By Senior Colonel Wu Qian, Director General of the Information Office of the Ministry of National Defense (MND) and Spokesperson for the MND
On the afternoon of August 14, Senior Colonel Wu Qian, Director General of the Information Office of the Ministry of National Defense (MND) and Spokesperson for the MND, answered recent media queries concerning the military.
I have two pieces of news to announce at the top.
First, at the invitation of Russian Defense Minister Sergey Shoygu and Belarusian Defense Minister Viktor Khrenin, State Councilor and Defense Minister General Li Shangfu will attend the 11th Moscow Conference on International Security (MCIS) and visit Belarus from August 14 to August 19. During his stay in Russia, General Li Shangfu will deliver a speech at the MCIS and meet with defense leaders of Russia and other countries. In Belarus, he will hold meetings and talks with state and military leaders of Belarus, and visit Belarusian military units.
Second, according to the annual plan and bilateral consensus, the China-Thailand "Strike 2023" joint army training will be held in Thailand from mid-August to early September. Focusing on joint counter-terrorism operations, the "Strike" series of joint army training aims to strengthen counter-terrorism cooperation between the Chinese and Thai armies, promote the development of mil-to-mil relations, and play a positive role in maintaining regional peace and stability.
Question: Since late July, extreme rainfall hit North China, Huanghuai Region, and Northeast China, causing floods and geological disasters. The People's Liberation Army (PLA) and the People's Armed Police Force (PAP) conducted disaster rescue and relief operations in multiple affected regions. Please give us more details on the military's support to local flood rescue and relief efforts.
Answer: Recently, a number of provinces and regions across China were stricken by floods and geological disasters triggered by severe weather. President Xi has given this his full attention and made important instructions on the military's support to local flood control and disaster relief work, commanding them to actively fulfill responsibilities and spare no effort to protect people's lives and property. Military units at all levels resolutely implemented the President Xi's important instructions, following orders and assuming great responsibilities. The Central Military Commission (CMC) Joint Operations Command Center immediately activated the emergency response mechanisms, made well-conceived arrangements, coordinated the forces and resources, and directed relevant theater commands to actively carry out disaster rescue and relief operations. The PLA and the PAP troops, as well as the militia and reserve personnel reacted swiftly to orders and fought around the clock to support flood rescue and relief operations in Beijing, Hebei, Tianjin, Heilongjiang, Jilin, Fujian and other regions.
Up to now, the PLA and the PAP forces have all together deployed more than 44,000 service members and 29,000 militia personnel, over 5,400 sets of vehicles and engineering equipment, 880 boats, and 200 sorties of aircraft (including helicopters and drones). They assisted in relocating more than 148,000 victims and providing medical treatment to over 10,000 people. They repaired 450-odd pipe breaches, filled and transported more than 3,570,000 sandbags, reinforced 81 kilometers of levees, restored over 740 kilometers of roads, cleaned up more than 400,000 cubic meters of mud, disinfected 4,320,000 square meters of flood-affected areas, and transported more than 9,000 tons of supplies. The PLA and the PAP have effectively and efficiently completed the flood control and disaster relief tasks.
As we speak, officers and soldiers are still fighting on the front line of flood control and disaster relief, practicing the PLA's fundamental purpose of "serving the people wholeheartedly". When the people are in need, the people's military will charge forward without hesitation.
Question: It is reported that a working group of the Ministry of National Defense recently attended the ASEAN Defense Senior Officials' Meeting-Plus held in Jakarta, Indonesia. Could you please brief us on more details?
Answer: A working group of the Chinese Ministry of National Defense participated in the ASEAN Defense Senior Officials' Meeting Plus (ADSOM-Plus) in Jakarta, Indonesia on August 4. During the meeting, the working group exchanged views with representatives of various parties on issues including strengthening defense and security cooperation under the framework of the ASEAN Defense Ministers' Meeting-Plus (ADMM-Plus) and the international and regional security situations. China supports ASEAN centrality in the regional security architecture and stands ready to work with other parties on the basis of equal consultation to safeguard regional cooperation mechanisms and implement cooperation projects.
In recent years, the Chinese military has actively participated in defense dialogues and cooperation under the frameworks of the ADMM-Plus and ASEAN Regional Forum, and made unremitting efforts for international and regional peace and stability. China is committed to working with other parties to strengthen practical cooperation in non-traditional security fields and jointly promote prosperity and development in the Asia-Pacific region.
Question: Recently, the Chinese and Russian navies held the third joint maritime patrol. The Joint Staff Office (JSO) of Japan's Ministry of Defense said in a release that the Chinese and Russian naval vessels entered the Sea of Okhotsk through the Soya Strait, and the Japan Maritime Self Defense Force (JMSDF) dispatched ships and aircraft to track and monitor relevant movements. Moreover, the chairman of the US House Armed Services Committee recently said that the Chinese and Russian joint naval patrol near Alaska "was meant to intimidate the United States". What's your comment on this?
Answer: According to the annual cooperation plan between the Chinese and Russian militaries, vessels of the two navies recently conducted joint maritime patrol in relevant waters of the Western and Northern Pacific. This activity does not target any third party and has nothing to do with the current international and regional situations. During the patrol, the vessels of both navies strictly abided by the international law and always remained in international waters. Japan's close-range tracking and surveillance were very dangerous, and could easily lead to misunderstanding, miscalculation and accidents at sea or in the air. We urge Japan to stop such meaningless disruptive behavior and stop irresponsible words and deeds that affect the sound development of China-Japan relations and undermine regional peace and stability.
It should be pointed out that the cooperation between the Chinese and Russian militaries is open and transparent, and aims to jointly defend international fairness and justice and maintain world and regional security and stability. It is completely different from the practices of certain countries that cling to the Cold War mentality, blatantly engage in bloc confrontation and exercise hegemony and bullying around the world.