By Senior Colonel Zhang Xiaogang, Deputy Director General of the Information Office of the Ministry of National Defense (MND) and Spokesperson for the MND
Senior Colonel Zhang Xiaogang, 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 June 29, 2023. (Photo/mod.gov.cn)
(The following English text of the press conference is for reference. In case of any divergence of interpretation, the Chinese text shall prevail.)
Question: The Chinese military held an on-site meeting on basic training in Tianjin recently. Vice Chairman of the Central Military Commission (CMC) General Zhang Youxia attended and addressed the meeting. Please give us more information about the meeting and the highlights of military training in the first half of the year.
Answer: The military's on-site meeting on basic training was held in Tianjin from June 18 to 20. General Zhang Youxia, member of the Political Bureau of the CPC Central Committee and Vice Chairman of the CMC, attended the meeting. This meeting was held to implement President Xi's important instructions on strengthening military training, accelerate innovation in training model, advance the transformation and upgrading of basic training, and build stronger combat capability for achieving the military's centenary goal.
Since the beginning of the year, the Chinese military has thoroughly studied and implemented the guiding principles of the 20th CPC National Congress, focused on improving combat readiness, and strengthened realistic training. First, efforts have been made to deepen war and combat studies, innovate operations and training methods, study winning mechanisms of informationized and intelligent warfare, and enhance the application of strategies and tactics of people's war. Second, military training has been conducted strictly based on training outlines. We have regulated training order, emphasized special training on key subjects, and steadily improved training standard and real combat capability. Third, system building and application have been underlined to address weak points, expedite the overall upgrading of operations systems and further explore the content, conditions, mechanisms and methods of systematic training. Fourth, significant work has been done to promote the use of training bases, simulation systems and online platforms, highlight the practical use of new types of combat forces, and apply technology-based new training methods to proactively respond to the evolution of warfare and adversaries. Fifth, we have remained open and conducted joint exercises and training and international military games with many other countries. The scope and scale of these activities have been expanded and the time for joint training has been increased, which substantially deepened our international military cooperation with other countries.
Question: It is reported that the 19th national congress of the Communist Youth League of China (CYLC) was held in Beijing from June 19 to 22, and delegates from the People's Liberation Army (PLA) and the People's Armed Police (PAP) attended the congress. Please give us more details about the CYLC work in the military.
Answer: The 19th national congress of the CYLC is an important meeting that was held at a critical moment when the whole Party and the Chinese people of all ethnic groups are embarking on a new journey to build a modern socialist country in all respects and march towards the Second Centenary Goal under the leadership of the Central Committee of the CPC with Comrade Xi Jinping at its core. It is also a major political event for youth league members of all ethnic groups in China. At the congress, thirty-one comrades from the PLA and the PAP were elected as members or alternate members of the 19th CYLC Central Committee. The military delegates said that they will follow the inspiring spirit of the congress and try to become revolutionary service members of a new era with "four qualities" (faith, ability, courage, and integrity) in the great cause of building a strong military.
The CYLC work in the military is an important part of Party building in the military and an important content of military political work. In recent years, the military has followed the guidance of Xi Jinping Thought on Socialism with Chinese Characteristics for a New Era and thoroughly implemented Xi Jinping Thought on Strengthening the Military in carrying out CYLC work. We have integrated CYLC work into the overall plan for military development, and explored new vitality through consolidating and innovating CYLC work. On the occasion of the centenary of the CYLC's founding, a military youth work symposium was held to make long-term plans. We have revised the Regulations on the CYLC Work in the Military to regulate relevant work and held demonstration activities on one particular theme every year. We have innovated the patterns and methods of CYLC work through incorporating it into military training and preparedness, and built new online platforms for educating CYLC members through new media services. Cadre team building has also been strengthened by relying on training in the Central School of Communist Youth League of China, lectures in military academies, and workshops for backbone service members. The CYLC organizations in the military has gained stronger political consciousness, advanced nature, and orientation toward the people.
Young people are keeping pace with the times with greater enterprise. The CYLC organizations in the military at all levels will continue to study and implement the guiding principles of the congress, and take practical measures to cultivate talents with "four qualities" for the Party. They will focus on improving combat readiness, uphold fundamental principles and break new ground, give play to the role of CYLC members as a fresh driving force and the spearhead, and inject tremendous vitality and strength into the cause of achieving the military's centenary goal.
Question: It is reported that a working group of the Chinese Ministry of National Defense attended the 20th ASEAN Regional Forum (ARF) Security Policy Conference in Jakarta, Indonesia recently. Please give us more details.
Answer: The 20th ASEAN Regional Forum (ARF) Security Policy Conference was successfully held in Jakarta, Indonesia on June 21, where participants from different countries exchanged views on topics including "security threats faced by regional countries", "blue economy" and "confidence building measures". The Chinese side proposed that the Asia-Pacific region is a shared home where regional countries live and thrive, and they should strengthen the awareness of a community with a shared future. All parties should focus on practical cooperation, strengthen the synergy with the ASEAN Defence Ministers' Meeting Plus and other cooperation mechanisms, and actively carry out cooperation in non-traditional security fields such as counter-terrorism, peacekeeping, military medicine and humanitarian assistance and disaster relief (HADR). During the conference, the Chinese delegates extended invitations to other participating countries to attend the 10th Beijing Xiangshan Forum which will be held in China in the second half of this year.
Question: It is reported that military attachés of more than 50 countries to China recently visited Shaanxi Province. We've noticed an increase in visits by foreign military attachés this year. Please comment on that.
Answer: At the invitation of the Chinese Ministry of National Defense, 74 military attachés and their spouses from 51 countries visited Shaanxi from June 12 to 16. They visited the PLA Army Academy of Border and Coastal Defense, Xi'an International Trade & Logistics Park, and revolutionary sites in Xi'an and Yan'an, and experienced traditional Chinese culture programs. Many military attachés stated that being at those sites personally and communicating with the service members and local residents had given them a deeper understanding of China's historical and cultural traditions, the achievements of the Chinese path to modernization, and the ideas of China's national defense and military development in the new era.
The Chinese military maintains close communication with foreign military attachés in China. This year, we have successively organized the reception for newly arrived military attachés, a special briefing on the 2023 Two Sessions and an international security cooperation seminar. We invited army attachés to visit PLA army troops, naval attachés to participate in the PLA Navy Day in Qingdao, and air force attachés to visit the China Aviation Museum. These activities helped military attachés gain a comprehensive understanding of China and the Chinese military, and better play their role as the bridge and bond between China and their countries.
Question: It is reported that the US, Japan and the Philippines have recently had a trilateral security meeting, at which they discussed regional security challenges in the East China Sea and South China Sea, and said that they would carry out regular joint exercises in the South China Sea. What's your comment, please?
Answer: We've noticed relevant reports and are highly concerned over this matter. It is China's consistent stance that bilateral and multilateral security cooperation must be conducive to regional peace and stability and should not target a third party or harm a third party’s interests. At present, the situation in the East China Sea and the South China Sea is generally stable, but certain country out of the region, for its selfish interests, has been busy stirring up troubles, making military provocations and fanning bloc confrontation, which has exacerbated regional tensions. Countries in the region should stay highly alert to this and refrain from bringing harm to themselves while taking risks for others.
China is a staunch defender and builder of international rule of law at sea. We are committed to properly resolving disputes through negotiation and consultation. We urge relevant countries to stop harming China's territorial sovereignty and maritime rights and interests, and stop saying or doing anything that would further complicate the situation. The Chinese military will closely watch the situation and take resolute and strong measures to safeguard national sovereignty, security, and development interests.
Question: The committees on armed services in the US Senate and House of Representatives have separately passed the 2024 National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) which calls to further advance military cooperation with Taiwan. US Secretary of State Anthony Blinken recently said Washington does not support "Taiwan independence", but opposes any unilateral change to the status quo by either side. Please comment on that.
Answer: The Taiwan question is at the very core of China's core interests, and is the most important issue and the biggest risk in China-US relations. We urge the US side to abide by the one-China principle and the three China-US joint communiqués, and fulfill its commitment to not supporting "Taiwan independence", rather than saying one thing and doing another.
It must be emphasized that there is only one China in the world, Taiwan is an inalienable part of China, and China's national sovereignty and territorial integrity have never been and will never be divided. That is the status quo across the Taiwan Strait. For some time, some external forces have tried all means to "contain China with Taiwan" and the Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) authorities have been obsessed with "seeking independence with American support". Their actions have changed the status quo and escalated tensions across the Taiwan Strait. China must be and will be reunified. How to resolve the Taiwan question is a matter for the Chinese people, which allows no foreign interference. No one should act against the historical trend and those playing with fire will get themselves burned. The PLA has the ability and confidence to safeguard national sovereignty and territorial integrity, and to firmly smash "Taiwan independence" separatist activities and external interfering attempts.