Regular Press Conference of the Ministry of National Defense on February 24

Ministry of National Defense
Huang Panyue
2022-03-03 11:00:55

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 February 24, 2022.(

(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 two pieces of news at the top.  

First, the Chinese military will hold the 7th Great Wall International Military Medicine Forum (GWIMMF) in Beijing from March 24 to 27 in a synchronized online and offline manner. Focusing on the new challenges and new missions brought by modern military transformation to military health, this forum will take the theme of "Reform, Reshaping and Mission", and set up five parallel sub-forums on the Battlefield Frontline Rescue, Mobile Medical Service Force, Medical Support in Special Environment, Prevention and Control of New Infectious Disease , and International Disaster Relief Operations. China has invited military medical experts from more than 10 countries including Russia, Serbia, Pakistan, Vietnam, Germany, and Cambodia, as well as the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) to participate in the event. Chinese representatives will mainly come from the CMC Logistic Support Department and the PLA Joint Logistic Support Force.

Second, the humanitarian assistance and disaster relief (HADR) training exercise as part of Exercise Cobra Gold 2022 was held in Thailand from February 18 to 20. Chinese military personnel participated in the HADR Table Top Exercise (HADR-TTX) on international disaster response and civil-military coordination in the context of pandemic situation via video link. They exchanged views with other participants on the early warning mechanism for disaster relief.

Question: As reported, the Central Committee of the Communist Party of China (CPC), the State Council, and the CMC have jointly issued the Regulations on Military Honors and Awards and released a notification requiring all regions and departments to fully and honestly implement the regulation. Would you please brief us on the innovative points and highlights of the regulations and any provisions about the foreign-related honors and awards?

Answer: Since its promulgation, the Regulations on Military Honors and Awards has attracted wide public attention and encouraged service members to admire, learn from and become heroes.

The innovative points of the regulations can be summarized as follows. First, it’s the first time in PLA history that such regulations have been jointly promulgated by the CPC Central Committee, the State Council, and the CMC.

Second, the regulations stipulate that military honors and awards include distinguished service medals, titles of honor, meritorious service medals and citations, commendations, and commemorative medals.

Third, categories of military honors and awards have been expanded, including those granted in wartime, peacetime and major military operations other than war (MOOTWs).

Fourth, the regulations systematically specify the items, criteria, authority, procedures, honorary signs, benefits, promotion, management and supervision of military honors and awards.

Fifth, it stipulates the foreign-related military honors and awards.

Sixth, it unifies and regulates the benefits to recipients of military honors and awards.

Seventh, the systematic design of distinguished medals, meritorious medals and commemorative medals reflects the focus on winning battles and building a strong military.

The promulgation of the regulations is of great significance to improving the honors and awards system for the Party and the nation, making the military occupation more attractive, enhancing the sense of mission and honor of service members, guiding officers and soldiers to carry forward the fearless heroic spirit and the tenacious fighting style of the PLA, and inspiring the whole military to achieve the military centenary goal.

Regarding the foreign-related military honors and awards, the regulation clarifies relevant matters in providing military honors and awards to foreign nationals and the acceptance of foreign honors and awards by Chinese military personnel. The regulations stipulate the foreign-related distinguished medals, meritorious medals and commemorative medals including the Peace Distinguished Medal, the Peace Meritorious Medal, and the Peace Commemorative Medal. The design of the medals mainly composes of elements like military emblems, peace doves, and olive branches.

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 February 24, 2022.(

Question: It is reported that the Chinese naval task group delivering disaster relief supplies to Tonga had recently arrived in Nuku’alofa, capital city of Tonga. Please tell us more about that.

Answer: At the request of the Kingdom of Tonga, the Chinese military sent PLANS Wuzhishan and PLANS Chaganhu to form a maritime transportation task group to Tonga for delivering disaster relief supplies. The task group departed from Guangzhou on the Chinese New Year’s eve on January 31. After sailing for over 5,200 nautical miles without a stop, they arrived at the Nuku’alofa Port on February 15, the Chinese Lantern Festival. The vessels delivered about 1,400 tons of materials, including large pieces like prefabricated houses, tractors and power generators, as well as emergency supplies such as drinking water, food, and medical and pandemic control appliances. The task group overcame complicated weather conditions such as strong winds, huge waves and volcanic pumices, implemented strict pandemic protocol, and ensured the safety of themselves and the goods. They worked closely with the Tongan side to unload and hand over the supplies in light of evolving disaster and pandemic situation in Tonga. Tonga’s prime minister and foreign minister welcomed the Chinese vessels at the port. They expressed their gratitude to the Chinese side and applauded the friendship between the two countries.

Mankind are one family under the same sun. The disaster relief cooperation between China and Tonga vividly illustrated the concepts of a community with a shared future for mankind and a maritime community with a shared future. It further consolidated the comprehensive strategic partnership between the two countries. China will continue to do what we could to support Tonga for post-disaster reconstruction in accordance with the requirements of the Tongan side.

 Crew members of the Chinese naval transportation task group convey their best wishes to Tonga. Photo by Yin Zheng

Crew members of the Chinese naval transportation task group load large-piece cargoes. Photo by Xue Chengqing

Cargoes are unloaded from the Chinese naval vessel. Photo by Xue Chengqing

Question: The US recently issued a new "Indo-Pacific Strategy Report" claiming that the Indo-Pacific region faces mounting challenges, particularly from China that is combining its economic, diplomatic, military, and technological might as it pursues a sphere of influence in the region, prompting the US to strengthen collaboration with its allies and partners to cope with the challenges and compete with China. It also said the US will strive to maintain peace and stability in the Taiwan Strait, including supporting Taiwan’s self-defense capabilities. What's your comment, please?

Answer: The US report openly promotes the idea of building exclusive cliques with the excuse of exaggerated foreign threats. Meanwhile it claims to promote regional freedom, openness, prosperity and security. This is illogical and unreasonable. The so-called commitments and visions it paints out of the outdated Cold War mentality and confrontational concept are far from convincing. Once stripped of its veneer, the report in essence shouts only one message – containing the development of other countries and preserving America’s hegemony.

Diversity and inclusiveness are the cornerstones of prosperity and development in the Asia Pacific region. People of Asia Pacific countries look forward to an open and inclusive environment rather than a narrow and isolated one. It is peremptory and ignorant to think that one can forcibly and single-handedly shape or change the Asia-Pacific region out of its self-interests. We urge the relevant country to embrace the the trend of peaceful development and win-win cooperation, live up to its responsibility for regional peace, stability and prosperity, and make the Asia Pacific a generator for win-win cooperation rather than an arena of zero-sum games.

The negative contents in the report about China’s Taiwan region constitute a gross interference in China’s internal affairs and violation of the one-China principle and basic norms governing international relations. We are firmly opposed to that. The Taiwan question concerns China’s core interests and brooks no foreign interference. We urge the US side to fully recognize the high sensitivity of the Taiwan question, stop interfering in China’s internal affairs and stop playing with fire on Taiwan.

Question: It is reported that the US Navy recently confirmed the authenticity of an internet video about a US Navy F-35C fighter crashing into the sea in late January. The spokesperson of the US Department of Defense also confirmed that the US Navy is making every effort to salvage the plane. Please comment on that.

Answer: We’ve noticed relevant reports. Freedom of navigation and overflight in the South China Sea has never been an issue. But the American side has for a long time used that as an excuse to frequently send military vessels and aircraft to provoke and flex muscles in the South China Sea, which has heightened tensions in the region. Too much muscle-flexing is bound to cause a strain. As is known to all, the US military has suffered a submarine collision and a warplane crashing since last year in the South China Sea. Actually, over the past few years, the US military had multiple ship and aircraft collision accidents that caused serious casualties in different sea areas. These accidents show that instead of being a so-called “defender” of freedom of navigation and overflight, the US is the true “trouble-maker” and “accident-maker”.  

We believe that the South China Sea should be a sea of peace, friendship and cooperation, rather than the “wild west” of individual countries. The US side should immediately stop its long-term, large-scale and high-frequency military activities in the region. Otherwise, it will not only undermine regional countries’ efforts to keep the South China Sea peaceful and stable, but also harm its own credibility and personnel safety.

Question: It is reported that Japanese defense minister Nobuo Kishi talked about China’s “attempt to unilaterally change the status quo”, the Korean Peninsula issue and the Russia-Ukraine tensions during his meeting with the US ambassador to Japan, claiming that regional security situation is anything but optimistic, and Washington and Tokyo should jointly defend democracy, the rule of law and other universal values. A previous commentary said that the new joint operation plan between Japan and the US was drafted in response to a so-called “Taiwan emergency”. Please comment on that.

Answer: We’ve noticed the relevant reports. China upholds that exchanges and cooperation between countries should be conducive to regional peace and stability, instead of targeting or undermining the interests of any third party. Ill-intended conjectures and ganging up with those of the same views while alienating those with different views will only lead to more trust deficit, tensions and confrontation.

Regarding to Taiwan, for a long time, Japan and the US have been grossly interfering in China’s internal affairs in defiance of the basic norms governing international relations, and deliberately hyped up and manipulated Taiwan-related issues on various occasions. Their insidious remarks and deeds have not only sent wrong signals to the “Taiwan-independence” forces and seriously threatened the cross-Strait peace and stability, but also further revealed who are breaking international rules, violating other countries’ sovereignty, and causing regional turmoil. It must be noted that these sinister moves can never shake PLA’s resolution to defend national sovereignty and territorial integrity. We are fully prepared and will resolutely foil external inference and the secessionist attempt for “Taiwan independence” in any form.

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 February 24, 2022.(

Question: Australian Defense Minister Peter Dutton said during an interview with Australian media in February that "the United States and others acquiesced and allowed China’s militarization now to the point where China has 20 points of military presence in the South China Sea, which does not help stability in the region." And he continued to say, “If we continue on that trajectory, then I think we’ll lose the next decade.” He thought that Australia has to confront China in the South China Sea. Dutton also revealed that based on the new AUKUS trilateral security partnership, Australia will have its first nuclear submarine before 2038. What's your comment, please?

Answer: The South China Sea islands are China’s inherent territory. China’s infrastructure construction and deployment of necessary defensive forces on its own soil are perfectly reasonable and justified. No one, including the Australian side, has the right to arrogantly make irresponsible remarks. What I want to emphasize is that if a nation’s defense authorities are obsessed with confrontation and deliberately make waves in the South China Sea, what it will lose is not just the next decade, but also its international credibility and the opportunities to cooperate with regional countries.

China has repeatedly expressed serious concerns about and firm oppositions to the nuclear submarine deal under the AUKUS framework. The trilateral clique is a reflection of Cold War zero-sum mindset with a strong military touch. It is against the trend of the time and the wish of regional countries and is doomed to fail. Featuring the transfer of a large amount of weapon-grade nuclear materials from nuclear-weapon states to a non-nuclear-weapon state, the clique also violates the provisions set in the Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons (NPT) and the South Pacific Nuclear Free Zone (SPNFZ) Treaty. As such, it will pose a grave risk of nuclear proliferation, exacerbate regional arms race and have negative implications on resolving other nuclear hotspots in the region. China urges the AUKUS group to forsake Cold War mentality and the zero-sum game concept, and treat international concerns in a responsible manner. They should stay out of other countries’ internal affairs, spend more time reflecting on themselves, revoke their wrong decisions as soon as possible, and perform their anti-proliferation obligations with concrete actions.

Question: Taiwan media reported that Taiwan’s military conducted various training and readiness operations during the Spring Festival holiday. Its “army” carried out reconnaissance and patrol missions and various drills, its “navy” sent vessel to closely monitor maritime situations, and its “air force” dispatched fast-response forces to respond to PLA warplanes’ frequent entry into Taiwan’s “southwest air space”. Moreover, Taiwan media recently clamored about a PLA anti-submarine helicopter “flying around Taiwan for the first time”. What’s your comment on that?

Answer: The Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) authorities have been seeking external support, making “independence” provocations in various forms, and continuously escalating cross-Strait confrontation. Their acts are the biggest threat to peace and stability across the Taiwan Strait and to the wellbeing of all Taiwan compatriots. The regular patrols in the sea and air space around the Taiwan Island conducted by the PLA’s multiple services and arms and multiple batches of vessels and aircraft are intended to contain the “Taiwan independence” separatist forces and their attempts for "independence". Defending national territorial integrity is the sacred duty of the PLA. As long as “Taiwan independence” provocations exist, the PLA definitely can not and will not stop its actions in defending national sovereignty and territorial integrity.


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