(The following English text of the press conference is for reference. In case of any divergence of interpretation, the Chinese text shall prevail.)
Wu Qian: At the invitation of Russian Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu, Chinese State Councilor and Minister of National Defense General Wei Fenghe will attend the military parade celebrating the 75th anniversary of the Soviet Union’s victory against the Nazis in World War II in Russia from June 23 to 25. His visit to Russia during the critical moment of global anti-pandemic campaign will further deepen the mutual trust and cooperation between the Chinese and Russian militaries, and push the China-Russia comprehensive strategic partnership of coordination for a new era to a new height. The Chinese military has also dispatched the guard of honor to participate in the Russian Victory Day parade.
Question: The Chinese and Indian border troops recently had serious clashes at the Galwan Valley. What’s the current situation there? Looking ahead, what’s the Chinese military’s view on the China –India border?
Answer: China has sovereignty over the Galwan Valley region. Over the years, the Chinese border troops have been patrolling and guarding this region. Since April this year, the Indian border troops have unilaterally built facilities along the Line of Actual Control (LAC) in the Galwan Valley. The Chinese side has lodged representations and oppositions to the Indian side many times. In the early morning of May 6, the Indian border troops trespassed into China’s territory, built fortification and barricades and impeded the patrol of Chinese border troops, in an attempt to unilaterally change the status quo of border control and management. The Chinese border troops have been forced to take necessary measures to respond to the situation on the ground and strengthen management and control in the border areas.
With China’s strong efforts, the two sides agreed to hold bilateral communication through multiple channels. On June 6, the border troops of both countries held the first commander-level meeting and reached consensus on easing the situation through concrete measures. The Indian side promised that they would not cross the estuary of the Galwan River to patrol or build facilities, and the two sides would discuss and decide phased withdrawal of troops through the meetings between commanders on the ground. Shockingly, on the evening of June 15, India’s front-line troops, in violation of the agreement reached at the commander-level meeting, once again crossed the LAC for deliberate provocation, and even violently attacked the Chinese officers and soldiers who went there for negotiation, thus triggering fierce physical conflicts and causing casualties.
The Chinese border troops took decisive countermeasures in self-defense, resolutely fought back against the violent acts of the Indian side, and effectively safeguarded our national sovereignty and territorial integrity. India should bear full responsibility for the incident that was solely and completely triggered by its breach of consensus and unilateral provocations. The Chinese side demanded the Indian side severely punish those who should be held accountable, strictly discipline its frontline troops so as to ensure that such incidents do not happen again.
After the clash, China and India have stayed in close communication through military and diplomatic channels. Chinese State Councilor and Foreign Minister Wang Yi and Indian External Affairs Minister Dr. S. Jaishankar reached an agreement over a phone conservation to handle the Galwan Valley clash justly and fairly and cool down the situation on the ground. A second commander-level meeting was held on June 22 where the two sides exchanged views on the management and control of border tension and the maintenance of peace and stability in the border areas.
China and India are important neighbors to each other. Maintaining a peaceful and tranquil border region is in the common interests of both sides and requires common efforts as well. We hopes that India will work with China, follow faithfully the important consensus reached between the two leaders, abide by the agreements reached between the two governments, and properly handle relevant issues through dialogue and negotiation on various levels. The two sides should make great efforts to jointly ease the current border situation and uphold peace and stability in the border areas.
Question: When attending a plenary meeting of the delegation of the People's Liberation Army (PLA) and People's Armed Police (PAP) Force to the third session of the 13th National People's Congress (NPC), President Xi Jinping called for efforts to explore new approaches of training for combat readiness in the context of long-term epidemic prevention and control.
He urged the PLA and PAP Force to carry out science-based epidemic prevention and control according to actual conditions, step up combat preparedness, flexibly conduct realistic training and enhance Chinese military’s task-performing capabilities across the board. Could you please tell us what plans and measures the military has to implement the president’s requirements?
Answer: Since the COVID-19 broke out, the whole military has resolutely responded to President Xi’s orders and taken the challenge of the epidemic as a special opportunity of training and tempering our service members both in combat readiness and in epidemic containment. The military has taken the following measures.
First, we have improved coordinated training under epidemic conditions. Aiming to minimize the impact of the epidemic while achieving the annual training objectives, we have made holistic training plans in terms of tasks, schedules, resources, and supervision, with dynamic and precise adjustment of various tasks.
Second, we have enhanced emergency and combat training under epidemic conditions. Training of task forces’ capabilities, commanding, systematic capacities and training-to-combat transitions has all been intensified to temper the troops’ ability to respond to emergencies and combat calls quickly.
Third, we have created new training modes under epidemic conditions. The long-term epidemic prevention and control have changed the time, space, rhythm, and approach of military training, so the troops are actively summarizing experience and promoting online training, small-group training, enclosed training at bases, and differentiated training.
Fourth, we have strictly prevented and controlled training risks under epidemic conditions. Eyeing the training features amid long-term epidemic control, we have placed equal emphasis on preventing and controlling epidemic and accidents to ensure risk-free training.
Question: It is reported that the PLA Tibet Military Command recently organized a real-combat exercise in the plateau area. Could you please confirm and brief us on this?
Answer: Recently, the PLA Tibet Military Command held an all-dimensional live-fire exercise involving combat groups of combined arms and multiple types of equipment in a high-elevation region, to comprehensively test the troop’s joint combat capabilities in plateau environment. The exercise was part of the annual training plan, not targeting any specific country.
Question: You just released the news about Minister Wei’s upcoming visit to Russia’s military parade. We noticed that of all the foreign defense ministers to attend the event, Minister Wei is the only one from a permanent member of the UN Security Council. What message does that send to the world? Can you comment on the current mil-to-mil relationship between China and Russia?
Answer: Minister Wei attendance to the military parade celebrating the 75th anniversary of the Soviet Union’s victory against Nazis in WWII reflects the high level of mil-to-mil relationship between China and Russia as well as their firm resolve and sincere wish to jointly protect the victorious results of WWII and maintain world peace and stability.
Under the strategic guidance of both Chinese and Russian presidents, the two militaries have been maintaining a sound relationship with close cooperation in terms of high-level exchanges, strategic cooperation, and joint exercises and competitions. It’s fair to say that the China-Russia mil-to-mil relationship is stronger than ever.
It should be stressed that the two militaries have had fruitful and pragmatic cooperation in epidemic prevention and control since COVID-19 broke out. Firstly, leaders of the two militaries have maintained close communication. They exchanged letters, held phone talks, expressed sympathy and support to each other, and had a full exchange of views on a series of commonly concerned issues. Secondly, video conferences on sharing anti-COVID-19 experience were held. The medical departments and relevant experts from Chinese and Russian militaries held two video conferences to exchange their experience in epidemic prevention and control and disease diagnosis and treatment. Finally, the two sides supported each other by providing anti-epidemic supplies. The Chinese military have provided its Russian counterpart with anti-epidemic supplies including masks, protective clothing, ventilators, and testing kits.
China will work with Russia to jointly implement the consensus reached by the heads of state of the two countries, and continuously promote innovative development of mil-to-mil relationship as well as the China-Russia comprehensive strategic partnership of coordination for a new era.
Question: Recently, President Xi Jinping chaired the Extraordinary China-Africa Summit on Solidarity against COVID-19, and he exchanged views and reached broad consensuses at the meeting with various parties on supporting Africa in fighting COVID-19 and promoting China-Africa and international anti-epidemic cooperation. Please brief us on the cooperation between the Chinese military and the militaries of African countries in the fight against COVID-19.
Answer: In his keynote speech at the Extraordinary China-Africa Summit on Solidarity against COVID-19, President Xi stressed that China and Africa must stay committed to fighting COVID-19 together, enhancing China-Africa cooperation, upholding multilateralism, and taking China-Africa friendship forward, in the endeavor to build a China-Africa community of health for all and a stronger China-Africa community with a shared future.
China and Africa have a long tradition of being good friends, partners and brothers. Since the COVID-19 outbreak, the Chinese military has fought side by side with African militaries through this challenging period. When China was at its height of fighting the outbreak, militaries of African countries expressed their sympathy and support in various ways. After the outbreak spread to Africa, Chinese military leaders sent letters of sympathy to the militaries of multiple African countries. We held experience-sharing video conferences with the militaries of South Africa and Ethiopia, provided emergency epidemic control supplies to the militaries of 15 African countries such as Mozambique, and dispatched transport planes of the air force to deliver the supplies to many of them.
China and Africa have always been a community with a shared future. The Chinese military stands ready to strengthen solidarity and cooperation with African counterparts to jointly build the China-Africa community of health for all and make contributions to safeguarding regional and global public health security.
Question: According to online photos, the service members at PLA Djibouti Support Base have dressed in a new-style combat camouflage uniform. Could you please confirm that? Is this the same new-style uniform that debuted during the 70th anniversary military parade in 2019? When will the new outfit be distributed to the whole military?
Answer: What the service members at PLA Djibouti Support Base are wearing is the new combat uniform presented during the military parade in celebration of the 70th anniversary of the founding of the People’s Republic of China. The outfit is currently being tried out by some troops and will be gradually distributed to all troops as planned.
Question: US Defense Secretary Mark Esper recently claimed that China’s actions in the East and South China Seas are destabilizing the Indo-Pacific region and that the US will stand with its regional allies to confront a China that is trying to “weaken the sovereignty of other countries and undermine international rules”. The secretary also accused China of attempting to use the novel coronavirus to spread turmoil and blame other countries. What’s your comment on that and the current mil-to-mil relationship between China and the US?
Answer: Recently, US defense leadership has been hyping up the so-called “China threat” in total disregard of facts, trying to sow discord among the regional countries and stigmatize China’s anti-epidemic efforts. China is strongly dissatisfied with and firmly opposed to those remarks.
Thanks to the united efforts of all countries in the region, the situations in East and South China Seas have maintained generally stable. This speaks volumes for the regional countries’ wisdom, capabilities and means to properly handle their differences through direct negotiations and consultations, and jointly safeguard regional peace. In contrast, the US, as a country out of the region, has dispatched military vessels and aircraft to make provocations in the East and South China Seas under the pretext of “freedom of navigation”, frequently conducted close-in reconnaissance on China and held highly targeted military exercises. The US moves have seriously harmed the sovereignty and security interests of regional countries and undermined peace and stability in the region. The accusation of “weaken the sovereignty of other countries and undermine international rules” fabricated by the US against China should be put on its own head where it rightly belongs.
Some American politicians have spared no effort in smearing and slandering China by stirring up hostility and calling black white, in the vicious and shameful attempt to divert domestic conflicts and shirk responsibilities for their poor pandemic response. The international community will have a righteous conclusion about right and wrong, and the people know very well where justice lies. Blaming China is no way to solve America’s own problems.
China and the US, both important countries in the world, will gain from cooperation and lose from confrontation. Cooperation is the only right choice for the two countries. The mil-to-mil relationship is an essential part of bilateral ties. Maintaining a generally stable relationship between the two militaries is in the interests of both countries, and it is the responsibility of service members of both sides as well as the expectation of the international community. It is hoped that the US side will work with China under the overarching guideline of non-conflict, non-confrontation, mutual respect and win-win cooperation. The two sides should strengthen strategic communication, deepen practical cooperation and properly manage and control differences, so as to create more favorable conditions for promoting a coordinated, cooperative and stable China-US relationship.
Question: The US and Taiwan have had close interactions this month. A US transport plane flew over the Taiwan island for the first time, and its destroyers passed through the Taiwan Strait again. The US Defense Secretary Mark Esper even tweeted that America would remain committed to a “democratic Taiwan”. What’s your comment on that?
Answer: Taiwan is an inalienable part of China. Taiwan affairs are purely China’s internal affairs that brook no external interference. The US’ frequent playing of the so-called Taiwan card in an attempt to harm China’s national sovereignty and territorial integrity in the “sausage-slicing” approach is a sheer pipe dream. The PLA has been on high alert, and has the firm resolve, full confidence and sufficient capabilities to safeguard national sovereignty and territorial integrity and maintain peace and stability across the Taiwan Strait.
Question: Following the US ban on some Chinese students and scholars from entering the country early this month, US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said in a press statement that the US “will not tolerate PRC attempts to illicitly acquire American technology and intellectual property from our academic institution and research facilities for Chinese military ends.”What’s your comment on that?
Answer: China has always followed a path of independent scientific research and made remarkable achievements in a range of high-tech fields, which is a fact widely acknowledged by the international community. The groundless accusation from the US is nothing but another bout of “persecution mania”. We have noticed the visa restrictions rolled out by the US side on Chinese students and researchers, which is a grave violation of their lawful rights and interests. The move, which harms others with no benefit to the US itself, seriously disrupts technological and cultural exchanges between China and the US, and damages the atmosphere of people-to-people exchanges between the two countries. We advise the US administration to view China’s development from an objective and rational perspective, introspect about its own problems, and refrain from going down the wrong path any further.
Question: It was reported by Japanese media that after unilaterally withdrawing from the Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces (INF) Treaty, the US is discussing with Japan about deploying intermediate-range missiles at American military bases in Japan. The media commented that the deployment would put Japan in a dangerous position. May I have your comment on this?
Answer: China is firmly opposed to the deployment of intermediate-range missiles by the US in the Asia Pacific region. If the US insists on the deployment, it will be a provocation at China’s doorstep. China will never sit idle and will take all necessary countermeasures.
At the same time, China hopes that Japan and other countries concerned can act cautiously with the big picture of regional peace and stability in mind, and should not allow the US to deploy medium-range missiles on their territories, so as not to fall victim to Washington’s geopolitical ploys.
Question: It is reported that the PLA has started the recruitment of civilian personnel from the public in 2020. Please give us more details.
Answer: To recruit more talent from society to serve military build-up, the Chinese military has started this year’s public recruitment of civilian personnel. Applicants may obtain the recruitment information at the Military Talent Website (http://81rc.81.cn/) and sign up for the application. According to the plan, the unified exams for public and specific subjects will be held on August 23, and the interview, political review, physical examination, public notice and administrative approval will be completed before the end of November.
As an integral part of the military personnel, civilian personnel are non-active members in the military system working in management and technical posts. With a growing number in recent years, civilian personnel have made important contributions to the development of the military. We welcome more young people to join the civilian team of the military and make contributions to the development of our country with your youth and dedication.
Question: According to media reports, as of the end of May 2020, all the 4,100 impoverished villages that the Chinese military was designated to assist had been lifted out of poverty. What are the features and highlights of the assistance provided by the military in poverty alleviation?
Answer: The Party Central Committee, the Central Military Commission, and President Xi Jinping attach great importance to the military’s participation in poverty alleviation. Chinese President Xi Jinping has stressed on many occasions that the military should give full play to its own advantages, do a good job in poverty alleviation, educational development, and medical support, and help the villagers live a well-off life earlier. The military has resolutely implemented the decision of President Xi, and insisted on satisfying local needs and fulfilling the expectations of the masses within the military capabilities, having formed a distinctive brand in poverty alleviation.
The military has supported Party building of local Party branches to strengthen their role as a fortress. A total of 3,468 Party branches in poverty-stricken villages were established to deepen mutual learning and support between military and grass-roots party organizations. More than 5,100 outstanding veterans were recommended to serve as secretaries or committee members of these Party branches, forming a standing poverty alleviation team.
The military has supported local medical and health care. A total of 1,458 clinics were built in the impoverished villages, and 113 county-level hospitals in poverty-stricken counties. Military doctor tours have been organized in more than 100 old revolutionary base areas to treat poor patients and address the problem of unaffordable medical care.
The military has promoted education to lay a solid foundation for future development. It has helped build 156 schools along the route of the Long March and 1,544 primary schools in designated villages. The Political Work Department of the Central Military Commission conducted the “Bayi” student aid program in old revolutionary bases and the PLA Air Force organized the “Lantian Chunlei Program” for 26 consecutive years. The teaching conditions therein have been effectively improved.
When it comes to poverty alleviation through education, I want to share with you a story that has lasted for 58 years. In 1962, across hills and rivers, a PLA company reached Maidan, a small village on the Pamirs, and settled down there. As a result, the company was named as Maidan Border Defense Company. There was not even a primary school in the village at that time, and the school-age children could only herd sheep or horses. The company's officers and soldiers decided to help the villagers change their living by building classrooms, donating stationeries, and working as teachers... Over the past 58 years, the officers and soldiers stationed there have been shifting, but the work of helping and supporting the poor has never stopped.
Since the 1960s, to make up for the shortage of teachers in the school, most of the military spouses who came to the camp for family visits have undertaken a special task-- to work as part-time teachers in Maidan Primary School. Some children do not want to go to school, and the officers and soldiers therein will tirelessly persuade them and their parents. The current principal of Maidan Primary School says he will never forget that when he was a boy, he was "grabbed" back to the school by the company commander when herding sheep. The company commander even gave his own allowance to him.
Ma Kuban, a villager, said: "My grandfather, my father, and I all graduated from Maidan Primary School. We have witnessed the great changes in our hometown thanks to the help of the PLA." Gulizhana Pahar, who was admitted to Jilin University in 2018, said: "it's the PLA servicemen of the border defense company who made my deserted life an oasis."
With the vigorous support of the country and the armed forces, Maidan Village has been successfully lifted out of poverty in 2018. The construction and development of Maidan is only a microcosm of the Chinese military's assistance in poverty alleviation, reflecting the original intention and purpose that the PLA has always adhered to-serving the people wholeheartedly. All the officers and soldiers of the PLA will resolutely implement President Xi Jinping's people-centered philosophy of development, make every effort to help poverty alleviation, and write a new chapter in the era of deep military-civilian affection.