Regular Press Conference of the Ministry of National Defense on March 28

Ministry of National Defense
Li Jiayao
2024-04-02 23:50:55

By Senior Colonel Wu Qian, Director General of the Information Office of the Ministry of National Defense (MND) and Spokesperson for the MND

    Senior Colonel Wu Qian, spokesperson for the Ministry of National Defense (MND) of the People's Republic of China (PRC), answers recent media queries concerning the military on the afternoon of March 28, 2024. (Photo/

Senior Colonel Wu Qian: Friends from the media, good afternoon. Welcome to this month's regular press conference of the Ministry of National Defense. Today I have no information to announce on the top, the floor is now open for questions.

Question: It is reported that recently, the US Secretary of State Antony Blinken accused China of its operations in the South China Sea, and reiterated the US defense commitment to the Philippines. Meanwhile, the US side criticized actions taken by the Chinese side against the Philippine side in the South China Sea on March 23. In addition, the Philippine Defense Secretary ordered the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) to embark on the "Comprehensive Archipelagic Defense Concept (CADC)", and Philippine officials denounced the Chinese side for obstructing its resupply missions to Ren'ai Jiao multiple times. Do you have any comment?

Wu Qian: On the South China Sea issue between China and the Philippines, we have stated our serious position multiple times. We oppose foreign interference, infringement and provocation, and advocate proper management of differences. Meanwhile, we are fully prepared for any emergency, and will resolutely safeguard China's territorial sovereignty and maritime rights and interests.

There is no bigger factor than the US interference in causing turbulence in the South China Sea. For some time, in disregard of the facts, the US provoked confrontation, backed up the Philippines, threatened and exerted pressure on China citing the so-called bilateral treaty, and sent military vessels to the South China Sea to stir up troubles. These actions seriously undermine regional peace and stability. China's attitude towards this is clear: the US is in no position to interfere and the military cooperation between the US and the Philippines must not harm China's sovereignty and maritime rights and interests.

The Philippines' harassment and provocations are the immediate cause of the recent escalation of the South China Sea issue. Counting on the support of external forces, the Philippine side violated international law and the spirit of the Declaration on the Conduct of Parties in the South China Sea (DOC), frequently infringed upon China's sovereignty, made provocations and created troubles, and spread misinformation to mislead the international community. It is straying further down a dangerous path. The Chinese side will not allow the Philippines to act willfully. So we have responded with legitimate, resolute and restrained actions. The Philippine side should realize that provocations will only do themselves more harm than good, and soliciting foreign support will lead nowhere.

Despite changes and turbulence, we remain a staunch force for stability. The Chinese side has sufficient strategic resolve in addressing the South China Sea issue. We stay committed to properly managing maritime differences with relevant parties through dialogue and consultation, while firmly safeguarding China's territorial sovereignty and maritime rights and interests. We have every reason to believe that with concerted efforts of regional countries, the South China Sea issue will surely be settled. This is the inevitable trend of our times.

Question: According to reports, India's defense ministry said that China is making an "absurd" claim that Zangnan is an integral part of China's territory, and "Arunachal Pradesh" is an "inalienable part of India". The US also recognized "Arunachal Pradesh" as Indian territory and opposed advancing territorial claims across the Line of Actual Control (LAC) by military or civilian means. What's your comment?

Wu Qian: Zangnan has been China's territory since ancient times. This is an undeniable fact. Where does this "Arunachal Pradesh" come from?

The US has a terrible record of stoking disputes between other countries for selfish gains. The international community sees it clearly. There are mature mechanisms and communication channels between China and India on border issues. The two sides have the ability and willingness to properly handle the boundary question through dialogue and consultations.

Question: I have three questions. First, it's reported that the Logistic Support Department of the CMC recently signed a strategic cooperative education agreement with the Central University of Finance and Economics, and set up a "Training Center for Talent in Finance and Economics of the CMC Logistic Support Department" at the campus. Please introduce more details. Second, it is reported that the US and Japan are going to announce in April the biggest restructuring plan of the US forces in Japan in 60 years. US President Joe Biden and Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida will unveil the plan during their meeting in the White House to restructure the US military command in Japan to strengthen combat planning and joint exercises between the two countries in response to the so-called "threat" from China. What's your comment? Third, it's reported that heads of state of the US, Japan and the Philippines will hold their first trilateral summit in Washington on April 11. It is expected that the meeting will cover security issues in the Asia Pacific, including the South China Sea issue. Some analysts pointed out that by doing so, the US attempts to set up an alliance to contain China. What's your comment?

Wu Qian: On your first question. Recently, the CMC Logistic Support Department signed a framework agreement for joint education programs with the Central University of Finance and Economics, a leading university in China, setting up a "Training Center for Talent in Finance and Economics" and establishing a regular cooperation mechanism for talent cultivation. This is an important step to thoroughly implement the guiding principles of the CMC conference on military-talent-related work and promote openness and integration in talent cultivation. It aims at making full use of quality resources of civilian universities and expediting the transformation and upgrading of competency of military talents, so as to provide strong expertise support for reforms in military finance and economics and the building of a professional corps.

Based on the principle of "equality, mutual benefit, complementarity of advantages, and win-win cooperation", the military and civilian sectors carried out cooperation in seven aspects, namely specialized training, talent cultivation, further education, academic research, think-tank consultation, defense education and party-building activities. Going forward, the CMC Logistic Support Department will sign cooperative framework agreements with Shanghai University of Finance and Economics, Southwestern University of Finance and Economics, Zhongnan University of Economics and Law and Dongbei University of Finance and Economics. With concerted efforts, the "Training Center for Talent in Finance and Economics" is expected to be built into a high-end platform for cultivating backbone service members in finance and economics, a green lane for college students to join the military, and a flagship program of civil-military cooperation in the new era.

On your second question. The US-Japan alliance is a product of the Cold War and a bilateral arrangement. It should not go beyond its bilateral scope, still less target or undermine the interests of any third party. We firmly oppose relevant countries using the non-existent "China threat" as an excuse to piece together targeted cliques. Playing the "China Card" is no cure for the ills of these countries.

On your third question. The Chinese side believes that cooperation between states should not target any particular country or undermine regional peace and stability. China's activities in the South China Sea fully comply with domestic and international law and are beyond reproach. In contrast, the US induced allies and partners to form exclusive cliques targeting China. This is out-and-out hegemony, domineering and bullying.

China's territorial sovereignty and maritime rights and interests brook no infringement. In the face of provocations pressure by certain countries, the Chinese side has unwavering resolve and growing ability to protect our legitimate rights.

Question: I have two questions. First, the situation in waters between Xiamen and Kinmen remains tense since February 14th. Taiwan's troops plan to conduct live-fire exercises in areas including Kinmen Island in April, and the surrounding waters will be restricted during the training. They claimed that it's a routine training exercise with no specific target. Will the Ministry of National Defense take any measure in response? The second question is that Taiwan's military authorities said that last Thursday, 36 sorties of PLA aircraft entered the airspace around Taiwan, the largest single-day number this year. The frequency and intensity of joint maritime and air readiness patrols conducted by the Chinese mainland are increasing compared with the same period in the past. Commander of the US Indo-Pacific Command also said recently that the PLA would be ready to invade Taiwan by 2027. What's your comment?

Wu Qian: On your first question, the PLA is well aware of any movement of the Taiwan troops. All the provocations by the DPP authorities are doomed to failure.

Regarding your second question, relevant exercises and training are routine arrangements according to our annual plan. They aim at enhancing the PLA's ability to safeguard our sovereignty and territorial integrity. Relevant parties do not need to make a fuss about it. The PLA will continue to carry out similar exercises and training according to our plan.

We are firmly opposed to the irresponsible remarks made by some US military personnel. Taiwan is China's Taiwan, and resolving the Taiwan question is a matter for the Chinese people. It brooks no foreign interference. We are willing to strive for the prospect of peaceful reunification with the greatest sincerity and utmost efforts, but we will never allow Taiwan to be separated from the motherland.

The PLA is ready for operations at all times. We will stay in a combat-ready posture, thwart any foreign interference and smash any separatist attempts for "Taiwan independence".

Question: The General Office of the Central Military Commission (CMC) recently issued a notice, requiring the People's Liberation Army (PLA) and the People's Armed Police Force (PAP) to thoroughly study the guiding principles of the second session of the 14th National People's Congress (NPC) and President Xi Jinping's important speech at the plenary meeting of the delegation of the PLA and PAP. What arrangements has the military made in this regard?

Wu Qian: The second session of the 14th NPC is an important meeting convened in the year marking the 75th anniversary of the founding of the People's Republic of China and representing a vital benchmark to carry out goals set by the 14th Five-year Plan. On the afternoon of March 7th, President Xi attended the plenary meeting of the delegation of the PLA and the PAP at the second session of the 14th NPC, and delivered an important speech. To build a great country and advance national rejuvenation on all fronts through a Chinese path to modernization, President Xi laid out comprehensive arrangements for enhancing strategic capabilities in emerging fields. He explicitly emphasized the need to strengthen the sense of mission and responsibility, deepen reform and innovation, and comprehensively enhance strategic capabilities in emerging fields, providing fundamental guidance for advancing the cause of building a strong military in the new era.

Recently, the General Office of the Central Military Commission issued a notice emphasizing that studying the guiding principles laid out at the second session of the 14th NPC, particularly the guiding principles of President Xi's important speech, will be included into the theoretical study program of the Party committees' study groups of military units at and above the regiment level, the political education of the troops, and the teaching of political theories at military academies, so as to align our thoughts and actions with the decisions and plans made by the CPC Central Committee and President Xi. First, we will strengthen political guidance, consistently forge cohesion and temper the spirit of the troops with Xi Jinping Thought on Socialism with Chinese Characteristics for a New Era, thoroughly study and implement Xi Jinping Thought on Strengthening the Military, consolidate and upgrade the learning outcomes of thematic education, and deepen implementation activities contributing to the cause of building a strong military. We will fully implement the CMC chairman responsibility system, make solid progress in promoting political education, and carry forward the fine traditions of the people's military of being absolutely pure and committed to glorious missions in order to shore up all service members' faith of unswervingly following the instructions and guidance of the Communist Party of China. Second, we will step up efforts in military training and enhance combat readiness, and promote military development according to the needs on the battlefield and by improving combat readiness. We will focus on realistic training, making efforts both in strengthening traditional combat capabilities and innovating new quality combat capabilities, so as to improve our strategic capabilities in safeguarding national sovereignty, security and development interests. Third, we will accelerate the implementation of military development in the 14th Five-year Plan, improve military governance, tighten our belts, lay a solid foundation in the development of primary-level military units and achieve high-quality development of the military. Fourth, we will work hard and take solid steps to strive for the accomplishment of the military's centenary goal and break new ground on the new journey of building a strong military in the new era.

Question: Recently, satellite imagery shared on social media platform shows a bombing range in Inner Mongolia has a similar layout to Taipei Bo'ai Special District. In addition, a building in the Gaolishan Tactical Training Center in Jiangsu Province looks similar to a taekwondo gym in Taoyuan City, Taiwan. Many people think these are very targeted measures. What's your comment?

Wu Qian: Only people with malicious motives will feel like they are targeted. There is no need to be anxious if one has no attempt to seek "Taiwan independence".

Question: According to reports, Swedish Stockholm International Peace Research Institute (SIPRI) released the Trends in International Arms Transfers 2023. The report stated that China's arms imports fell by 44% in 2019-2023 compared with the previous five-year period. This was due to the growing capability of China to independently design and produce its own major weapons. China delivered arms to 40 countries, and the volume accounted for 5.8% of the total global arms exports. It is the fourth biggest arms exporter in the world. What's your comment, please?

Wu Qian: China upholds the principles of independence, self-reliance, and self-innovation in developing its weapons and equipment, and mainly relies on our own capability to conduct research, development, and production. Meanwhile, the Chinese government has all along adopted a prudent and responsible attitude towards export of military products, rigorously managed the relevant exports in accordance with China's international obligations and domestic laws and regulations and strictly followed the three principles for arms exports: the exports should be conducive to the legitimate self-defense capability of the recipient country; they should not undermine peace, security and stability of the region concerned and the world as a whole; and they should not be used to interfere in the internal affairs of the recipient country.

Question: The cross-Strait military situation continues to be tense. Taiwan's "defense minister" Chiu Kuo-cheng told the legislative Yuan on March 7th that after the then US House Speaker Nancy Pelosi visited Taiwan, he explicitly revised his rights and responsibilities and redefined "first strike": as long as the mainland's military aircraft crossed the boundary, Taiwan's troops would regard it as a "first strike" and take countermeasures. What's your comment? Will there be any adjustment of the PLA's exercises and training targeting Taiwan to avoid sparking a conflict accidentally?

Wu Qian: Taiwan is part of China's territory. How is it possible for Taiwan to have its own "defense minister"? We warn the DPP authorities not to take reckless actions, otherwise it will court destruction.

Question: It's reported that not long ago, China Coast Guard ships entered, for the first time, what Taiwan calls "prohibited", "restricted" waters around the Kinmen Islands to conduct law enforcement activities. Is this a countermeasure against the February 14th egregious incident of boat collision?

Wu Qian: Taiwan is China's Taiwan. There is no such a thing as the so-called "prohibited, restricted waters" between Xiamen and Kinmen. The regular law enforcement and patrol operations carried out by the China Coast Guard help to maintain order in relevant waters and protect lives and property of mainland and Taiwan fishermen. When handling the February 14th egregious incident of boat collision, the DPP authorities showed no respect for human life and no intention to take responsibilities. This has triggered outrage among compatriots on both sides of the Taiwan Strait, and the DPP authorities must offer a proper and clear explanation to the public. The PLA is closely following the situation at sea, and will be well prepared to respond to emergencies and resolutely safeguard cross-Strait peace and stability.

Question: It is reported that China and NATO held the 8th Security Policy Talk not long ago. Could you please give us more details?

Wu Qian: In mid-March, the Office for International Military Cooperation of the Central Military Commission (CMC) and Cooperative Security Division of NATO International Military Staff exchanged views on issues of mutual interest including international and regional situations and bilateral defense exchanges. The Chinese side expressed its concerns and clarified its positions on questions including the NATO's attempt to make eastward inroads into the Asia-Pacific and the Taiwan question. In addition, the Chinese side also held Security and Defense Consultation with the EU and Cooperation Talks with Germany.

Question: China, Iran and Russia held the Security Belt-2024 joint exercise in the Gulf of Oman in mid-March. Please brief us on more details.

Wu Qian: For this exercise, let's see some photos on the screen.

The naval vessels of participating countries are maneuvering towards designated waters for the exercise. (Photo by Wang Yuanfang)

PLANS Linyi is maneuvering towards designated waters for the exercise. (Photo by Wang Yuanfang)

According to the annual plan and consensus reached among the parties, China, Iran and Russia organized the Security Belt-2024 joint exercise near the Gulf of Oman from March 11th to 15th. There are three features to highlight about this exercise. First, diverse participating forces. China, Iran and Russia navies all together dispatched 18 vessels of various types, including guided missile destroyers, guided missile frigates, a guided missile cruiser and a large anti-submarine ship, and 8 aircraft of different types including shipboard helicopters. Second, focused content. Under the theme of Working Together to Create Security and Peace, the joint exercise centered around counter-piracy and search and rescue, and covered over 10 subjects including firing at sea and armed rescue of hijacked merchant vessels. Third, close coordination. Throughout the exercise, the forces conducted joint training in mixed groups and carried out joint operations. It was also the first time for China and Russia to be the officer conducting the serial (OCS) of complicated subjects, further exploring and improving the coordination mechanism among the three parties. This exercise is not targeted at any country and has nothing to do with the regional situation.

We need to join our hands for security. Until now, China, Iran and Russia have carried out joint maritime exercises multiple times, which bears significance for strengthening naval cooperation and exchanges among the three countries and jointly maintaining maritime security in the region. China stands ready to work with different parties to conduct cooperation and exchanges on maritime security, and make greater and new contributions to regional peace and stability.

Question: A US congressional delegation is currently visiting Taiwan, and they met with Taiwan "president" Tsai Ing-wen today. The US Congress recently approved more military aid for Taiwan, and Tsai thanked the visiting delegation for the support for Taiwan's self-defense. The congressmen pledged continued support for Taiwan. Do you have any comment on that?

Wu Qian: I'd like to first correct a mistake in your question. It should be "leader of the Taiwan region", not "president", because Taiwan is part of China. It is known to all that Taiwan is an inalienable part of China. The Chinese side firmly opposes the US official interaction and military contact with China's Taiwan region in any form. We are firmly opposed to the US arms sales to China's Taiwan region. We strongly urge the US side to abide by the one-China principle, refrain from undermining China's sovereignty and security interests and interfering in China's internal affairs.

Question: The US government reportedly submitted to the Congress the President's Budget for Fiscal Year 2025, with its defense budget request soaring to $895.2 billion, and its budget for deterrence against China rising by 8 percent. Do you have any comment?

Wu Qian: In recent years, the US has been continuously and dramatically increasing its military budget, outspending the combined military expenditure of the nine countries trailing it. Its defense budget for FY 2025 takes up as high as 12% of the total financial spending of the US government, far exceeding that of other countries. The international community is highly concerned on this.

It needs to be pointed out that the US side once and again used China as an excuse by cooking up and playing up the non-existent "China military threat" in an attempt to get more military budget. Such a move of creating an enemy out of thin air is strategically very dangerous. The Chinese side stands firmly against it.

As a Chinese saying goes, the mountain can not stop the running of the river. We do not want to threaten anyone, nor will we be intimidated by any threat. No one and no force can stop the development of the Chinese military.

Question: This year's Report on the Work of the Government emphasized that "we will be firm in advancing the cause of China's reunification", and omitted the term "peaceful reunification" when talking about the Taiwan question. Some analysts said that the terms for the Taiwan question in the report are more concise than before, but this does not mean that the mainland will scale down operations targeting Taiwan. Instead, this implies that going forward, more will surely be done than said by the Chinese mainland. What's your comment?

Wu Qian: Peaceful reunification and One Country, Two Systems are our basic principles for resolving the Taiwan question and the best approach to realizing national reunification. We are willing to strive for the prospect of peaceful reunification with greatest sincerity and utmost efforts, but we will never allow Taiwan to be separated from the motherland. I want to emphasize that the 1992 consensus which embodies the one-China principle is what underpins peace and stability across the Taiwan Strait. Achieving the complete reunification of China is the right thing to do. It represents the prevailing trend of the world and has the overwhelming support of the international community.

The PLA always speaks with actions and remains resolute and professional in fighting against "Taiwan Independence" forces and pursuing reunification. We warn the DPP authorities that the more rampant "Taiwan Independence" separatist activities, the smaller possibilities of peaceful reunification. The PLA will continue to strengthen military training and enhance combat readiness, and safeguard national sovereignty and territorial integrity with rock-solid resolve and strong capability.

Question: I have two questions. First. The spokesperson said this January that the Chinese and US militaries were in communication and coordination on the Military Maritime Consultative Agreement (MMCA) meeting. How is it going so far? What other activities will the two militaries hold this year? Second, on March 27, the US and Philippine defense secretaries had a phone call and the US Defense Secretary Austin said that the US-Philippine Mutual Defense Treaty extends to the South China Sea and the Philippine coast guard's aircraft and vessels. They also agreed to strengthen bilateral and multilateral cooperation in the future. Just now, when answering a question regarding the South China Sea issue, you mentioned that soliciting external support leads nowhere. So I'd like to ask your opinions on the joint operations between the US and the Philippine militaries on this issue.

Wu Qian: On your first question. To implement the important consensus reached by the two heads of state in San Francisco, this year, the Chinese and US militaries have made concerted efforts to steadily resume dialogues and consultations on the basis of equality and respect. The 17th China-US Defense Policy Coordination Talks was held in Washington D.C. from January 8th to 9th, during which the two sides had an in-depth exchange of views on the development of military-to-military relations and on questions of mutual concern including those related to Taiwan, the South China Sea, and maritime and air security. From January 5th to 19th, the Chinese side assisted the US side in visiting Guangxi and Hunan to conduct site surveys in search of the remains of missing US military personnel in China during WWII. The preparations for the China-US Military Maritime Consultative Agreement meeting are well underway. We will release relevant information in due course. The two sides are also in coordination on communication and exchanges in other areas.

This year marks the 45th anniversary of diplomatic relations between China and the US. We hope the US side will earnestly respect China's core interests and work with the Chinese side towards the same direction to deliver on the important consensus between the two heads of state, so as to jointly promote the sound, stable and sustainable development of military-to-military relations.

On your second question, just now I have elaborated on China's policies on the South China Sea issue. As for how the Chinese side perceives the US-Philippine joint operations in the South China Sea, I'd like to summarize our opinions into two "should nots". First, they should not undermine China's sovereignty, security, and maritime rights and interests. Second, they should not disrupt peace and stability in the South China Sea.

Question: According to reports, the Chinese military recently held the 7th Asia Meeting of the International Military Sports Council (CISM) in Nanchang, Jiangxi. Could you please share more details with us?

Wu Qian: The PLA hosted the 7th Asia Meeting of the International Military Sports Council (CISM) in Nanchang, Jiangxi, from March 25th to 28th. More than 40 delegates, including military representatives from 17 Asian member states and officials of CISM, attended the conference, setting new records in terms of the numbers of participating countries and delegates. During the meeting, participating countries had thorough and in-depth exchanges and discussions in a friendly and candid manner. Extensive consensuses were reached on implementing the strategic development plan of CISM, strengthening exchanges and cooperation on military sports, and improving relevant policies, systems and mechanisms. Cambodia was approved as a new member state. The conference yielded fruitful outcomes. Meanwhile, military representatives of participating countries spoke highly of the dedication and concrete actions by the PLA in promoting the CISM principle of "Friendship Through Sport", advancing international military cooperation, and enhancing regional peace and stability through sports exchanges.

Question: I have two questions. First, recently, the UK and Australia signed a new bilateral defense agreement. Under this document, the UK will send an aircraft carrier combat group to patrol in the Indo-Pacific next year, which will dock at a Australian base, and soldiers of Australia will be trained on the aircraft carrier. Just now you mentioned several times that soliciting foreign support cannot last. Some analysts said that the reason for the UK and Australia to reach this new agreement is that the US is not so active in terms of the trilateral security cooperation mechanism, AUKUS. And if Donald Trump is elected, the US might withdraw from the trilateral partnership. What's your comment on this? Second, other colleagues have asked many serious questions, and I'd like to ask a lighter one that is about sleep. The head of Taiwan's troops said that the situation in the Taiwan Strait is so tense that he cannot sleep well. How does the Ministry of National Defense view the current cross-Strait situation? I wonder if it makes you toss and turn at night?  The PLA needs to handle many things, and the Taiwan question is just one of them. Is the situation in the Taiwan Strait "so tense that people couldn't fall asleep"?

Wu Qian: On your first question. Regarding the AUKUS, the Chinese side has already expressed our position of strong opposition to that multiple times. By setting up the so-called AUKUS, the US, the UK and Australia are in nature inciting military confrontation through military cooperation. It increased the risk of nuclear proliferation, exacerbated arms race in the Asia-Pacific and undermined peace and stability in the region. Such partnership is a highly targeted and harmful product of the Cold War mentality. It challenges rules and finds no support.

On your second question, I'd like to answer it from two perspectives. From the specific perspective, as I said before, the PLA stays in a combat-ready posture to fight against "Taiwan independence" separatist forces and pursue national reunification. From the general perspective, the PLA has sufficient strategic resolve. Despite external changes and turbulence, we will be a staunch force for stability, and deal with everything with ease.

Question: Recently, a Chinese think tank issued an Incomplete Report on US Military Activities in the South China Sea in 2023. According to the report, the activities of the US military including submarine deployments, and exercises and training have demonstrated new patterns. The US has been stirring up troubles on the South China Sea issue and blatantly instigating frictions between China and the Philippines related to the Ren'ai Jiao and Huangyan Dao. What's your comment on this?

Wu Qian: The root cause of air and maritime military security issues between China and the US is that the US warships and aircraft have conducted long-term, large-scale and frequent close-in reconnaissance activities in the waters and airspace around China. The fundamental way to prevent air and maritime accidents is for the US side to stop all dangerous provocations. The PLA is well aware of, closely monitors and properly handles the US moves. We will remain on high alert, resolutely safeguard national sovereignty, security and development interests, and firmly preserve regional peace, stability and prosperity.

Question: According to reports, the Japanese Defense Ministry set up new ground-to-ship missile batteries in the Okinawa prefecture on March 21st. This is the first time for the Defense Ministry to establish such a missile unit on the main island of Okinawa. The ministry is also considering deploying "long-range missiles with enemy base attack capability". Some analysts believe that this move mainly targets the Chinese navy, as it conducts regular activities in the West Pacific in recent years. What's your comment?

Wu Qian: Japan has been playing up tensions in the region, seeking military breakthroughs and undermining regional security and international order. This dangerous tendency is worth high vigilance of the international community. We ask the Japanese side to earnestly reflect on its history of aggression, respect the security concerns of its Asian neighbors and be prudent with its words and deeds in the military and security domains.

Question: According to reports, the Center for Strategic and International Studies (CSIS) in Washington recently published a research report, saying that if the US steps into the conflict across the Taiwan Strait, it will expend all of its key munitions within a week. The shortage of ammunition will decrease the US deterrence and increase the possibility of further conflicts in the Taiwan Strait. What is your comment on this?

Wu Qian: There are always many different reports published by US think tanks from different perspectives. But my answer to all of them is the same, that is, the Taiwan question is China's internal affair, which brooks no external interference.

Question: According to reports, the UK and Australian defense ministers announced an agreement between the two countries, under which Australia is set to provide 4.6 billion Australian dollars (USD 3 billion) to the UK in the next decade to support the construction of nuclear-powered submarines. Some American officials said that Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida is expected to discuss with US President Joe Biden at their April summit on how Tokyo can technologically collaborate with the AUKUS. What's your response?

Wu Qian: As to the question related to AUKUS, I have already elaborated on China's principled positions. I'd like to emphasize that any attempt to expand and upgrade the military cooperation under AUKUS is a dangerous step towards peril, and will only cause greater concerns among regional countries and the international community. We urge the three countries to abandon their Cold War mentality, faithfully fulfill their international obligations and stop creating bigger troubles for regional peace and stability. We hope the Japanese side will earnestly draw lessons from history, keep to the path of peaceful development, and be prudent with its words and deeds in the military and security domains.

Question: On March 23, a PLA Guard of Honor contingent participated in Pakistan Day Military Parade in Islamabad. This contingent received a big round of applause from the spectators. Do you like to comment on that?

Wu Qian: China and Pakistan are all-weather strategic cooperative partners, true friends and good brothers through thick and thin and sharing weal and woe. Chinese people often call Pakistan fondly as our "iron-clad brother". Under the strategic guidance of leaders of our two countries, our two militaries have maintained frequent and close high-level exchanges, and achieved positive outcomes in areas including joint exercises and training, specialized exchanges, personnel training, and equipment and technological cooperation. The Chinese military is willing to work with the Pakistani side to continuously enhance our capabilities of tackling various security risks and challenges, especially the ability to fight terrorism, and jointly safeguard regional peace and stability.

Question: President Ferdinand Marcos Jr. said on Facebook today that the Philippines will implement countermeasures proportionate and reasonable against illegal, coercive, aggressive and dangerous attacks by China's Coast Guard and maritime militia in the South China Sea. He said and I quote, "We seek no conflict with any nation, more so nations that purport and claim to be our friends but we will not be cowed into silence, submission, or subservience." What is your comment on this?

Wu Qian: China has indisputable sovereignty over Nansha Qundao and its adjacent waters, including Ren'ai Jiao, which is fully backed by historical and jurisprudential basis. However, the Philippines has broken its promises, made provocations, and fabricated lies to mislead the public. The Chinese side strongly opposes this. We demand the Philippine side to cease all acts of infringement and provocation. The Chinese side will, as always, take resolute and decisive countermeasures to firmly defend our territorial sovereignty and maritime rights and interests.

Wu Qian: Before we conclude the press conference, I'd like to introduce some special friends to you. They are representatives from the Peking University. It's a great pleasure to have you with us today. The Peking University is the first place to spread and study Marxism in China. It carries the revolutionary traditions of patriotism and commitment to our Party. Generations of teachers and students in the Peking University, including Deng Jiaxian and Yu Min, made pioneering contributions to China's cause of national defense. In this era of challenges and opportunities and in a world of changes and turbulence, building consolidated national defense and strong armed forces cannot be separated from the dedication and commitment of the youth including students of the Peking University. We pursue education not only for our personal glory and dreams, but also for fulfilling our missions and responsibilities for the country and the people. I hope you students will carry forward the May Fourth Movement spirit featuring patriotism, progress, democracy and science, stay united and rejuvenate the nation, and contribute your part as the youth to invigorate China.

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