By Senior Colonel Tan Kefei, Deputy Director General of the Information Office of the Ministry of National Defense (MND) and Spokesperson for the MND
Senior Colonel Tan Kefei, spokesperson for the Ministry of National Defense (MND) of the People's Republic of China (PRC), answers reporters' questions at a regular press conference on July 27, 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: This year marks the 70th anniversary of the victory in the War to Resist US Aggression and Aid Korea. What does the great spirit forged in this war mean for the Chinese armed forces on its new journey in the new era?
Answer: President Xi Jinping pointed out that the victory of the War to Resist US Aggression and Aid Korea is a victory of justice, a victory of peace and a victory of the people. 70 years ago, the heroic Chinese People's Volunteers (CPV), together with the people and army of the Democratic People's Republic of Korea (DPRK), achieved a great victory in the War to Resist US Aggression and Aid Korea after two years and nine months of arduous and bloody fighting.
In the world there is the spirit of righteousness, which is inviolable and lives on forever. Although the smoke of the war 70 years ago has dissipated, the tremendous achievements of the CPV in defending our motherland are recorded in history. The famous song Praise to Heroes which salutes to those who "sacrificed their lives to preserve peace" has been passed down through generations, and the great spirit forged in the War to Resist US Aggression and Aid Korea transcends time and space, and will be carried forward. The veterans are forever in our hearts, and will never be forgotten. We hereby solemnly pay tribute to the martyrs of the CPV: As long as the great spirit of Resisting US Aggression and Aiding Korea lives, you live; as long as we live, you live.
As a valuable spiritual treasure, the great spirit of Resisting US Aggression and Aiding Korea inspires the Chinese people and the whole nation to overcome all difficulties and obstacles, and prevail overall enemies. In the face of the requirements of building a strong country with a strong military in the new era, and the complex and severe security situation, we will vigorously promote the great spirit of Resisting US Aggression and Aiding Korea, enhance our awareness of potential dangers, crises, and wars, keep in mind our original aspirations and founding mission, maintain our faith in securing success with confidence and determination. We will comprehensively enhance our combat readiness, resolutely fulfill the missions and tasks of the People's military in the new era, and make new and greater contributions to safeguarding national sovereignty, security, development interests, and world peace and stability.
Question: It is reported that starting from August 1 this year, primary militia and full-time cadres of the People's Armed Forces departments nationwide will successively receive and wear type-21 combat uniforms. This has attracted wide attention from society. Please provide more information on the uniform replacement.
Answer: With the approval of the State Council and the Central Military Commission, from August 1 this year, type-21 combat uniforms will be successively distributed to primary militia and full-time cadres of the People's Armed Forces departments throughout the country.
The main considerations behind this decision are as follows: First, strengthening honorary incentives. Militia and full-time cadres of the People's Armed Forces departments are important forces in improving mobilization capability of the society and maintaining national security and stability. In recent years, they have played a dynamic role in maintaining stability in border areas, preventing and controlling the COVID-19 pandemic, emergency rescue and disaster relief, and other urgent, difficult, dangerous and arduous tasks. Equipping primary militia and full-time cadres of the People's Armed Forces departments with type-21 combat uniforms is conducive to stimulating their sense of honor and responsibility, and pool the strength of the society in supporting national defense and reserve force development. Second, unifying and standardizing the uniform. Equipping primary militia and full-time cadres of the People's Armed Forces departments with type-21 combat uniforms is of great significance for standardizing the uniform, strengthening the standardization of the forces, and promoting their good conduct and fresh image in the new era. Third, adhering to the principle of frugality. Considering the actual condition of combat readiness training, task execution, and financial support for primary militia and full-time cadres of the People's Armed Forces departments, the distribution will be successively implemented based on the principles of total amount control, year-by-year distribution, and orderly transition. The distributed varieties mainly include jungle camouflage summer combat uniforms, desert camouflage winter combat uniforms, desert camouflage training coats, and accompanying military insignia. Meanwhile, type-07 short-sleeved physical training uniforms, belts, and training shoes will be provided to meet the needs of primary militia and full-time cadres of the People's Armed Forces departments for emergency missions and daily training.
Type-21 combat uniforms for primary militia are classified as communal clothing and accouterments, which should be stored, distributed, and retrieved by local military authorities or primary-level armed forces departments. Type-21 combat uniforms for full-time cadres of the People's Armed Forces departments should be registered and distributed in a unified manner by local military authorities, and individual cadres should store and use them according to regulations. Type-21 combat uniforms for primary militia and full-time cadres of the People's Armed Forces departments will be covered by the military uniform management system, and military authorities and governments at different levels will regularly organize inspections on the production, sales, management and use of the uniform, so as to effectively maintain the specificity and solemnity of military uniforms.
Question: It is reported that in 2023, the number of high school graduates admitted to military academies has increased to over 17,000 in total, which has attracted public attention. Please give us more details on the recruitment and admission work of military academies this year.
Answer: In the new era, the paths to success are diverse for young people. I believe that whichever choice they make, they will eventually realize both their patriotic pursuits and personal dreams, and contribute to the development of the country. Currently, the recruitment of high school graduates by military academies has completed, and more than 17,000 students have received admission letters. In general, this year military academies are more favored by students compared to previous years. The number of registered candidates continues to increase, with a total of over 50,000 examinees from 31 provinces, municipalities and autonomous regions in China participating in the military health examination. The completion rate of enrollment plans reaches a record high. The quality of students has increased year by year, and the average examination score of enrolled students in military academies is nearly 90 points higher than the thresholds for first-tier civilian universities or special-type enrollment in the same province.
Join the military from school and ride the crest of youth. We warmly welcome the students admitted to military academies. This is the starting point of your military career, and a place where passion and dreams run wild. Here, you will forge yourself into a service member with ironclad faith and courage and make great contributions to the cause of strengthening the military. Come on, new comrades. Let's strive to live life to the fullest in your wonderful youth!
Question: It is reported that the PLA Air Force's aviation open-day activities kicked off in Changchun, Jilin Province, on July 26, which attracted wide attention. Could you please brief us on more details of the activities?
Answer: With the theme of "Chase sky dreams, Win the Future", the PLA Air Force (PLAAF) aviation open-day activities focused on showing the strength and promoting the culture of air and space, demonstrating the phased achievements of the PLAAF in studying and implementing the guiding principles set forth by the 20th CPC National Congress and accelerating the building of a world-class air force. The event has three highlights. First, diversified equipment. Over a hundred types of equipment, covering air control, air defense, early warning, and airborne purposes, are exhibited, which systematically reveals the development history of the PLAAF, especially the great achievements made in the new era. Second, various eye-catchers. The air-show features demonstration of force-on-force air combat and other new realistic combat subjects, synchronous demonstration of YY-20, J-20, and J-16 aircraft, and the domestic debut of PLAAF Bayi (August 1st) Aerobatic Team after conversion to the J-10C fighter jet. The ground static display, for the first time, set up spaces for classic ex-service equipment and the logistics and meteorological equipment, which collectively demonstrates the effectiveness of realistic combat training of the PLAAF. Third, diverse concurrent activities. Military barrack open-day activities, the Blue Sky Spring Bud national defense summer camps, PLAAF Military Band tours and other events were held simultaneously. Furthermore, front-line service members and new-generation pilots were invited to interact with audience, giving them a vivid impression of the ethos of the PLAAF troops in the new era.
Chase dreams in the blue sky and win glories in our endeavors. The people's air force will unswervingly follow the guidance of Xi Jinping Thought on Socialism with Chinese Characteristics for a New Era to enhance cohesion and follow the Party's command, thoroughly implement Xi Jinping Thought on Strengthening the Military, and drive the transformation of the air force towards integrated air and space capabilities for both offensive and defensive tasks with a sense of mission and urgency, so as to comprehensively improve the ability to fulfill missions and tasks in the new era and strive to achieve the military's centenary goal in 2027.
Question: According to reports, the PLAN hospital ship Peace Ark on Mission Harmony-2023 recently provided medical services in Kiribati and received a warm welcome from the local people. Please brief us on this mission of Peace Ark.
Answer: From July 15 to 22, the PLAN hospital ship Peace Ark, which is on Mission Harmony-2023, visited Kiribati and provided medical services to the local people and overseas Chinese. The main platform treated a total of 5,095 patients, performed 20 surgeries, conducted 94 physical examinations, and actively engaged in health education activities. During the visit, the Chinese medical staff aboard the hospital ship delivered a baby for a local woman. Kiribati President Taneti Maamau personally named the baby "Aken Teraoi", which means "Peace Ark" in the Kiribati language. The hospital ship also dispatched seven medical teams, totaling 46 people, to provide medical services in local hospitals, communities, seniors' associations, and outer islands, and treated 1,538 local residents.
In addition, during the voyage to Kiribati, the hospital ship received a notification from the Chinese Embassy in Kiribati on the night of July 12, and immediately adjusted its course to carry out an emergency maritime medical assistance operation. The medical staff successfully performed damage control surgery on a Chinese fisherman who was accidentally injured during offshore operations. Here I would like to share with you a piece of good news, that is, the vital signs of the patient are stable after the surgery and he has departed to return home for follow-up treatment.
Sail with benevolence, and bring love to all. The Peace Ark hospital ship was built for healing and came for aid. It reflects the moral responsibility taken by the Chinese military and has become a widely recognized symbol of warmth and care by the international community. Currently, the hospital ship is en route to Tonga, Vanuatu, Solomon Islands, and Timor-Leste. Our medical personnel will continue to provide high-quality and efficient medical services and faithfully practice the concept of a maritime community with a shared future through concrete actions.
The first "Peace Baby" during Mission Harmony-2023 was born in Kiribati on July 16. (Photo by Liu Wei)
The PLAN hospital ship Peace Ark sent medical teams to local communities to provide medical service. (Photo by Xu Xiaolong)
Medical personnel aboard the PLAN hospital ship Peace Ark provide medical service to the people of Kiribati. (Photo by Xu Xiaolong)
An injured Chinese fisherman received surgery on the PLAN hospital ship Peace Ark. (Photo by Li Yu)
Question: It is reported that the PLA Naval Medical University recently held an online medical lecture for international alumni via video link. Please provide further information.
Answer: The PLA Naval Medical University (NMU) recently held the first online medical lecture for NMU international alumni from July 17 to 18. 205 NMU international students and alumni from 38 countries attended the lecture and engaged in in-depth and extensive academic exchanges and discussions under the theme of "building a global community of health for all". During the event, participating students and alumni as well as Chinese medical experts had 13 lectures and exchanges on six sub-topics including diving and high-pressure medicine and international military medical missions. Six international students from five countries were specially invited to share their medical research achievements and experience in medical support missions. The event achieved the goal of building academic consensus, broadening professional horizons, and promoting communication and cooperation.
Doctor is a profession of nobility and benevolence, and love has no boundaries. The Chinese military is willing to work together with its counterparts around the world to continue to enhance professional communication and friendship in the field of international military medicine through academic exchanges and other activities, and jointly promote the building of a global community of health for all.
A lecture themed "International military medical mission" was held during the first online medical lecture for NMU international alumni. (Photo by Li Ye）
International students of the PLA NMU attended the event via video link and had offline communication. (Photo by Li Ye)
International students and alumni of the PLA NMU gathered online to conduct academic exchanges. (Photo by Bu Fan)
Question: It is reported that the Chinese Ministry of National Defense recently invited the African Young Officers Delegation (AYOD) to visit China. Could you please brief us more on that?
Answer: At the invitation of the Chinese Ministry of National Defense, the AYOD with members from over 40 African countries visited China from July 17 to 23. During the tours to Beijing, Changsha and Shanghai, they listened to lectures on topics including China's national defense policy and China-Africa military cooperation, the Belt and Road Initiative, the China-Africa community with a shared future, national security and scientific and technological development. They also visited the National University of Defense Technology (NUDT), the Memorial Hall of Comrade Mao Zedong in Shaoshan, the Military Museum of Chinese People's Revolution, and other units and hi-tech enterprises, and had in-depth communication with young officers of the Chinese military.
This is the second time for the Chinese Ministry of National Defense to invite the AYOD to visit China. This aims to deepen the traditional friendship between the Chinese military and the militaries of African countries, enhance mutual understanding and exchanges between young military officers, and strengthen China-Africa cooperation on peace and security. Many participants said that this visit offered them a deeper understanding of the important visions proposed by President Xi including building the China-Africa community with a shared future in the new era and the Global Security Initiative, and a first-hand experience of the development of China's national defense and military. They looked forward to having more opportunities to strengthen exchanges and carry forward the friendship with the Chinese counterparts and will make unremitting efforts to build an even closer China-Africa community with a shared future.
Question: It is reported that the Russian military recently participated in the Beibu Unity-2023 exercise organized by the PLA Northern Theater Command. Please give us more information about the exercise.
Answer: According to the annual exchange program between the Chinese and Russian militaries, from July 20 to 23, the Russian military participated in the Beibu Unity-2023 exercise organized by the PLA Northern Theater Command in the central part of the Sea of Japan. More than 10 vessels and over 30 aircraft were dispatched by China and Russia for the exercise. With the theme of "safeguarding the safety of strategic maritime passage", the two sides conducted drills on relevant subjects and subsequently held a joint naval patrol. This fully reflects the level of strategic mutual trust between the two countries and further consolidates the traditional friendship between the two militaries. China is willing to continuously enhance practical exchanges and cooperation with different parties to actively contribute to maintaining regional peace and stability and addressing various security challenges.
Question: It is reported that the "Sharp Blade-2023" International Sniper Competition was recently held in Urumqi, Xinjiang, gathering participants from Belarus, Pakistan, Kuwait and other countries. Please tell us more about it.
Answer: The PAP held the "Sharp Blade-2023" International Sniper Competition in Urumqi from July 12 to 15. Over 40 sniper teams from 19 countries participated in the competition.
Focusing on "realistic combat conditions, elite capability, and challenging set-up", this competition combined technology with tactics, competition with combat, tradition with innovation, and Chinese characteristics with international practices. There are three points to highlight.
First, ensuring the convert, unexpected and accurate features of the competition as in real sniper operations. The competition consisted of 12 subjects in 4 categories, which fully combined real combat skills with competition. Second, developing and introducing automatic assessment, digital registration and live streaming systems into the competition for the 1st time. This not only ensured fairness but also provided the audiences and judges a stronger sense of substitution, receiving positive responses from team leaders, coaches, and participants from various countries. Third, the event was well-organized and well-arranged to ensure a smooth and secure process, and met the goal of deepening friendship, promoting exchanges, and enhancing capability. The PAP will continue to hold the "Sharp Blade" International Sniper Competition regularly. Snipers from all countries are welcome to participate.
Question: It is reported that the recent NATO Vilnius Summit claimed in its Communiqué that "China is rapidly expanding and diversifying its nuclear arsenal… while failing to engage in meaningful transparency". NATO Secretary-General said the other day that the organization was "concerned about China's heavy military buildup" and "expansion of its nuclear forces". Please comment on that.
Answer: NATO, as a military bloc in possession of the world's largest nuclear arsenal and following a policy of "first use of nuclear weapons", has repeatedly played up the so-called "China nuclear threat". It is full of smearing rhetoric that confuses right and wrong. The vicious intentions behind such moves cannot be more obvious. During the Cold War, NATO made itself the largest nuclear alliance through the so-called "nuclear sharing" program, which the US has kept promoting in recent years by peddling the "security threats" narrative. Public information shows that the US has deployed over 100 nuclear weapons in relevant European countries, which has seriously intensified the risks of global nuclear proliferation and conflict. Moreover, the US has withdrawn from treaties and organizations concerning arms control, made huge investments in upgrading its nuclear triad to reinforce the so-called "extended deterrence", partnered with the UK and Australia in nuclear submarine development, and recently connived at Japan's plan to discharge nuclear-contaminated water into the sea despite international opposition. Facts have repeatedly proved that the US and NATO are the biggest sources of risks and instability undermining international peace and security.
China steadfastly upholds a self-defensive nuclear strategy and sticks to the policy of no-first-use of nuclear weapons, and always keeps its nuclear capabilities at the minimum level required for national security. We urge NATO to abandon the outdated Cold War mentality, stop fabricating false narratives, take concrete actions to reduce the role of nuclear weapons in national and collective security policies, and earnestly preserve global strategic stability.
Question: It is reported that the US House of Representatives passed the National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2024 not long ago, which included accelerating the provision of asymmetric weapons to Taiwan and inviting the island to participate in the Exercise Rim of the Pacific (RIMPAC). Besides, the US reached an agreement with Taiwan on selling its ground-to-air missile systems to the region at their "Monterey Talks" in early July. What's your comment, please?
Answer: The US side acknowledged in the August 17th China-US Joint Communiqué that "there is but one China and Taiwan is part of China", "the United States of America recognized the Government of the People's Republic of China as the sole legal Government of China", and "the United States Government does not seek to carry out a long-term policy of arms sales to Taiwan, and that it intends gradually to reduce its sale of arms to Taiwan, leading, over a period of time, to a final resolution." However, the US side has gone back on its own words over and over again by frequently selling arms to Taiwan and strengthening its military ties with the region. These outrageous actions seriously harm China's national sovereignty and security, severely threaten peace and stability across the Taiwan Strait, and expose the relations between the two countries and the two militaries to major strategic risks. The Chinese side is gravely concerned and strongly opposed to this.
The Taiwan question is China's internal affair and allows no foreign interference. Taiwan's security depends on the peaceful development of cross-Strait relations, and "Taiwan independence" and cross-Strait peace are as irreconcilable as fire and water. Any words or deeds advocating stronger US military ties with and arms sales to Taiwan will only aggravate tensions across the Strait and the risks of conflict and confrontation, and is essentially seeking to harm Taiwan's interest and even destroy Taiwan. We urge the US side to stop its arms sales to and military ties with Taiwan and refrain from repeating its mistakes on the Taiwan question. The Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) authorities attempt to "solicit US support for Taiwan independence" and collude with foreign forces to turn Taiwan into an island of landmines and arsenals. Facts have proved that "Taiwan independence" and foreign interference pose the greatest threat to cross-Strait peace and stability, and to the interests and wellbeing of the Taiwan people. The PLA will keep a close eye on the situation across the Taiwan Strait, and continue to take resolute and strong measures to defend national sovereignty and territorial integrity.
Closing remarks: In a couple of days, we are going to celebrate the 96th anniversary of the founding of the PLA. Here I would like to extend my greetings to all service members. The Chinese military will brave winds to march forward with confidence and strengthen itself to defend our motherland. The past 96 years have witnessed changes in our military uniforms, but what remains unchanged and will never change is the shining red star. The heroic people's military will always resolutely obey the Party's command, carry forward the revolutionary tradition, and temper strong and capable troops. They have made indelible accomplishments in fighting for national independence, people's liberation, and national prosperity, and have grown into a staunch force defending national sovereignty, security and development interests as well as world peace and stability.
The military marches wherever the banner of the Party goes. The PLA will rally more closely around the CPC Central Committee with Comrade Xi Jinping at its core, follow Xi Jinping Thought on Socialism with Chinese Characteristics for a New Era as the fundamental guidance, implement Xi Jinping Thought on Strengthening the Military and pool strength to forge ahead with fortitude and perseverance on the new journey with glories and dreams, and make unremitting efforts to achieve the Party's goal of building a strong military in the new era and transform the people's military into a world-class one.