By Senior Colonel Wu Qian, Director General of the Information Office of the Ministry of National Defense (MND) and Spokesperson for the MND
(The following English text of the press conference is for reference. In case of any divergence of interpretation, the Chinese text shall prevail.)
I have a piece of news at the top.
On the afternoon of January 25, the Chinese and Malaysian armed forces held a video conference on military medicine. Representatives from the health departments of the two militaries and experts from the fields of pandemic prevention and control, intensive care medicine, and vaccine R&D attended the conference.
The two sides both introduced their own involvement in pandemic prevention and control, and set up a cooperation framework for strengthening exchanges in military medicine. They had in-depth exchanges on pandemic monitoring and emergency response, prevention and control models and typical cases, treatment of critically ill COVID-19 patients, zoning and hierarchical management, vaccine R&D and application, etc.
Both sides regarded the above-motioned exchanges as positive and beneficial, and were willing to keep close communication, strengthen exchanges and cooperation in health services between the two militaries, and make joint efforts to serve and build a community of common health for mankind.
Question: Earlier this year, President Xi Jinping signed the CMC Order No.1 of 2022 to launch the annual military training. What specific measures have the armed forces taken to implement President Xi’s order and what can we expect from this year’s military training?
Answer: President Xi Jinping signed on January 4 the CMC annual training order, demanding all levels of the armed forces to advance the transformation and upgrading of military training in an all-round way to temper strong and capable troops good at fighting. This is the fifth consecutive year that President Xi has issued the annual training order, which sets up a clear direction for the armed forces to prioritize military training and combat readiness. Following the order, troop units of the Chinese military have started extensive realistic training activities, including combat commanding research and exercise, force-on-force exercises, theoretical workshops, military skill contests, and readiness drills.
Only through vigorous and intensive training can crack troops be made. This year marks the 95th anniversary of the People’s Liberation Army. The military will continue to implement the spirit of the CMC military training conference, step up its efforts to tackle tasks set in the 14th Five-year Plan for military training and comprehensively advance the transformation and upgrading of military training.
First, the military will continue to make great efforts to promote deep integration of military training and real combat, highlight the evaluation of training effects in accordance with plans, intensify training in frontline operations against hostile activities and in extreme and harsh conditions, maintain all-time combat readiness and preparedness, and accelerate the integration of training and real combat.
Second, the military will strengthen systematic training, make innovations of group training methods for typical combat operations, intensify training of emergency response in joint operations command and comprehensively enhance the capability for joint operations and all-domain operations based on the network information system.
Third, the military will promote technology application in military training, accelerate the transformation of advance technologies to combat capabilities, enhance the integration and innovation of theories and technologies, promote simulation training and online training, raise service members’ scientific and technological literacy, and innovate asymmetrical ways of winning battles.
Chinese service members will keep training rigorously, scientifically and safely, boost combat capabilities and temper fighting spirit through military training, and greet the convening of the 20th CPC National Congress with higher morale and superb training effects.
Question: The Joint Statement on Preventing Nuclear War and Avoiding Arms Races issued by the leaders of the five nuclear-weapon states – China, Russia, the US, the UK and France – captured close attention in the international community. Some US media recently hyped up the so-called nuclear threats from China, claiming that China is proactively expanding its arsenal as its strategic competition with the US intensifies. What's your comment, please?
Answer: The Joint Statement on Preventing Nuclear War and Avoiding Arms Races issued by the leaders of the five nuclear-weapon states affirmed that “a nuclear war cannot be won and must never be fought” and “none of our nuclear weapons are targeted at each other or at any other State”. They pledged to preserve and comply with their bilateral and multilateral arms control agreements, avoid military confrontations, and prevent arms race that would benefit none and endanger all. The first joint statement by the five leaders on the issue of nuclear weapons reflected the five countries’ political will to prevent nuclear war and aired a unified voice of preserving global strategic stability and reducing the risk of nuclear conflicts. The statement was positive for forging generally stable and balanced relations among major countries.
China is an active participant, contributor and defender of the international arms control system. To date, China has joined more than 20 international arms control treaties and mechanisms and has earnestly fulfilled all its obligations thereunder. China takes an active part in arms control and disarmament, contributing Chinese wisdom and plan for the settlement of major issues and the formulation of important rules. Upholding a nuclear strategy of self-defense, China follows the principle of no first use of nuclear weapons at any time and under any circumstances. We have pledged not to use or threaten to use nuclear weapons against non-nuclear-weapon states or nuclear-weapon-free zones unconditionally. China keeps its nuclear forces at the minimum level required by national security needs. We never competes with other countries in the input, quantity or scale of nuclear weapons. China has become an important pillar in promoting world peace and development.
Hyping up the so-called nuclear threats from China is an obvious attempt by the US to manipulate the narrative and confuse the public. In recent years, the US, to maintain absolute security and military superiority for itself, has torn apart and withdrawn from one arms control treaty after another, such as the Anti-Ballistic Missile (ABM) Treaty and the Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces Treaty (INF Treaty), taking a serious toll on the international arms control system. Already in possession of the largest nuclear arsenal in the world, the US is still spending an astronomical amount of money on pushing nuclear modernization and developing low-yield nuclear weapons. Its moves have lowered the threshold of using nuclear weapons, stirred up a global nuclear arms race and exposed international security to serious challenges. The nuclear submarine cooperation between the US, the UK and Australia and the underwater collision of a US Navy nuclear submarine have aggravated the risk of regional nuclear proliferation and gravely threatened world peace and stability. Facts have shown over and again that the US is the biggest source of risks to international security. We urge the US side to stop the groundless hyping, view China’s defense and military development in an objective and rational light, and work with the Chinese side to jointly preserve global strategic stability.
Question: The US and Japanese foreign and defense ministers recently held a “2+2” meeting via video link and issued a joint statement afterwards, in which they maliciously hyped up the so-called China threats, claiming that “the ongoing efforts by China to undermine the rules-based order present political, economic, military, and technological challenges to the region and the world”. The US and Japan also played up topics concerning the Taiwan Strait and were, as some experts reckoned, trying to put their Taiwan policy into action. Please comment on that.
Answer: The US and Japan grossly interfered in China’s internal affairs and fabricated false information to viciously smear China. The Chinese side is strongly dissatisfied with and firmly opposed to that, and has lodged solemn representations with the relevant countries.
Speaking of the rules-based international order, there is only one set of rules – the basic norms governing international relations underpinned by the purposes and principles of the UN Charter, not the so-called rules centered on the interests of a small “clique”. There is only one international order – the international order based on international law, not the self-centered order advocated by a handful of countries. Neither the US nor Japan is in a position to point fingers at China on the issue of rules and order.
As to the so-called China threats, that’s a lie repeated a thousand times and should have long been cast into the dustbin of history. While repeating this lie, the US and Japan are continuously stepping up their military deployments in the East China Sea and South China Sea and conducting highly targeted military provocations. The Cold-war mentality of confrontation mirrored by such moves requires high alert of the international community.
It must be reiterated that Taiwan is an inalienable part of China. The Taiwan question is purely China’s internal affair and allows no foreign interference. The root cause for the current tension in the Taiwan Strait is the constant provocations for “Taiwan independence” made by the Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) authorities, and the “Taiwan independence” separatists in collusion with foreign forces. By hyping up the so-called China threat and the topics about the Taiwan Strait, the US and Japan are fanning the DPP’s flame of seeking independence and giving the “Taiwan independence” separatists a wrong signal. That is the biggest threat to peace and stability across the Taiwan Strait.
Washington and Tokyo’s attempt to meddle in the Taiwan question is a dangerous move. The more they get involved in this question, the more they will get hurt in the end. The Chinese military has rock-solid resolve and stronger capabilities and means to safeguard China’s national sovereignty and territorial integrity. We mean what we say and deliver what we promise.
Question: The special program Moments of Reform was recently aired on CCTV-7, which focuses on the reform of military policies and institutions and presents the new changes, new spirit and new outlook of the reformed people’s military. Please tell us more about the reform.
Answer: The reform of military policies and institutions has been advanced under the centralized and unified leadership of the CPC Central Committee and the CMC and under the coordination and guidance of the CMC Leading Group on Deepening the National Defense and Military Reform. In this process, related CMC functional organs have conducted thorough research and worked together to roll out a series of policies and regulations, providing a strong legal guarantee for defense and military modernization.
So far, the Regulation on the Party-Building of the Armed Forces has been promulgated and put into force, the regulations on political work, the work of the discipline inspection committee, and politics and law work in the military have been formulated. These regulations, coupled with auxiliary institutions, have made the military’s Party building institutions more systematic and well-rounded. The National Defense Law, Military Service Law, Law on the Protection of Military Installations, and Law on the People’s Armed Police Force have been revised and carried into effect, and the Law on the Protection of the Status, Rights and Interests of Servicepersons and the Coast Guard Law formulated and enacted, providing more solid legal support for military activities.
Targeting combat readiness and winning future wars, policies and regulations in such areas as joint operations, combat readiness, military training, logistics and equipment, military scientific research, and national defense mobilization have also been strengthened and improved, facilitating robustly the generation and release of the troops’ combat capabilities.
A package of policy systems has been carried out on the administration of military officers in active service, a system of military merits, honors and commendations has been established over time, and innovative measures addressing servicepersons’ immediate concerns, such as preferential treatment for children’s education, medical and recuperation treatment, and employment for military spouses, have been enacted. These efforts have further enhanced servicepersons’ sense of honor and fulfillment.
Question: After the 14th Round of the China-India Corps Commander Level Meeting, Some Indian media commented that the meeting was constructive despite the lack of substantive progress. According to US media, the White House spokesperson said that the US was closely monitoring the situation at the China-India border and concerned about China’s attempt to coerce India and other neighbors. Please comment on that.
Answer: The 14th round of the China-India Corps Commander Level Meeting was held in a candid and friendly mood on January 12. The joint press release after the meeting enumerated the agreements in four points reached by the two sides. First, the two sides agreed that they should follow the guidance of the leaders of the two countries and work for the resolution of the remaining issues at the earliest. Second, the two sides agreed to consolidate the previous outcomes and take effective efforts to maintain the security and stability on the ground in the Western Sector including in winter. Third, they agreed to stay in communication via military and diplomatic channels and work out a mutually acceptable resolution through dialogue and consultation at the earliest. Fourth, they agreed that the next round of the Corps Commander Level Meeting should be held at the earliest. The Chinese side believed that this round of talk was positive and constructive.
The China-India boundary question is a matter between the two countries, and both sides oppose the interference from a third party. While some people in the US are so fond of using the word “coerce”, they seem to have forgotten that the US is the inventor and master player of “coercive diplomacy”. China neither “coerces” others nor is “coerced”, and strongly opposes the US forcing “coercive diplomacy” on other countries. This is China’s clear-cut position. The Chinese side will work closely with the Indian side to properly handle the boundary question through negotiation and consultation.
Question: It is reported that the US Navy has recently made a high profile announcement that one of its strategic nuclear submarines berthed at Guam and several aircraft carrier strike groups conducted exercises around China. There are signs that the US may rally with its allies and continue to carry out military exercises and training around China before, during or even after the Beijing 2022 Olympic Winter Games. US media also reported that a senior US naval officer recently admitted for the first time that the close-in reconnaissance on Chinese aircraft carrier Liaoning by the guided-missile destroyer USS Mustin last April was a deliberate tactical move. Please comment on that.
Answer: The Beijing 2022 Olympic Winter Games is a grand sports gala of the international community. China is fully prepared to welcome friends from around the world and will play a good host by making concerted efforts with all parties to ensure a streamlined, safe and splendid winter Olympics. Yet it must be noted that the Chinese military is also fully prepared for any external provocation and contingency.
The US side’s admission of the intentional close-in reconnaissance by USS Mustin came as no surprise to the Chinese side – that’s just the fact all along. In April last year, the Chinese side, in addition to on-site response to the incident, refuted the US version of the story and lodged solemn representations with the US side. Yet what was shocking was that the US side took pride in their military provocation, instead of feeling ashamed of it. It is high time now that the US had its hegemony syndrome and cognitive disorder treated.
Question: It's reported that China recently held defense strategic dialogues with the UK and France respectively via video links and made in-depth exchanges on bilateral military relations and issues of mutual interests with the two countries. Please further elaborate on the outcomes of China-UK and China-France defense strategic dialogues, and what are China's expectations for China-EU defense and security relationship?
Answer: The Chinese military held online defense strategic dialogues with the UK and France on January 12 and 13 respectively. The dialogues are important institutionalized programs between the Chinese military and the British and French militaries. During the talks, the Chinese side had in-depth discussions with representatives from defense departments of the UK and France on issues of mutual interests, including defense cooperation, regional security situation, and defense and military development.
The Chinese side agreed with both the British side and the French side to strengthen strategic communication and institutionalized exchanges, conduct cooperation in different areas, enhance mutual understanding and trust and properly handle their differences, so as to make positive contributions to the sound and stable development of the relations between the countries and the militaries.
Meanwhile，China clarified its positions and concerns on the Taiwan question and the South China Sea issue, requiring all parties concerned to abide by the one-China principle, prudently and properly handle Taiwan-related issues, and respect and support the efforts of regional countries to maintain peace and stability in the South China Sea.
On China-EU military relationship, China values military exchanges and cooperation with European countries. We hope to continue to strengthen communication and coordination with defense departments of European countries and make joint efforts to safeguard genuine multilateralism and maintain regional peace and stability.
Question: It's reported that a teleconference on national conscription was held recently. Please further brief us on the progress of conscription.
Answer: On January 20, the teleconference on national conscription was held in Beijing to make arrangement for the two rounds of conscription in 2022. The conference underlined the need to thoroughly implement Xi Jinping Thought on Strengthening the Military, promote precise conscription, focus on improving combat capabilities, and provide more high-quality soldiers to strengthen the Chinese military.
The conscription in the first half of 2022 will start on February 15 and end on March 31; the one in the second half of the year will begin on August 15 and end on September 30. The conscription this year will mainly target college students and graduates, and priority will be given to students majoring in science and engineering and those with skills needed for combat readiness and war-fighting.
Several points were highlighted at the conference. First, as the 20th CPC National Congress is to be held later this year, military units and governments at all levels must enhance political awareness, have a clear understanding of the new situation and new requirements, seek new achievements, and strive to take up the new mission of conscription. Second, conscription must adapt to the new needs of the troops, keep up with new social development, and meet the new requirements for combat readiness. To open a new page for conscription, we should eye on building a world-class military and take a troop-oriented and information-enabling approach. Third, conscription should be regularized, military personnel supplement should be more precise and training for new recruits should be organized in training bases, altogether serving to improve the efficiency of the annual conscription work. Fourth, efforts must be made to build a new normal for conscription. In the context of long-term pandemic prevention and control and strict supervision, efforts must be made to ensure Covid-free, corrupt-free and safe conscription. Fifth, to adapt to the ongoing military reform, we should improve the working mechanisms of conscription and strengthen its organization and leadership, so as to generate more synergy for conscription. We will carry on the century-long great founding spirit of the Party and make joint and pioneering efforts in promoting conscription with high standard and quality.
Joining the military and serving the country has always been a shared dream of Chinese youth with aspirations. For a better self and a secure homeland, answer to the call of the new age and inner desire, fear no hardship or danger, and you will live up to youth. Your dream is waiting for you!
Question: It's reported that General Li Zuocheng, Chief of the CMC Joint Staff Department, recently had a video conference with Andrew Bridgman, Secretary of Defense of the Ministry of Defense of New Zealand. Please brief us on the bilateral military relationship between China and New Zealand.
Answer: On January 19, General Li Zuocheng, Chief of the CMC Joint Staff Department, had a video meeting with New Zealand Secretary of Defense Andrew Bridgman. The two leaders had a candid and in-depth exchange of views on regional security situation, bilateral state-to-state and military-to-military relations, and other issues of mutual interests.
This year marks the 50th anniversary of China-New Zealand diplomatic relations. The bilateral relationship have progressed a lot in recent years. The Chinese and New Zealand militaries have earnestly implemented the important consensus reached by the leaders of the two countries, and achieved fruitful results in high-level communication, consultations and dialogues, professional exchanges, personnel training, and multilateral cooperation, etc.
Following the principle of mutual respect, equality and mutual benefit, China is willing to work with New Zealand to maintain high-level communication, enhance strategic mutual trust, explore new areas of cooperation, strengthen coordination on multilateral platforms, and promote continued growth of China-New Zealand military relationship. The two militaries will make positive contributions to safeguarding regional peace and prosperity and building an Asia-Pacific community with a shared future.
Question: It's reported that the medical teams sent by the Chinese military to Laos and Cambodia helped improve local health care capacity and provided their pandemic response experience and practices. They were highly praised and recognized by the militaries and people of the recipient countries. Please give us more details.
Answer: Since the outbreak of COVID-19, the Chinese military has made great efforts to control the pandemic at home and actively carried out international cooperation in fighting the pandemic. It has fulfilled its international responsibilities as the military of a major country with solid actions, and faithfully implemented the vision of building a community with a shared future for mankind.
In particular, the militaries of China, Laos, Cambodia and other neighboring countries have helped each other and overcome difficulties together, setting a role model for the international community in fighting the pandemic through cooperation.
The PLA has sent medical expert teams to Laos and Cambodia. The teams have helped improve local health care capacity and treated a large number of local patients, making a positive contribution to safeguarding the health of military personnel and civilians of the two countries and deepening cooperation in the field of military medical service.
The Chinese military will continue to uphold the vision of building a community with a shared future for mankind, work with the militaries of other countries to deepen and expand international cooperation in public health, and make new and greater contributions to building a community of common health for mankind.
As the Chinese Spring Festival of the Year of the Tiger is approaching, we are to focus our eyes on a special group of Chinese, that is, the Chinese service members stationed overseas. From South Sudan to the Gulf of Aden to Djibouti, they are serving in places where their country needs them most and where peace is most needed. They are soldiers, doctors, or diplomats…. They are also husbands, wives, parents, sons and daughters…. Most of all, they are Chinese service members who keep their motherland close to their heart though stationed in foreign countries.
On this special day of nation-wide celebration and family reunion, we'd like to extend our special wishes to those Chinese service members who stay on their posts overseas, and to say "Salute to you all!" Here I want to share some video clips from Chinese Service Members in Foreign Lands with you. The whole video will be aired on the China Central Television on January 31 (Chinese New Year's Eve). Please stay tuned.
The Chinese Spring Festival in the Year of the Tiger is just around the corner. Here, please allow me, on behalf of our team from the Information Office of the MND, to send in advance our new year greetings to all journalists and friends from all walks of life who care about the Chinese military. I wish you success, happiness and all the best in the year of the Tiger!
The opening ceremony of the Beijing 2022 Olympic Winter Games will be held on the fourth day of the Chinese New Year. I wish athletes from all over the world great games and great performance. Wish the Winter Olympics a complete success, and let’s walk together into a shared future. Thank you all.