. The crenels around the top of the torch symbolizes the channel through which China will send out messages of peaceful development to the world. The torch is covered with red and digital camouflage. The round base of the torch symbolizes world peace and the community we all share.
In addition, the military games also specially designed outfits for torch-bearers, escort runners and other staff. A convoy for torch relay is also formed.
The third information is about the International Army Games 2019. According to relevant agreements, the PLA will send delegations to compete in the International Army Games-2019 in Russia, Kazakhstan, Belarus, India and Iran in the first half of August, 2019. The PLA will also host some of the events in China.
China will compete in the following 12 events overseas: in Russia, Tank Biathlon, a competition among tank crews, Engineering Formula, a competition among engineer units, Masters of Armored Vehicles, a competition among armored vehicle crews, Military Rally, a competition among drivers, Seaborne Assault, a competition among marine units, Aviators, a competition among flight crews, Airborne Platoon, a competition among Airborne Platoons. In Kazakhstan, Falcon Hunting, a competition among Unmanned Aviation Vehicles, Stable Reception, a competition among signal unites. In Belarus, Sniper Frontier, a competition among snipers. In India, Army Scout Masters, a competition among reconnaissance units. In Iran, Depth, a competition among divers.
The PLA will host the following 4 events in Korla, Xinjiang: the Suvorov Attack, a competition among Infantry Fighting Vehicle crews, Clear Sky, a competition among air defense units, Gunsmith Master, a competition among maintenance platoons, Safe Environment, a competition among Nuclear-Biological-Chemical protection units.
In recent years, the PLA attended multiple International military competitions, which played a positive role in enhancing friendship between the PLA and other participants such as Russia, and promoting their exchanges in training and real-combat capability-building.
The forth piece is about the friendship exchanges at China-Laos boundary areas. With mutual agreement between China and Laos, the PLA Southern Theater Command will jointly hold the 2nd China-Laos Friendship Activities with the border troops of the Lao People’s Armed Force on the boundary areas, from June 5 to 6, 2019. The two sides will hold the first counter-terrorism military exercise during the event.
The purpose of the friendship activities is to implement important consensus of the state and military leaders, advance China-Laos traditional friendship, innovate practical cooperation, and jointly safeguard peace and stability in the border areas.
The fifth piece is about the “Great Wall-2019” Counter-terrorism Symposium hosted by the People’s Armored Police (PAP). According to work schedule, the People’s Armed Police (PAP) will host the International Counter-terrorism Symposium “Great Wall-2019” in PAP Special Police Academy. With the theme “sniping action in counter-terrorism operations”, the symposium has 5 agenda items: First, theories on counter-terrorism sniping action; Second, exercise and training on sniping; Third, how to produce a snipers; Forth, tactics of sniping; Fifth, equipment of sniping. As of May 28, 30 countries have registered to attend. This symposium will help the PAP to enhance mutual understanding and friendship with similar forces around the world and jointly make progress.
Now the floor is open for questions.
Question: Against the backdrop of the US-China trade war, the US side has also made a series of moves targeting China in the field of military security, including sending military ships to intrude into the adjacent waters of the relevant islands and reefs in the South China Sea and publishing a report titled the Military and Security Developments Involving the People’s Republic of China 2019. Could you please comment on the current China-US military relationship?
Answer: The Chinese side has made resolute responses to the provocations by the US side in the trade and economic fields. The PLA is fully resolved in safeguarding national sovereignty, territorial integrity and the well-being of the Chinese people.
China-US relations are generally stable, with regular communication and exchanges going on. Before long, the third Asia-Pacific Security Dialogue between the two defense ministries was successfully concluded in Washington D.C. The first working group meeting of 2019 under the Military Maritime Consultative Agreement will be held in Qingdao at the beginning of next month. There are still more exchanges and cooperation items on the calendar of the two sides.
We hope that the US side can meet us half way, expand cooperation on the basis of mutual benefit, properly handle differences on the basis of mutual respect and advance China-US relationship defined by coordination, cooperation and stability so as to make our mil-to-mil relationship the stabilizer of the state-to-state relations.
Question: The US is stepping up its containment and pressure on China；as a result, China will sure face quite a few difficulties and obstacles in its overall development including the development of its military. How do you see these difficulties and obstacles? Are you still confident about the future?
Answer: History serves as a mirror for reflection. Looking back on the 92 years of the splendid journey of the PLA, it is a story of developing our strength from scratch and defeating the enemies much stronger than we were. Threats, intimidation, and containment did not stop us but made us even more unified and courageous. China’s confidence and steadiness is not god-given: we owe it to the strong leadership of the CPC, the solidarity of the people, and the great achievements over the last 70 years since the founding of the People’s Republic of China. As regard to the difficulties and obstacles you mentioned, we see them as small episodes in the course of the great rejuvenation of the Chinese nation. For the heroic People’s Liberation Army, we fear no one and nothing.
Question: On behalf of the netizen” Free snow”(Zi You Bai Xue), I would like to ask you a question. On May 30, at 8 o'clock Beijing time this morning, Liu Xin, an anchorwoman of CGTN, was invited to hold a satellite debate with Trish Reagan, an anchorwoman of an American television station. Before that, they had already started debating online. Has the Ministry of National Defense noticed this? How do you think of it?
Answer: I would thank netizen "free snow" for putting this question to me, although this is not a military one. I am personally following this debate, and I read some media reports on this. As for comments, I would like to offer three points of personal idea. First, if there are problems, don’t hide them. Just speak it out, publicly. Second, don’t make false accusations. Arguments should really be objective and be based on facts. Third, facts should not be fabricated. Justice will always prevail.
I also want to ask the journalist to check with netizen "Free Snow", whether he/she is satisfied by my answer.
Question: You have just mentioned that the US-China military relation is generally stable. But some critics find signs of increasing tension between the two militaries. This year, the Chinese side will send a delegation headed by State Councilor and Minister of Defense General Wei Fenghe to the Shangri-La Dialogue. So based on what considerations does China make this decision? And what kind of message does China wish to send out to the world? Will General Wei’s speech deliver a tougher position of China and is he going to meet with US Acting Secretary of Defense Mr. Shanahan during the conference?
Answer: China attaches high importance to participating multilateral security dialogues. Over the past years, according to the requirements of the actual situations, China has always made independent decisions on the delegation it sends to the Shangri-La dialogue. This time, General Wei Fenghe will expound on China’s positions on international security cooperation and engage with other heads of delegations of global security.
As for whether General Wei Fenghe will meet with Acting Secretary of Defense Mr. Shanahan, the two sides are in active communication and coordination. We will release relevant information in due time.
Question: May 29 is the International Day of the United Nations Peacekeepers. We noticed that not long ago two Chinese officers were awarded UN Peacekeeping Medals. Media reports say that the medical detachment of the Chinese peacekeeping force to Lebanon will soon undergo rotation. Would you please brief us on the relevant information? Thank you.
Answer: On May 24, two Chinese military officers were awarded the United Nations Peacekeeping Medal, together with 28 others from 18 countries, for their contribution to the UN peacekeeping effort at the ceremony. My heart-felt congratulations go to them.
In recent days, the 17th Chinese peacekeeping force to Lebanon is returning home in batches after accomplishing one-year peacekeeping mission. All of the 410 peacekeeping officers and soldiers were awarded the UN Peacekeeping Medals. During their mission, the three detachments of the peacekeeping force completed 17 passage maintenance tasks, cleared 7,000 square meters of landmine, eliminated over 1400 mines, completed over 70 construction projects, and provided medical services for over 10,000 people. The 18th Chinese peacekeeping force to Lebanon will take up the baton of glory, and continue to play an active role in promoting peace, stability and prosperity of Lebanon.
And here now I want to show you a special letter. Please look at the screen.
The man who wrote this letter is called Muhammad, a Syrian refugee living in Lebanon. A few weeks ago, he was bitten by a wolf, causing serious injury to his left leg. Anxious but helpless, he was referred to the Chinese peacekeeping medical team. After careful treatment by Chinese military doctors, he got well soon. He wrote to Chinese peacekeepers to express his appreciation. The main message is, “I would like to give you all praises and gratitude in the world, like fine drizzle, lovely flowers and pleasant fragrance. No languages or words could describe what you have done for me. Best wishes to the Chinese peacekeeping medical team and language assistants. Thank you!”
Muhammad also painted a heart on the letter. Here I want to give this poetic letter and the heart to all the peacekeeping personnel. Thanks for your selfless contribution to world peace!
Question: According to foreign media reports, President Xi Jinping is to pay a state visit to Russia. Recent years saw fruitful results in China-Russia military exchange and cooperation. What caught our attention is that the two navies also conducted joint exercise in Qingdao of China’s Shandong Province early this month. Could you please comment on the China-Russia mil-to-mil relationship and brief us on the highlight of the exercise? According to media reports, a senior official of the US State Department recently called the tension between China and the United States “a clash of civilizations” and she also referred China as the first non-Caucasian major competitor, triggering heated debate in the world. What is your comment?
Answer: In the year 2019, under the strategic guidance of President Xi Jinping and President Putin, taking the 70th anniversary on the establishment of diplomatic ties as an opportunity, the two militaries continue to advance exchange mechanisms across the board and engage in cooperation in high-level visits, real-combat training and military competition. The two sides also interact with each other and support each other on multi-lateral occasions. By doing so, the two sides add new substance to the comprehensive strategic partnership of coordination between the two countries and provide positive energy to safeguard world peace and regional stability.
As for the joint exercise you just mentioned, there are several first-times: first-time underwater cross salvage of each other’s submarine crew members, first-time joint anti-submarine maneuver by surface ships and aircraft, first-time live-firing missile weapon. It shows that China-Russia joint maritime exercise is more real-combat and information oriented and standardized. It also shows that organization of joint defense maneuver and the capability to address maritime security threat between the two countries have been strengthened.
For this joint exercise, we worked together with the Navy and made a video clip called the Force for the Peace.
The last sentence of the video is long live the friendship between China and Russia!
For your second question: civilizations should be diverse, equal and inclusive. Different civilizations are beautiful in different ways, but one civilization is never inferior or superior to another one. As the Chinese says goes, some likes radishes and others like cabbages. All civilizations are essence of beauty and beautiful things connect with each other. There will be no clash between civilizations if you have an eye to appreciate them.
Some people on the US side defined China-US relations as “clash of civilizations”, which is rather absurd and reflects their lack of knowledge not only about China but also about the US itself. All they have in mind is racist thinking and cold-war mentality of zero-sum game. Their remarks are harmful for the development of China-US relations in future and the Chinese side is firmly opposed to these remarks.
Question: According to media report, several US officials said under the current security environment, the US should consider pushing China to take part in the US-Russia arms control agreement, so as to prevent China from making profit from the agreement while the US is under strict restriction. Is the Chinese side considering participating in the trilateral negotiation on arms control？
Answer: We are not going to participate.
Question: During an inspection tour to PLA Army Infantry Academy on May 21, President Xi Jinping points out those military academies should have the salient feature of producing graduates to fight wars, and focus all school activities on the ability to fight and win. What are the thoughts and measures of all the military universities and academies in implementing the requirements?
Answer: President Xi’s important speech at Infantry Academy provided a direction and guidance for the construction of war-fighting academies and the cultivation of war fighters. All PLA universities and academies will study and implement President Xi Jinping’s thinking on strengthening the army, and the military strategic guideline for a new era. They will strive to have a deep understanding of the mission and basic law of the military development, the demand and growth pattern of military personnel, the orientation of the universities and academies, and the law of talent cultivation, persist in facing the battlefield, the grass-root units and the future warfare, and take the construction of a New Trinity military personnel training system as the starting point. They will focus on promoting the development of connotation in an all-round way, deepen the educational reform of colleges and universities, speed up the training of high-quality personnel to meet the mission of the new era, and provide important support for achieving the goal of strengthening the army and building a world-class army in an all-round way.
This year will see the following four major items to be completed. First, we will run a workshop for all the presidents of the military universities and academies, focusing their attention on running their universities for war fighting and enhancing readiness, establishing the core value that all the teaching and training should be centered on fighting wars and having them contribute more to cultivating talents. Second, we will select and build key academies and major disciplines. These academies and disciplines will demonstrate where a strong military is going, help enhance the core capabilities and have distinctive advantages. In so doing, the teaching standards and quality of graduates will be greatly improved.
Third, we will run a pilot evaluation on teaching standards, so as to make the universities closer to combat and grass-root units, the teaching materials more focused on fighting wars, the teaching methods more oriented to real-combat conditions, and the faculty more knowledgeable on warfare and active in teaching. Fourth, we will build a team that consists of capable teachers who are conversant in war-fighting. We will run a training camp for new directors for teaching, key instructors on command and new type of warfare. We will also hold teaching competitions for all instructors to encourage them to be combat-oriented and innovative. These competitions will be bottom-up and divided into different levels.
Question: We noticed a series of moves by the US side on Taiwan related issues. For example, the US House of Representatives passed an act to reassure the US commitments to Taiwan, US military warships frequently sailed through the Taiwan Strait, the top National Security Council officials met with each other for the first time and there were high-profile activities held to commemorate the 40th anniversary of the so called “Taiwan Relation Act”. How do you comment?
Answer: Taiwan is part of China. The Taiwan question is China’s internal affairs and it has to do with China’s core interests and it has a direct bearing on the Chinese people’s feelings. Therefore it brooks no foreign interference.
Recently the US side frequently plays the Taiwan card in an attempt to use Taiwan to contain China, which is merely wishful thinking. The “One China” principle is widely accepted by international community and also serves as the pivotal political foundation of the establishment of diplomatic ties between China and the US. The US side is playing with fire. It seriously hurts the advancement of the China and US state-to-state and mil-to-mil ties and it seriously undermines peace and stability across the Strait.
We also noticed the separatist rhetoric and acts by the DPP authorities. It must be pointed out that the so called “Taiwan Independence” is the biggest threat plaguing the peace and stability across the Strait. It is also the biggest menace hurting the fundamental interests of the Taiwan people. By upholding the principle of “peaceful reunification” and the “One Country, Two Systems”, we advance the peaceful development of the cross Strait relations and promote the cause of peaceful reunification of the motherland. That said, we steadfastly oppose any attempt and move aiming at separating the country. Attempting independence by using force is doomed to fail. Seeking “Taiwan Independence” or placing all the bets on a foreign power does not and will not work. One will only swallow the bitter fruit if he or she panders to foreign powers in an attempt to increase his or her own importance.
The PLA is fully determined, confident and capable in defeating any separatist act to safeguard the integrity of territory and sovereignty.
Question: You just mentioned that the torch relay of the Military World Games will pass through 43 places in the country and military. Is there any special consideration for the venue selection? Thank you.
Answer: Basically we have four considerations for the 43 relay venues. The first is to remind every Chinese to remain true to our original aspiration and keep our mission firmly in mind. History cities including Nanchang, Shanghai, Gutian and Zunyi are chosen as venues to display the glorious course of the Chinese revolution. The second is to demonstrate peaceful development and win-win cooperation. The torch relay will take place in key cities of BRI and reform and opening-up, and in military units that undertake major responsibilities such as UN peacekeeping mission, escort mission in the Gulf of Aden, and humanitarian assistance. The third is to show the new look of our military after reform and restructuring. These venues cover the PLA, the People’s Armed Force, militia reserve forces, all theater commands and services, and military units including combat troops, educational institutions, research institutions and training institutions. The fourth is to showcase Chinese civilization and the Jing-chu culture. Relevant venues will display multiple cultures including the culture of the Qin and Han dynasties, the culture of the Three Kingdoms, ancient military culture and ethnic culture in Hubei Province.
Question: I have two questions. First, on May 7, the US House of Representatives passed the Taiwan Assurance Act, which said Taiwan is an important partner in the US Indo-Pacific strategy and the arms sale to Taiwan should be normalized. What is your comment? Second, the quasi aircraft carrier Izumo of the Japanese Self-Defense Force has been active in the South China Sea region this month, and it has interacted with navies from the US, India and the Philippines. Japanese media said the move was to show the capability of containing China. How do you respond to that?
Answer: For your first question, Taiwan is part of China and its future cannot be guaranteed by someone else.
For your second question, we have noticed the relevant developments of the Japanese quasi aircraft carrier Izumo in the South China Sea region. Due to historical and realistic reason, the moves by the Japanese side in the military security field are closely followed by Asian neighbors and the International community. It is our hope that the Japanese side can take history as a lesson and abide by their commitment to a path of peaceful development, do more to enhance mutual trust with neighboring countries and contribute to regional stability, rather than the opposite.
Question: Some US congressmen introduced the PLA Visa Security Act, saying that the US government should stop issuing student or visiting scholar visas to people employed or funded by the PLA. They also suggested that the other countries should take similar measures. What is your comment?
Answer: The Chinese side is gravely concerned and opposed to this and has lodged solemn representations to the US side. Some US congressmen launched smear campaign on the motives of visiting Chinese personnel, and tried every means to place hurdles on people-to-people exchanges between the two countries. This incident is of odious nature. We urge the US side to stop the wrong move so as to prevent further damage to the mil-to-mil as well as state-to-state relations.
Question: The Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff of the United States Gen. Joseph Dunford called on US allies to counter China’s “militarization” of the South China Sea. How do you comment on that? Whether the Chinese military is currently using US chips in its military equipment or not? What challenges will the US high technology ban have on PLA’s modernization drive?
Answer: We have noticed relevant remarks from the US side, and we think that these remarks are only fabrication of the truth and we are firmly opposed to that. China’s construction on its own islands and reefs in the South China Sea is to provide more public goods and public service for countries in the region and to improve the ability to provide civil protection there. According to my knowledge, the maritime monitoring center on the Yongshu Jiao or the Fiery Cross Reef, the Zhubi Jiao or the Subi Reef, and the Meiji Jiao or the Mischief Reef, have already been operating since last year. Look what the US side has done：they frequently sent military ships and aircraft to make provocative moves in the South China Sea. We think they are the major force of militarization of the South China Sea. It’s intention is nothing but muddling the water and making profit from it. It is our hope that the US side can stop groundless accusations against China and stop sowing discord between China and other countries, and make tangible efforts to maintain peace and stability in the South China Sea rather than the opposite.
About the chip technology, I have no information to release. As for the challenge you mentioned, in my answer just now I quoted two lines of poems. One is “our steadiness is not God-given”, the other is that “the PLA fears no one and nothing”. I think you are able to understand the essence of these two lines. If you don’t catch the meaning of them at the moment, it doesn’t matter. Think them over after the press conference and I believe you will understand.
Question: On 16th, May, Du Fuguo, a soldier of Demining Unit from the Southern Theater Command made a speech in the 6th National Conference on Exemplary Disabled Persons and was received by President Xi Jinping. On 22nd He was awarded Model of the Time by the Publicity Department of the CPC. His story trigged heated discussion in the society. How do you comment?
Answer: I was deeply moved and encouraged by comrade Du Fuguo’s story. I was touched by his determination to obey the command of the Party, by his belief to fulfill his mission, by his dedication to eliminate mines for the people, by his love and sacrifice to the country, by his outstanding expertise gained from painstaking practice, by his sense of responsibility to be a brave pioneer, by his resilience in the face of setbacks and by his enterprising spirit.
No one is born a hero. It takes a long time for one to grow a hero through honing. One will not learn to be a hero overnight. We should start from trivial things around us. While paying respect to comrade Du Fuguo, we will, like him, stick to our own job and try our best so as to make our own contribution to the society through our own efforts so we can present our unique values on ordinary working positions.
Question: Thank you. I have two questions. In recent days, Taiwan has conducted a series of military exercises, and there is one today. I think it is landing on the beach exercise. I just wonder if the PLA is paying attention to these exercises and if you have comments or observations? As for my second question, recently the Australian navy was sailing in the South China Sea, and some of the helicopter pilots were reported to be targeted by lasers. The laser incidents of the sort have been reported in other places as well around Chinese military facilities, for example, in China's Support Base in Djibouti. I just wonder if China’s military is investigating this and if you have any response. Thank you!
Answer: For your first question, we have noticed relevant moves. We are willing to strive for the prospect of peaceful reunification with our utmost sincerity and efforts. However, it must be pointed out that "Taiwan independence" is a dead end and there is no way out to engage in armed confrontation.
On the second question, the accusations are not true. We hope the Australia side could reflect on their own deeds before pointing fingers at others. Chinese fishermen are entitled to operate according to the law within the waters administered by China, and to the freedom of navigation and fishing in the high seas.
Question: The Chinese and Thai navies held the Blue Commando-2019 joint naval drill earlier this month. What do both navies get out of the exercise?
Answer: The China-Thai joint naval drill Blue Commando-2019 was successfully held in Zhanjiang, China’s Guangdong Province from May 2 to May 8. The joint drill was divided into two phases, namely, port-based training and marine training. A total of 7 ships, 5 observers and more than 1,000 officers and soldiers from both sides took part in the drill. Compared with the previous China-Thailand joint naval training exercises, this drill features multiple services, real combat and deep integration. The officers and soldiers of China and Thailand learned from each other and cooperated with each other during the joint training, which deepened their friendship and enhanced their ability to jointly deal with threats. The joint drill achieved good results.
Question: According to media reports, according to a statement, the Armed Forces of Myanmar, the ceasefire with Ethnic Armed Groups will be extended for two months to June 30. What is your comment?
Answer: The PLA welcomes and supports the statement of prolonged ceasefire by Myanmar military. We hope all parties in Myanmar could seize the opportunity and work together to realize national reconciliation, peace and development at an earlier date.
The situation in northern Myanmar has a direct bearing on the peace and tranquility of the China-Myanmar bounder areas. We will never allow any party for any reason to infringe on China’s sovereignty and endanger the life and property of our people. The PLA will take all necessary measures to uphold national sovereignty and the safety and property of our people.
Question: According to media reports, the US President Trump, who is visiting Japan, announced that Japan is going to purchase 105 F-35 stealth fighter jets. If this purchase goes through, Japan will possess the largest number of F-35 fighter jets among the allies of the US. Regarding the combat capability of the F-35 fighter group, does the Chinese side think the F-35 purchase deal between the US and Japan is breaking the military balance in the East Asia region?
You have mentioned in your earlier briefing that China is going to send a naval delegation to Iran to take part in the “Deep Sea” divers’ competitions of the International Army Games. We know that the development of the salvage force of the PLA Navy is in keeping with the submarine force. It is the first time for China to send naval divers to take part in the international competition in the Middle East region. Does it mean a new breakthrough in the development of the submarine force of the PLA Navy?
Answer: We have noticed relevant reports on the defense cooperation between the US and Japan. It is our hope that the defense cooperation between the US and Japan can be conducive to regional peace and stability rather than the opposite.
About the second question, over the last 70 years since the founding of the PRC, the PLA Navy, including its submarine force, has started from scratch，achieved remarkable development and grown much stronger. As for the personnel sent by the Chinese military to Iran to participate in the Depth divers’ competition, I have high expectation for these young men. We do hope they will give their best performance and achieve good results in the competition.
Question: How are the torch bearers of the Wuhan Military Games selected? What are the principles and plans for organizing the torch relay?
Answer: In the briefing I just introduced that the torch bearers we have selected are representatives of heroic models of the PLA and PAP, representatives of red army old soldiers, representatives of ordinary soldiers and representatives of all walks of life. As for the details of your question, I need to gather more information. You can also refer to the organizing committee of the Wuhan Military Games.
Question: China has recently turned over a batch of aircraft to Pakistan Air Force. How would you comment on the military exchanges and cooperation between China and Pakistan?
Answer: China and Pakistan are good neighbors for peaceful coexistence, good brothers in the same boat, good friends of mutual trust and good partners for common development. In 2019, the two militaries will maintain a good momentum of high-level exchanges, actively carry out institutional exchanges between military services and academies, organize joint exercises focusing on actual combat, and strive to promote pragmatic cooperation in various fields to achieve fruitful results.
If there are no further questions, here concludes today’s press conference. I would like to thank all of you for coming, and wish you all have a great summer.