Senior Colonel Ren Guoqiang: Friends from the media, 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). I have three pieces of information to announce at the beginning.
The first is about the PLA and the PAP’s participation in the earthquake disaster relief in Changning, Sichuan Province.
On June 17th, a 6.0 magnitude earthquake hit Changning County in Yibin City, Sichuan Province. In the wake of the earthquake, President Xi Jinping attached great importance to the relief work and gave the important instruction that great efforts should be made to organize earthquake relief and the PLA and the PAP should assist local government in disaster relief.
Troops from the People’s Liberation Army (PLA), the People’s Armored Police (PAP) and the militia have quickly responded and joined the relief effort. The CMC Joint Command Center and the PLA Western Theater Command Joint Command Center have promptly initiated their emergency response mechanisms and commanded troops from the Sichuan Provincial Military Region and the PAP Sichuan Corps to participate in the disaster relief effort of local government. The military always comes to the aid of the people whenever there is a disaster. It is in line with the purpose of the people’s military. The task forces are concerned with the people in the quake-hit area. They are fighting on the front line and will resolutely fulfill the mission entrusted by the Party and the people.
The second is on the China-Africa Peace and Security Forum.
On September 3rd, 2018, President Xi Jinping announced the establishment of the China-Africa Peace and Security Forum in the Forum on China-Africa Cooperation (FOCAC) Beijing Summit. To implement the consensus between President Xi and African leaders and further strengthen the China-Africa Comprehensive Strategic Partnership, the MND will host the Inaugural China-Africa Peace and Security Forum from July 14th to 20th. The Chinese side has invited heads of defense departments and militaries from African countries and the African Union (AU).
Themed “cooperating hand-in-hand to consolidate security”, the forum will focus on the building of a China-Africa community of shared future and common security. Delegates from different countries will have in-depth discussions on such topics as African security, regional hotspot issues, Africa’s independent security capacity building, and China-Africa peace and security cooperation.
The forum will provide a platform for China and African countries to enhance exchanges and cooperation and bring more global attention and support to peace and security in Africa. It will be a major platform for China and Africa to promote peace, development and cooperation, build a closer China-Africa community of shared future and facilitate peace and stability in Africa and the world.
The third is about the PLA guards of honor’s participation in the Independence Day parade of the Republic of Belarus.
The Republic of Belarus will celebrate its independence day with a parade in July 3rd. At the invitation of its Defense Ministry, the Chinese side has sent a squad of 96 personnel from the PLA guards of honor. They are currently having adaptive training in Minsk. China and Belarus are comprehensive strategic partners, and the two countries have sent guards of honor to each other’s major ceremonies in 2015 and 2018 respectively.
Now the floor is open for questions.
Question: The US Department of Defense (DOD) released the Indo-Pacific Strategy Report on June 1st. It is the first systematic exposition of the Indo-Pacific strategy by the US DOD. It is worth noting that when the Report talks about China, on the one hand, it directly links the US economic relationship with China with the security precautions against China; on the other hand, it shows that the US is ready to take more advantage of the Taiwan question to contain China. What’s your comment on this?
Answer: We have taken note of this report from the US side and we are firmly opposed to its negative contents concerning China. Here, I would like to make three points.
First, no strategy should go against the times. The trend of the world is mighty and overwhelming. Those who follow it will prosper while those who resist will perish. Peace, development and win-win cooperation are the trends of our times. Any strategy that is closed and exclusive, which is against the general trends, is doomed to failure.
Second, no strategy should harm the well-being of people all over the world. China upholds that all countries, while seeking their own interests, should also pursue common benefits and jointly build a community of shared future. A strategy would not have international support unless it reflects the aspirations and common interests of people throughout the world. Any strategy that only satisfies the interests of one party will have little support and will hurt the interests of all in the end.
Finally, no strategy should underscore the confrontation side of relations. Facts have proved that confrontation cannot solve problems while dialogue provides a solution. Some countries have strengthened military presence, hyped up military competition, and promoted military confrontation. These actions will only escalate tensions and undermines world peace.
Question: I have two questions. First, when attending this year’s Conference on Interaction and Confidence Building Measures in Asia (CICA) Summit, President Xi Jinping mentioned that it is our common aspiration to build an Asia where countries enjoy mutual respect and trust. This statement is rarely seen in the previous statements of China’s security outlook. How do you interpret the new statement of China’s security outlook? President Xi also mentioned that China will host a forum of military academy superintendents of CICA member states. Why does the Chinese side initiate this forum?
The second question: the US Assistant Secretary of Defense for Indo-Pacific Security Affairs Randall Schriver said recently that the US side is concerned about Beijing’s behaviors and ambition to reshape the world order, and Beijing is putting pressure and military coercion against Taiwan, which undermines stability in Taiwan and the region. James Moriarty, chairman of the US Institute in Taiwan, also said on the same occasion that the biggest obstacle in the US-China relationship is not the Taiwan Question, but the dominance over Asia, and China is expressing willingness to break up US alliances in Asia and replace the US as the dominating power in Asia, which makes Taiwan more strategically important. What is your comment?
Answer: On your first question. On June 15, President Xi delivered a speech at the 5th CICA Summit and proposed to build an Asia where countries enjoy mutual respect and trust, and an Asia that is secure and stable, growing and prosperous, open and inclusive, cooperative and creative. This major initiative is in line with the trend of the times, in the interests of relevant countries and reflects the aspirations of the people. It will be an important consensus leading the future development of CICA and play a positive role in promoting regional peace and stability. As to why we initiate the forum of military academy superintendents of CICA member states, I think the forum will help improve exchanges on military doctrine, theory and culture, and enhance understanding and trust. Exchanges of military academies on topics such as military education can help service members, especially young officers, from different member states to build and carry on friendship. We believe the inaugural forum will be a successful one with the joint efforts of all participants and add new impetus to the development of CICA.
On your second question, we have also noticed the remarks of relevant officials from the US side. Some people in the US still hold the Cold War mentality. They keep exaggerating the strategic competition between China and the US, and provoking confrontation between the Chinese mainland and Taiwan. We are strongly opposed to that.
I want to reaffirm that the world is big enough to accommodate the common development and interests of both China and the US. The path of peaceful development is China’s long-term policy, and China is always a contributor to world peace, global development and international order. China has no intention to follow the beaten path of big power seeking hegemony and repeat the big power confrontation in the Cold War period. China has no intention to compete for the alleged world dominance with the US. I want to reaffirm that Taiwan matters on China's core interests and the national bond of the Chinese people. It allows no interference from foreign countries. China will resolutely safeguard national sovereignty and territorial integrity.
We also want to urge some people in the US to have a lucid understanding of the situation, abandon the Cold War mentality, respect the basic facts and come back to senses. We urge them to stop hyping up the strategic competition between China and the US, stop misleading the world, media and themselves, and also stop interfering into China’s domestic affairs. Instead, they should take concrete actions to promote a sound and stable relations between the two countries and the two militaries.
Question: Media reports said that the Liaoning aircraft carrier group of the PLA Navy returned to its home port through the Taiwan Strait on June 25th. During this training, the aircraft carrier group sailed close to the Guam. Could you please brief us on the training of the aircraft carrier group? Did the aircraft carrier group approach the Guam?
Answer: According to the annual training plan, the Liaoning aircraft carrier group conducted a trans-regional ocean-going maneuver and training in recent days. The purposeistestingthe performance of weapons and equipment and improving the troops’ training level, so as to further enhance the aircraft carrier group’s capabilities to fulfill missions and tasks.
Question: Media reports said that recently, the Symposium for Principals of International Military Cooperation Departments from Latin American Countries was held in Beijing. Could you please brief us on that?
Answer: Thank you for your interest in the international military cooperation of China. Following President Xi’s important directive to build a new-era China-Latin America relationship featuring equality, reciprocity, innovation, openness and benefits to all people, according to the 2019 International Military Cooperation Plan, China’s Ministry of National Defense hosted a symposium for the principals of international military cooperation departments of Latin American countries in the International Defense Academy of the National Defense University from June 12th to 27th.
The symposium invited 20 military and police officers, as well as civilian officials in charge of international military cooperation in their respective defense or security departments from 10 Latin American countries. Delegates had in-depth discussions and exchanges on 13 different topics, such as China’s economic and social development, China’s foreign and defense policies, and challenges and opportunities in China-Latin America military cooperation. The symposium helped enhance mutual understanding and trust, and strengthen friendly exchanges and cooperation between the Chinese and Latin American armed forces.
Question: On June 5th, President Xi Jinping and President Vladimir Putin signed the Joint Statement on Developing the Comprehensive Strategic Partnership of Coordination between China and Russia in the Mew Era in Moscow. Given the elevation of the bilateral relationship, how will the military relationship develop in the future?
This year marks the 70th anniversary of the establishment of the diplomatic relationship between China and Russia. Withstanding the tests of changing global and domestic landscapes in the past 70 years, the two countries have jointly worked out a right path for major and neighboring countries to get along with each other. Particularly, in recent years, with joint efforts and guidance of President Xi and President Putin, the China-Russia relations have made solid progress. The bilateral relationship is at its best in history and has strode into a new era. The unbreakable relationship has grown stronger over time with new looks and new achievements. It also sets an example of a new model of international relations featuring mutual respect, equality, justice and win-win cooperation.
Answer: As the China-Russia relationship is in the new era, so is the military-to-military relationship. The two heads of states have signed the Joint Statement on Developing the Comprehensive Strategic Partnership of Coordination in the New Era and announced that the two sides will strengthen strategic communication, deepen military mutual trust and conduct all-round practical cooperation at different levels. It has provided a fundamental guidance to elevate the military relationship to higher levels and enriched the China-Russia comprehensive strategic partnership of coordination in the new era.
Under the strategic guidance of the heads of states, the two militaries will make efforts to bring the military relationship in the new era to a new historic height across the board. The two militaries will better support each other on issues concerning our respective core interests, improve all-round exchanges and cooperation mechanisms at different levels and deepen cooperation in areas such as high-level exchanges, strategic level cooperation, realistic training, equipment and technological development and counter-terrorism. The two militaries will continue to contribute positive energy to world peace and global strategic stability.
Question: The former US Acting Defense Secretary Patrick Shanahan withdrew from the confirmation as the Defense Secretary recently, and Secretary of the Army Mark Esper was nominated by President Donald Trump as the new Acting Defense Secretary. Do you have comments on that? Will the frequent change of the DoD leadership have implications on the China-US military relationship?
Answer: We noticed the recent leadership change of the US Department of Defense. China sets great store by the China-US military relationship. A sound and stable China-US military relationship is in line with the fundamental interests of both countries, and is also the common expectation of the international community.
We hope that during Secretary Esper’s tenure, the US side could work with China to implement important consensus reached by the heads of state, adhere to principles of non-conflict, non-confrontation, mutual respect and win-win cooperation, enhance strategic mutual trust, promote communication and cooperation, improve risk management, and build the military relationship into a stabilizer of the overall relationship.
Question: General Secretary Xi Jinping visited the DPRK on June 20th and held talks with Chairman Kim Jong-un. This is the first visit to the DPRK by a Chinese Party and state leader in the last 14 years and this is also the first visit by General Secretary Xi Jinping to North Korea since the 18th National Congress of the CPC. In this context, will there be new progress in the military relationship?
Answer: China and the DPRK are friendly neighbors. Since the establishment of diplomatic relations 70 years ago, party and state leaders of the two countries have maintained close interactions and forged profound friendship. Since 2018, President Xi Jinping and Chairman Kim Jong-un have met five times, opening a new era of bilateral relationship.
The mil-to-mil relationship is an important component of the China-DPRK relationship and has made positive contributions to the consolidation and development of bilateral relations. We are willing to take the 70th anniversary of the establishment of diplomatic relations as an opportunity to inherit the friendship between China and the DPRK and continue to write a new chapter of the times. We will resolutely implement the consensus reached by the party and state leaders, conduct friendly exchanges between the two militaries, and make positive contributions to promoting the China-DPRK relationship and maintaining regional peace and stability.
Question: According to news report from Bloomberg, some Chinese military research fellows worked with employees of the Chinese telecom company Huawei on some joint research projects. What is your comment on that?
Answer: We will not comment on general academic researches. As we all know, Huawei is a private enterprise and it is self-reliant. It has no alleged military background.
Question: Here is a question from “97Too”, one of our followers on the web. According to images captured by an Israeli satellite on Wednesday, the PLA Navy’s aviation forces have deployed J-10 fighter jets to Yongxing Island in Xisha Islands of the South China Sea. The CNN said that it’s the first time for the Chinese military to deploy J-10 fighter jets to Yongxing Island. What’s your comment on CNN’s report?
Answer: Thanks for the follower’s interest in China’s national defense. Here I want to underline that the Xisha Islands including Yongxing Island is an inherent part of China’s territory. As mandated by the Law of the People’s Republic of China on the Territorial Sea and the Contiguous Zone, the Chinese government announced the baselines of the territorial sea of Xisha Islands in 1996. There is no dispute over the sovereignty of Xisha Islands.
It is a legitimate right of sovereign countries to deploy facilities and conduct training on their own territories. The Chinese side’s actions are lawful, reasonable and fair and relevant parties should not be surprised.
Question: Media reports said that the People’s Armed Police(PAP) recently held the“Great Wall-2019”International Forum on Counter-Terrorism. Could you please give us some details?
Answer: There has been some media coverage on the "Great Wall-2019" International Forum on Counter-Terrorism organized by the PAP. Here I would like to add some more information.
The PAP successfully held the "Great Wall-2019" at the PAP Special Police Academy from June 18th to 22nd. The Great Wall Forum is a hallmark for the international military cooperation of the PAP. This year’s forum attracted over 240 delegates from the military and police force of 31 countries including China, France, Israel, Kazakhstan, Mexico and Brazil.
This year’s forum focused on the theme of special counter-terrorism sniping warfare and had five sessions on the topics of counter-terrorism sniping doctrine, skills training, talents education, sniping warfare tactics and equipment build-up.
Through a series of open and constructive observation and discussion activities, counterparts from different countries have gained good experience, and deepened mutual trust and friendship.
Question: Some media reports said that the indigenous aircraft carrier of China is starting to equip the PORT GRP(glass reinforced plastic) life raft. It shows that the commission date of the indigenous aircraft carrier is closer and it is circulated on the Internet that it will be in October this year. Can you update us about the indigenous aircraft carrier?
Answer: The second aircraft carrier of China is conducting various trials according to plan and we are making solid progress in various work. As for the commission date, I should say, it will be determined on the basis of the construction and the results of trials.
Question: Recently the Hainan branch of the PLA General Hospital has started the first 5G long-distance supersonic service in the world, which can provide 24/7medical service to officers and soldiers stationed on the island and reefs in the South China Sea. What has been achieved in the building of smart network of medical service in the process of the defense and military reform?
Answer: The Chinese military value the IT application in our medical service. With the development in information technology and medical science, smart network is becoming a priority for us. In recent years, following the principle and goal of “all for troops and all for combat”, the military medicine and health care system has consistently strengthened its capabilities and explored new methods to serve the troops. In particular, it has made great efforts to promote the model of “Internet plus Health Care” through the development of smart network
For example, the medical force of the Joint Logistics Support Force is exploring the building of virtue hospitals which can gather high-quality medical resources of the military. Adopting the method of combining the online diagnosis with offline treatment, the medical force is able to provide troops with high-quality and efficient long-distance medical service such as diagnosis, technological support, joint consultation and psychological counseling to ensure the physical and mental health of service members. The Hainan branch of the PLA General Hospital you just mentioned has started to use 5G technology together with supersonic diagnosis. They have had some pilot programs and achieved initial outcomes. In the future, we will put more investment in smart network and capitalize on better and more advanced technology to serve the soldiers and people.
Question: The National College Entrance Examination was held this month. Many candidates are very interested in military academies admission. Could you please brief us on this?
Answer: In line with President Xi Jinping’s thinking on strengthening the military, we organized this year’s military academy admission according to the arrangement of the defense and military reform. To meet the requirement of improving combat readiness and capabilities, we drafted the admission plans by balancing the demand of our troops for military talents and the need of the academies to build up their academic disciplines. We have been following the “sunshine initiative” in college entrance exams, and strictly implementing the seven transparent requirements concerning policy and regulation, admission plan, qualification, exam result, admission information, complaint channels and violation handling. We have strengthened inspection and oversight of the admission work and all the work is being carried out in an orderly and efficient manner.
At present, the admission plans for high school graduates, soldiers and NCOs have all been announced. Among them, the 27 military academies plan to admit 13, 000 high school graduates. We have cut admission number in traditional majors and increased that of majors related to new types of combat forces. Relevant military department will release admission information and interpret policies through different channels to ensure transparency and fairness. We welcome students to apply for military academies. Here, you can fight for a meaningful life and spend your youth with no regret.
Question: I have two questions. First, recently, many people in several provinces and municipalities in China saw a shining UFO in the sky. Foreign media reports said that it was a maritime test launch of JL-3 submarine-launched ballistic missile. Can you confirm that?
Second, according to US media reports on June 26, during this year’s Shangri-La Dialogue in Singapore, former US Acting Secretary of Defense Patrick Shanahan provided to the Chinese side a photo album concerning illegal ship-to-ship transfer by DPRK and hoped China can take measures to ban the illegal activities within China’ territorial seas. Can you tell us whether the DPRK has conducted any illegal activities in China’s territorial seas or not?
Answer: On your first question, it is normal for China to conduct scientific research and tests according to plan. These tests are not targeted against any country or specific entity. China follows a defense policy which is defensive in nature and an active defense military strategy, and our development of weapons and equipment is to meet the basic demand of protecting China’s national security.
On your second question, China has been vigorously implementing relevant resolutions of the UN Security Council on DPRK, and honestly fulfilling our international obligations. According to the relevant resolutions, the sanctions could be adjusted or suspended or even lifted based on the DPRK’s observation and implementation of the resolutions. The Chinese side believes that the sanction itself is not the end. The efforts of the UN Security Council should support and be in line with the current diplomatic dialogue and the denuclearization efforts on the Korean Peninsula, so as to facilitate a political solution to the Peninsula issue.
Given the current situation, we also call on the relevant parties to do more things that can help ease tensions, enhance mutual trust and promote a political solution the Peninsula issue.
Question: I have two questions. First, according to media reports from the US, when the Liaoning aircraft carrier group entered the South China Sea on June 18th, a US P-8A anti-submarine patrol aircraft took off from Singapore and followed the Liaoning aircraft carrier group. After that mission, theP-8A also circled around Taiwan. What’s your comment? Second, two Canadian military vessels transited through the Taiwan Strait recently. Do you have any comment on that?
Answer: On your first question, we were clear about the moves of the US military aircraft and maintained high alert during the process. We are strongly opposed to the US military’s provocative actions in the Taiwan Strait and the South China Sea.
On your second question, we were clear about the transit of Canadian vessels through the Taiwan Strait and monitored the vessels for the whole process.
Question: There are less than 100 days left from the 70th anniversary of the founding of the People's Republic of China. How is the preparation and training for the military parade? Will there be any new weapons and equipment to be showcased in the parade?
Answer: We will release information in due course on the military’s participation in the celebration of the 70thanniversary .
Here concludes today’s press conference. Thank you!