By Senior Colonel Tan Kefei, Deputy Director General of the Information Office of the Ministry of National Defense (MND) and Spokesperson for the MND
(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, Admiral Yuan Huazhi, political commissar of the PLA Navy, had a video meeting with Vice Admiral Nguyen Van Bong, political commissar of the Vietnam People’s Navy, on September 26. The two sides discussed naval exchanges and cooperation.
China and Vietnam are socialist neighbors connected by the same mountains and rivers. Under the strategic guidance of General Secretary Xi Jinping and General Secretary Nguyen Phu Trong, the mil-to-mil relations between the two countries have developed in a solid and steady way and achieved fruitful outcomes. The two sides will keep in close touch, build better mechanisms, enhance communications at all levels, and advance practical cooperation to jointly safeguard regional security and stability.
Second, the PLA Army Engineering University held the 9th International Army Cadets Week (IACW) in Nanjing via video link from September 28 to 29. Officer cadets from 34 military academies of 23 foreign countries including Pakistan, Singapore, the ROK, France, Romania, Egypt and Brazil participated in the event. Under the theme of “Capability and Quality of Military Personnel in the New Era”, this year’s IACW had discussions on three topics – the core competence of new-type military personnel, the command and control in multi-national military operations, and the reporting procedures and steps in military operations. The event serves as a platform for Chinese and foreign officer cadets to communicate and learn from each other, to share useful experience in military education, and to jointly improve the quality of military education and talent cultivation.
Question: It is reported that a seminar on the reform of national defense and the armed forces was recently held in Beijing, at which President Xi Jinping gave important instructions. The seminar summarized the major achievements and experience in the reform and made plans for the next steps. Would you please give more details on the reform?
Answer: Since the 18th CPC National Congress, under the firm leadership of the CPC Central Committee, the Central Military Commission and President Xi Jinping, the people’s military has implemented the strategy of strengthening the military through reform in an all-round way, launched the most extensive and profound reform of national defense and the armed forces since the founding of the PRC. It has gone through an overall revolutionary restructuring and has taken on an entirely new look in its institution, structure, pattern, and image. Recently, President Xi Jinping, also general secretary of the CPC Central Committee and chairman of the CMC, gave important instructions to the seminar on the reform of national defense and the armed forces, emphasizing that the military should review and utilize successful experience of the reform, and strive to open up new prospects in strengthening the military through reform, so as to provide a strong driving force for achieving the military’s centenary goal.
This round of defense and military reform follows the principles of building systems as a whole project. It started with the reform of the leadership and command system by establishing 15 functional organs of the CMC to advise, execute and serve. The systems of discipline inspection and supervision, inspection tour, audit-based supervision, and military justice have been reformed. We have established five theater commands and the leading organs of the PLA Army, renamed the Second Artillery Force the Rocket Force, established the Strategic Support Force and Joint Logistic Support Force and re-assigned the Armed Police Force and the Reserve Force to be under the centralized and unified leadership of the CPC Central Committee and the CMC. As a result, a new military structure has been established with the CMC exercising the overall leadership, the theater commands responsible for military operations, and the services focusing on developing capabilities.
The reforms of the armed forces’ size, structure and force composition have been carried out one after another in a timely and orderly manner. We have restructured the composition, scale and proportion of military personnel, reduced personnel in leading organs and non-combat units and downsized the number of active-service members by 300,000. We have reshaped the structure and composition of troops, adjusted the proportion of different services and arms by compressing traditional arms and troops with outdated weapons while increasing the ratio of strategic forces and new-type combat forces. The corps– brigade – battalion system is adopted for combat troops. We have overhauled the military talent cultivation system and the military scientific research system by reorganizing the Academy of Military Sciences, the National Defense University, and the National University of Defense Technology, and establishing new research institutes of various services through integration. Historical progress has been made in building a modern military force structure with Chinese characteristics.
The reform of policies and institutions has been carried out in different areas. We have enacted the Regulations on Party Building in the Military, developed and improved policies and institutions concerning Party building in the military, the use and development of military forces, and military management. We have promulgated military laws and major regulations including the National Defense Law, Military Service Law, and People’s Armed Police Force Law, and rolled out major policies and institutions such as the Regulations on Party Building in the Military, the Political Work Regulations, the Guidelines on Joint Operations, and the provisional regulations on the management of officers, as well as specific policies and major reform measures including the regulations on the work of Party committees (branches) in the military, the guidelines for joint operations command, the system on the positions and ranks of military officers, and the list of duties. We have given priority to policies and institutions urgently needed for the reform and military preparedness and anticipated by the service members, and made a series of policies and regulations to provide a strong legal guarantee for the modernization of national defense and the armed forces.
The profound reform of national defense and the armed forces in the past ten years has brought about historical changes in the military and amassed a solid theoretical, practical, institutional and public basis. The effectiveness of reform is being fully unleashed. In the new era, the people’s military will continue on the path of building a strong military with Chinese characteristics, strive for further progress in strengthening the military through reform and new victories in deepening the reform. We will provide steadfast strategic support for realizing the Chinese Dream of national rejuvenation, and make new and greater contributions to preserving world peace and stability and serving the building of a community with a shared future for mankind.
Question: Chinese President Xi Jinping recently delivered an important speech at the 22nd Meeting of the Council of Heads of State of the Shanghai Cooperation Organization in Samarkand, Uzbekistan, in which he welcomed all parties to jointly participate in the Global Security Initiative proposed by China. In late August, Chinese State Councilor and Defense Minister General Wei Fenghe attended the SCO Defense Ministers’ Meeting via video link. Please tell us more about China’s participation in SCO’s defense cooperation in recent years.
Answer: This year marks the 20th anniversary of the signing of the SCO Charter and the 15th anniversary of the Treaty on Long-term Good-Neighborliness, Friendship and Cooperation between the SCO Member States. Since its founding, the SCO, guided by the purposes and principles of the SCO Charter and the Treaty, has practiced the “Shanghai Spirit”, stayed true to its original aspirations, with its member states promoting peace and common development. The SCO has become an important and constructive force in regional and international affairs.
In recent years, under the strategic leadership of their heads of state, SCO members have made fruitful achievements in defense cooperation. First, the communication mechanisms operate smoothly. Despite the impact of the pandemic, the member states have maintained close communications through the defense ministers’ meeting, the chiefs of general staff meeting (chiefs of the Joint Staff), regular video meetings of departments of international military cooperation, and meetings of expert working groups. Second, practical cooperation proceeds steadily. The SCO members have carried out extensive exchanges and cooperation in such areas as education and training, border defense cooperation, and military justice. The “Fanfare for Peace” military tattoo and “Peace Mission” joint counter-terrorism exercise have made greater success in promoting exchanges and mutual learning among militaries of SCO members and winning recognition in the world. Third, solidarity and coordination have grown stronger. Through timely coordinating their stances on major international security issues and uttering a unified “SCO voice”, the SCO members have collectively played a positive role in safeguarding regional and global security and stability.
When your heart knows its direction, the distance to destination will never be long The Chinese side stands ready to work with the defense departments and militaries of SCO members to promote the “Shanghai Spirit”, practice the Global Security Initiative, and continue to deepen defense cooperation. The SCO members will make joint efforts to promote common and universal security, build a closer SCO community of shared future and advance peaceful development in the region and the world.
Question: It is reported that during a bilateral meeting with Russian President Vladimir Putin in Samarkand, Chinese President Xi Jinping noted that China and Russia have maintained effective strategic communication and made steady progress in bilateral cooperation in various fields. In addition, according to foreign media reports, China and Russia discussed military exchanges and cooperation during the recent 17th round of China-Russia strategic security consultation. Please tell us more about the exchanges and cooperation between the Chinese and Russian militaries.
Answer: China and Russia are both committed to opposing hegemonism and power politics, and preserving international fairness and justice. Both countries have played a key role in building a new type of international relations and the community with a shared future for mankind. In recent years, exchanges and cooperation between the Chinese and Russian militaries have grown stronger. The two sides have elevated strategic communication to new levels, made new breakthroughs in practical cooperation, and achieved new progress in institution building. This year, the two countries organized the fourth joint strategic air patrol. The Chinese military participated in the Vostok (East)-2022 exercise in Russia, and hosted some events of and took part in the International Army Games 2022. Going forward, the Chinese side will make joint efforts with the Russian side to comprehensively implement the important consensus reached by the two heads of state, reinforce mil-to-mil strategic communication, and continue to carry out practical cooperation in different fields, so as to add new strategic significance to bilateral relations and maintain global and regional peace and stability.
Question: After a 6.8-magnitude earthquake hit Luding County, Ganzi Tibetan Autonomous Prefecture, Sichuan Province, on September 5, the PLA and the People’s Armed Police Force (PAP) immediately sent troops to the disaster-hit area for rescue and relief. Please tell us more about that.
Answer: At 12:52 pm, September 5, a 6.8-magnitude earthquake hit Luding County in Ganzi Tibetan Autonomous Prefecture of China’s Sichuan Province, affecting 12 counties and covering 15,000 square kilometers. President Xi Jinping paid close attention to the rescue and relief efforts. He gave important instructions and required competent authorities to prioritize rescuing local people. The Joint Command Center of the CMC and the PLA Western Theater Command acted on his order and activated the emergency response mechanism. The PLA and the PAP immediately sent troops to participate in rescue and relief. To date, they have relocated more than 15,000 people, provided medical treatment to 882 people, set up 3,156 tents, transported over 1,600 tons of supplies, and cleared 89km of roads. Normal order in the quake-hit areas has been basically restored.
The people’s military always puts people first and stands up to its missions. Bearing in mind the fundamental purpose of serving the people wholeheartedly, the people’s military will always prioritize people’s safety and resolutely accomplish the missions and tasks entrusted by the Party and the people.
Question: We noticed that the Chinese military has recently released a promotional video titled the PLA. Please tell us more.
Answer: The promotional video, the “PLA”, highlights the theme of our time for peace and development. It echoes the wish for peace and resentment for war of people all over the world in a time of great changes and the once-in-a-century pandemic. The video shows the efforts of the Chinese military in international peacekeeping operations, maritime vessel protection missions, international cooperation in fighting the pandemic, and humanitarian aid. It demonstrates from different perspectives that the PLA has always been a staunch force for world peace. By advocating peace, the common value of all mankind, the video presents people’s aspiration for and commitment to peace with real scenes and portraits of everyday people, striking a chord in the hearts of people of different countries and ethnic groups.
The world is not free of conflicts, and peace needs to be defended. No matter what happens in the world, China’s resolve to safeguard national sovereignty, security and development interests will not change, nor will its confidence in preserving world peace and promoting common development. Committed to the principle of win-win cooperation, the Chinese military will take concrete actions to fulfill its responsibility as the military of a major country, and provide more public security goods to the international community within its capacity, so as to contribute to world peace and serve the building of the community with a shared future for mankind.
Question: Recently, there have been some reports in the media on the development of China’s aircraft carriers in the past ten years since the PLANS Liaoning, the navy’s first aircraft carrier, was commissioned. Please share with us more details.
Answer: Since the PLANS Liaoning was commissioned ten years ago, the PLA Navy has realized leapfrog progress in developing aircraft carriers, completed transformation from refitting to indigenous development, and entered the era of three aircraft carriers. In the past decade, the Navy has closely focused on its missions and tasks, actively explored ways to use aircraft carrier task forces, regularly organized training for the cultivation of combat capabilities, and deepened the research of operational deployment in far seas. It will resolutely defend national sovereignty, security and development interests, and firmly safeguard world peace and development.
Ten years on, China’s aircraft carriers have sailed through wind and waves, and will continue to facilitate the PLA Navy’s pursuit for its dream.
Question: Days ago, the ninth batch of remains of the Chinese People's Volunteers (CPV) martyrs were carried home for burial from the Republic of Korea (ROK) by Y-20 transport aircraft of the PLA Air Force (PLAAF). This news attracted great public attention. Please share with us more details.
Answer: The country has been safe and prosperous, and it is high time for the heroic souls to return to hometown. On September 16, escorted by two J-20 fighter jets, the ninth batch of remains of the CPV martyrs were carried back to China from the ROK by the PLAAF’s Y-20 transport aircraft, which was part of the solemn tributes paid to these fallen heroes. On September 17, the remains of 88 martyrs were buried and would thereafter rest in peace in Shenyang CPV Martyrs’ Cemetery. People from all walks of life expressed their condolences and admiration by diverse means in memory of history and in honor of the heroes.
September 30th is China's Martyr's Day. Countless heroes sacrificed their lives for national independence, freedom and happiness of the people, and prosperity of the country. Their merits will always shine in the annals of history, and their spirit will surely be immortal. Bearing the martyr’s achievements and spirit in mind, Chinese service members will resolutely fulfill the missions and tasks entrusted by the Party and the people, and work hard on realizing the Party's goal of building a strong military in the new era.
Question: Recently, Chinese troops participated in the Vostok (East)-2022 exercise in Russia, which has attracted great attention from domestic and foreign media. Please give us more details on the features and highlights of the Chinese military’s participation in this event.
Answer: According to the annual cooperation plan between the Chinese and Russian militaries, the PLA sent troops to Russia to participate in the Vostok(East)-2022 exercise at the Sergeevsky training ground in Ussuriysk and in waters of the Sea of Japan from August 31 to September 7. A total of 14 countries, including China and Russia, participated in the event. In an unfamiliar and complex environment, the Chinese side carefully organized competent command, combat and support forces, in accordance with the requirements of all-round coverage, multi-level participation, system support and all-element coordination. We conducted cross-border force projection, operation planning, force maneuver and field support. This exercise comprehensively improved the PLA’s ability to carry out military operations abroad. During the exercise, staff members in joint operational command of multinational forces worked together to study and discuss tactics and methods. Participating forces from various countries conducted joint live exercise with close contacts and deep integration. All these have greatly contributed to sharing experience and improving friendship.
To improve strategic mutual trust and jointly maintain world peace and stability, China will continue to take an open and friendly attitude and have wide military cooperation and exchanges with more countries.
Question: It is reported that State Councilor and Defense Minister General Wei Fenghe recently met with Pakistani Chief of Army Staff General Qamar Javid Bajwa in China. General Wei expressed his sympathies over the severe floods hitting Pakistan and spoke highly of the bilateral military relations. Please share with us more details.
Answer: On September 19, State Councilor and Defense Minister General Wei Fenghe met with General Qamar Javed Bajwa, Chief of Army Staff of the Pakistan Army in Xi'an. China and Pakistan are all-weather strategic cooperative partners and iron friends. Under the guidance of the leaders of the two countries, China and Pakistan have always stood with each other through thick and thin and respected and supported each other on issues concerning security and core interests. Relations between the two militaries have maintained a sound momentum in recent years, with fruitful achievements made in high-level exchanges, institution building, joint exercises and training, and equipment and technical cooperation. The ever-growing strategic coordination and practical cooperation of the two militaries are conducive to improving both sides’ capabilities to jointly cope with various risks and challenges, thereby safeguarding regional peace and stability.
China and Pakistan have always shared weal and woe and looked out for each other. As Pakistan making every effort to fight the severe floods, the Chinese military will maintain close communication with its Pakistani counterpart and fully support the Pakistani military in disaster relief. We believe that the Pakistani people will surely prevail over the floods and rebuild their homes at an early date.
Question: It is reported that the PLA National Defense University recently held a webinar for higher military academies from China and Arab countries. Please share with us relevant situation.
Answer: On September 28, the seminar for higher military academies from China and Arab countries was successfully held in Beijing via video link. The webinar was hosted by the National Defense University of the PLA with the theme of "Strengthening Cooperation in Higher Military Education and Promoting a China-Arab Community of Shared Future". Leaders of higher military academies from16 Arab countries attended the event and exchanged views on the theme.
This webinar mainly has three characteristics. First, it has built consensus. The participants agreed that in the face of the current complex and sensitive international situation, China and Arab countries should jointly implement the Global Security Initiative (GSI) and promote the building of a China-Arab Community of Shared Future. Second, it has deepened military mutual trust. All parties signified the need to further strengthen China-Arab military and security cooperation and the willingness to make positive contributions to maintaining international and regional peace and stability. Third, it has promoted exchanges and cooperation. All parties emphasized that they would continue to promote exchanges and cooperation between Chinese and Arab military academies, and jointly discuss new ideas and measures for military talent cultivation, in an effort to push forward the modernization of their national defense and armed forces.
Question: The PLAAF transport aircraft Y-20 recently attended the Airpower22 air show in Austria, which has attracted great attention. Could you please brief us on more details about Y-20’s overseas missions in recent years?
Answer: In early September, a PLAAF Y-20 transport aircraft went to participate in an international air show in Europe for the first time. This has drawn great attention and people from many countries went to airshow to see the plane. On the new journey of strengthening and revitalizing the Chinese armed forces, the Y-20 has made its tracks throughout Asia, Africa, Europe and Oceania. In the fight against COVID-19, Y-20 aircraft flew to Asia and Africa to deliver medical supplies and COVID-19 vaccines to many countries, faithfully implementing the vision of building a community with a shared future for mankind. In international humanitarian relief, Y-20 went to Tonga, Afghanistan, and Pakistan to deliver hope and friendship which demonstrated China's commitment as a major country. For three consecutive years,Y-20 transported the remains of the CPV martyrs back to China. In particular, this year, it formed a three-aircraft formation with two escorting J-20 fighter jets at a low altitude of 200m, paying the martyrs a great national tribute. The “eagle of peace” is spreading its wings toward the sky. The Y-20 has flown over oceans to build bonds with the people across the world. It has become an important symbol of the PLAAF's efforts to get stronger, a name-card representing the Chinese military and a window for the outside world to understand the Chinese military.
Question: It is reported that the Chinese military recently sent a delegation to the 44th World Congress on Military Medicine in Belgium. Please brief us on that.
Answer: In early September, the Chinese military sent a military medical delegation to attend the 44th World Congress on Military Medicine in Brussels, Belgium. During the meeting, the delegation had discussions and exchanges with the International Committee of Military Medical (ICMM), listened to work reports of the six regional working groups (RWG) of the ICMM, including Pan Asia Pacific RWG and Pan European RWG, as well as reports from five technical commissions (TCs) including TC for administration and logistics, and TC for pharmacy. They reviewed suggestions on management rules and regulations as well as future work plans. An expert from the PLA Academy of Military Sciences was unanimously elected as the chairman of the Commission on Administration and Medico-Military Logistics of the ICCM; two experts made reports on-site on topics of anti-infection and phage therapy on the battlefield, and front-line combat wound treatment.
Medicine knows no borders, and doctors share a benevolent heart. The Chinese military will continue to make positive efforts to promote regional and world military medical exchanges, join hands with all parties to address global public health challenges, and further promote the building of a community of health for mankind.
Question: It is reported that the frontline troops of the Chinese and Indian militaries in the area of Jianan Daban have disengaged. Some analysts believed that this is conducive to easing tensions between the two countries. What’s your comment on this?
Answer: According to the consensus reached in the 16th Round of China-India Corps Commander Level Meeting, the frontline troops of the two militaries in the area of Jianan Daban recently staged disengagement simultaneously. This is an outcome achieved by the two sides in resolving border issues through diplomatic and military consultations and negotiations at different levels, which is conducive to promoting peace and tranquility in the border areas. China hopes both sides will continue to work together in the same direction, bearing in mind the overall interest of the relations between the two countries and two militaries, strictly abide by the agreements and consensus reached by the two sides, maintain communication and dialogue, effectively manage differences, and jointly safeguard security and stability in border areas.
Question: According to media reports, in order to strengthen “support" for Taiwan, the US State Department has approved new arms sales to Taiwan. US and Canadian warships recently sailed through the Taiwan Strait. The US Senate Foreign Relations Committee reviewed and passed the Taiwan Policy Act of 2022, which includes provisions such as providing military financing to Taiwan and expediting the processing of requests for arms purchases from Taiwan. What’s your comment, please?
Answer: The relevant actions of the US side have seriously violated China's sovereignty and territorial integrity, and severely harmed the relationship between the two countries and the two militaries. China is deeply concerned and firmly opposed to these actions and has lodged solemn representations with the US. In recent years, some people in the US have violated international law and basic norms governing international relations, violated the one-China principle and the three China-US joint communiqués, and betrayed their serious political commitment to China on the Taiwan question. They have stubbornly adhered to the strategy of containing China with Taiwan, hollowed out the one-China principle, strengthened military collusion with Taiwan, and instigated the Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) authorities to intensify cross-Strait confrontation. These provocative actions are very dangerous and extremely harmful. The Taiwan question is an internal affair that matters on China's core interests. China will resolutely take countermeasures against the erroneous actions of the US. We urge the US side to stop its military collusion with the DPP authorities. Otherwise, the US side shall be responsible for the serious consequences.
Question: It is reported that Taiwan’s defense authority recently submitted an annual report on mainland’s military power to Taiwan’s legislature. It claimed in the report that the mainland had seriously threatened Taiwan's defense security and peace and stability across the Taiwan Strait by conducting exercises to simulate preventing foreign troops from assisting Taiwan in case of war. In addition, according to Taiwan media reports, Taiwan’s defense budget for the year 2023 will increase significantly, with an increase of 13.9%. What's your comment, please?
Answer: The relevant report deliberately exaggerated the so-called mainland's military threat to Taiwan, confused the right and wrong, and intensified the tension and confrontation across the Taiwan Strait, which are extremely irresponsible. Taiwan is an inalienable part of China's territory. "Taiwan independence" separatist forces and their activities composite the biggest obstacle to national reunification and a severe risk to national rejuvenation. The PLA's military exercises in the waters and airspace near China’s Taiwan Island are a legitimate and necessary response to the continuous provocations by the "Taiwan independence" separatist forces, and a just move to safeguard national sovereignty and territorial integrity. No one has the right to make irresponsible remarks in this regard.
The DPP authorities have distorted and denied the 1992 Consensus, colluded with external forces and made continued provocations to seek "Taiwan independence". This is the root cause of the current tensions and instability across the Taiwan Strait. There will always be trouble until he who stirs it up is removed. And there will be no peace across the Taiwan Strait unless the "Taiwan independence" separatist forces are eradicated. The PLA’s determination to safeguard national sovereignty and territorial integrity is rock-solid. As long as the DPP authorities and the "Taiwan independence" separatists continue to seek so-called independence by military means, the PLA's military countermeasures will surely not stop.
In the golden autumn of October, our great country is going to celebrate its 73rd birthday, and the 20th National Congress of the Communist Party of China is about to be convened. On such an important occasion, I would like to extend holiday wishes to you all! At the same time, the Party and the people may rest assured that all Chinese service members will always bear in mind their missions and tasks, and fulfill their duty for the prosperity of the country and the well-being of the Chinese people.