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.)
Question: Recently, the 20th National Congress of the Communist Party of China (CPC) was successfully held. Please share with us relevant information about the campaign to study and apply the spirit of the 20th CPC National Congress by the military.
Answer: The 20th CPC National Congress is a meeting of great importance held at a critical time as the entire Party and the Chinese people of all ethnic groups embark on a new journey to build China into a modern socialist country in all respects and advance toward the Second Centenary Goal. The report delivered by comrade Xi Jinping has demonstrated the great appeal of faith, given directions and spiritual inspiration to the entire Party, the entire military and the Chinese people of all ethnic groups. It is a political declaration for the Party to bring together the Chinese people of all ethnic groups and lead them in securing new successes on a new journey. The Congress elected a new CPC Central Committee and a new CPC Central Commission for Discipline Inspection (CCDI) and passed the Resolution on the Report of the 19th CPC Central Committee, the Resolution on the Work Report of the CCDI, and the Resolution on the Revised Constitution of the Communist Party of China. At the first plenary session of the 20th CPC Central Committee, a new CPC leadership was elected. The military firmly supports the election.
In accordance with the arrangements and requirements of the CPC Central Committee and the Central Military Commission (CMC), officers and soldiers of the entire military watched or listened to the live broadcast of the meeting and carried out extensive study and discussion activities on it. Major media outlets of the military have set up columns to show the vivid scenes and practical actions of the troops at all levels in studying and implement the spirit of the 20th Congress in various forms. The campaign is in full swing across the military. Over the past 10 years in the new era, we have set the Party's goal of building a strong military in the new era, and implemented Xi Jinping Thought on Strengthening the Military and the military strategic guideline for a new era. We have upheld the absolute leadership of the CPC over the people’s military, coordinated efforts to strengthen military preparedness in all directions and domains, and carried out profound reforms of national defense and the armed forces. The people’s military has assumed new systems, a new structure, a new configuration, and a new look. We owe the great transformation over the past decade in the new era to the strong leadership of the CPC Central Committee with Comrade Xi Jinping at its core and the guidance of Xi Jinping Thought on Socialism with Chinese Characteristics for a New Era. The report to the 20th CPC National Congress says “achieving the military’s centenary goal by the year 2027”. It enriches the connotation of the CPC's goal of building a strong military in the new era and clearly marks the central tasks of the Chinese military in the next five years. It is a mission the people’s military must answer to.
From now on, studying, publicizing and implementing the spirit of the 20th CPC National Congress will be the primary political task of the Party and the military. With instructions from President Xi and specific arrangements made by the CMC, all military units are carefully planning and organizing activities to study, publicize and implement the spirit of the congress. Going forward, a promotional group organized by the military for interpreting the spirit of the 20th CPC National Congress will give its first report and start a tour of lectures. We will select delegates to the 20th CPC National Congress and outstanding political instructors from the military to give lectures for grass-roots units. We will have a special seminar on studying and implementing the spirit of the 20th CPC National Congress at the National Defense University with participation of senior military officers and organize theorists in the military to carry out research and interpretation of the spirit of the congress.
All officers and soldiers of the military will unswervingly implement the decisions and arrangements of the CPC Central Committee, the CMC and President Xi, fully implement Xi Jinping Thought on Socialism with Chinese Characteristics for a New Era and Xi Jinping Thought on Strengthening the Military, have profound comprehension of the decisive significance of the establishment of Comrade Xi Jinping's core position on the CPC Central Committee and in the Party as a whole and the guiding role of Xi Jinping Thought on Socialism with Chinese Characteristics for a New Era; strengthen our consciousness of the need to maintain political integrity, think in big-picture terms, follow the leadership core, and keep in alignment with the central Party leadership; enhance our confidence in the path, theory, system, and culture of socialism with Chinese characteristics; resolutely uphold Comrade Xi Jinping’s core position on the Central Committee and in the Party as a whole and uphold the CPC Central Committee’s authority and its centralized, unified leadership; and enforce the CMC chairman responsibility system. They will firmly obey the command of the CPC Central Committee, the CMC and President Xi Jinping, and make their contribution to achieving the military’s centenary goal by 2027 and accelerating the transformation of the people's military into a world-class military.
Question: According to media reports, the Russian Ministry of Defense said that defense ministers of Russia and China recently had a telephone conversation. What is your comment on this?
Answer: Chinese State Councilor and Defense Minister General Wei Fenghe recently had a telephone conversation with Russian Defense Minister Sergey Shoigu. They exchanged views on international and regional issues of common concern.
Question: It is reported that the CMC General Office has recently issued the newly revised Provisional Regulations on Leave of Service Members. Why is revising the regulation important? What are the differences and features of the revised version?
Answer: With the approval of the CMC, the CMC General Office has recently issued the newly revised Provisional Regulations on the Leave of Service Members, which will come into force on January 1, 2023.
The military vocation features heavy tasks and intense working pace, and many service members are separated from their families. Rest and leave is not only an important right enjoyed by service members but also an important way to generate combat capabilities. To implement the Law on the Protection of the Status, Rights, and Interests of Servicepersons, the new regulation adjusted and optimized leave policies to adapt to the latest developments in using and training the military force in the new era.
First, it is oriented to improve combat readiness. Taking into account factors such as work intensity, risk coefficient and hardship degree, the revised regulation adopts a policy of "basic leave days plus additional leave days" and gives preferential treatment to grass-roots troops and service members in special areas or on special positions. It adds a new arrangement that the annual leave can be arranged over a span of two years to ensure that all officers and soldiers can have time and opportunities to take a leave.
Second, it adopts an integrated and systematic design. The regulation redesigned leave policies for officers and NCOs. It sets vacation days for them according to their location, post and type of personnel. It also regulates the annual leave, family leave, as well as marital leave and maternity leave in accordance with relevant state and military rules, maintaining a balanced and coordinated approach.
Third, it emphasizes a better implementation mechanism. The regulation adjusted the standard and payment of financial compensation for unused leave days and prioritized planning and implementation of leave. It specified the planning, approval, supervision and accountability of leave to form a strong implementation mechanism.
Fourth, it calls to improve service for leave. A service network for military personnel on vacation will be established based on existing military and civilian guesthouses and reception agencies. The standards of travel reimbursement to visit family members will be raised for some service members in accordance with economic and social development, ensuring better implementation of the leave system.
Question: The White House recently released the US National Security Strategy 2022, claiming that China is the only competitor with both the intent to reshape the international order and the power to advance that objective , posing the most serious geopolitical challenge to the US. What is your comment on this?
Answer: The report published by the US side is full of cold war and zero-sum thinking. It deliberately exaggerates the so-called "China challenge", geopolitical conflicts and “great power competition”, maliciously creates bloc confrontation along ideological lines, and questions China's normal military development. This is a misjudgment of China-US relations and a misreading of China's development. It runs counter to the theme of our times for peaceful development and the common expectation of the international community.
As a founding member of the United Nations and a permanent member of the UN Security Council, China stays committed to the path of peaceful development. We actively participate in the reform and construction of the global governance system, and remain a staunch defender of the international system with the United Nations at its core and the international order based on international law. This has long been a consensus of the international community, and cannot be smeared by a report from one country. This report shows that the US side is still following its old path of creating enemies, ganging up allies and expanding military strength. It is promoting "integrated military deterrence", accelerating build-up of nuclear triad, making excuses for seeking and consolidating its hegemony and dominance, and prioritizing its own interests over international justice. This is in fact a major threat and a serious challenge to the international system and world order.
China and the US stand to gain from cooperation and lose from confrontation. We urge the US side to take an objective and rational view of China and China’s military development, and put into practice President Joe Biden's statement that the US does not seek a new Cold War or to change China's system, the revitalization of US alliance is not anti-China, the US does not support Taiwan independence, and it has no intention to have a conflict with China. The US side should work together with the Chinese side to bring the China-US relations back to the track of healthy and stable development.
Question: According to Japan’s Kyodo News Agency, the Japanese government is considering revising its National Security Strategy by the end of 2022. The new strategy may include policies such as “‘no unilateral change of the status quo by force will be tolerated’ over Taiwan ”, “a free and open Indo-Pacific" and “the ‘Quad’ mechanism among Australia, India, Japan and the US. What is your comment on that?
Answer: We have noticed relevant reports. For some time, the Japanese side has deliberately hyped up China-related issues like the Taiwan question. These actions grossly interfered in China's internal affairs and the so-called “China military threat”. They are out of ulterior motives and irresponsible.
Both sides of the Taiwan Strait belong to one China, and Taiwan is a part of China. The Japanese side made solemn commitments in the China-Japan Joint Declaration fifty years ago. The Government of Japan recognizes that Government of the People's Republic of China as the sole legal Government of China . The Government of the People's Republic of China reiterates that Taiwan is an inalienable part of the territory of the People's Republic of China. The Government of Japan fully understands and respects this stand of the Government of the People's Republic of China, and it firmly maintains its stand under Article 8 of the Postsdam Proclamation . Japan should abide by the basic norms of international relations and fulfill its political commitments to China, instead of interfering in the Taiwan question. It must be noted that in recent years, Japan has been keen on following up another country’s policy of containing China, and has built targeted “small groups” in the name of freedom and openness. These moves are against the common expectations of regional countries for peace, development and cooperation .
This year marks the 50th anniversary of the normalization of China-Japan diplomatic relations. The Japanese side should review its original aspiration and work with the Chinese side to implement the important consensus of “being each other’s cooperative partners, not a threat”, so as to promote bilateral relations along the right track. We urge the Japanese side to take history as a mirror and speak and act cautiously in the field of military security, and refrain from interfering in China's internal affairs, undermining China’s security interests, or undermining regional security and stability.
Question: It is reported that the National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2023 under discussion by the US Senate may include part of the “Taiwan Policy Act of 2022” adopted by the US Senate Foreign Relations Committee in September. What is your comment, please?
Answer: Recently, the US side has been making up many Taiwan-related policy bills that undermine China's sovereignty, and has intensified its efforts to use Taiwan as a pawn to contain China. In particular, some terms are intended to strengthen Taiwan’s military ties with the US and support the so-called self-defense of Taiwan. Such acts have seriously interfered in China’s internal affairs, seriously violated the one-China principle and the provisions of the three China-US joint communiqués , and seriously violated its serious political commitment to China on the Taiwan question. A country that is well aware that “a house divided against itself cannot stand” and has used force to maintain its own unity is now repeatedly breaking its promise and taking reckless actions on matters involving others’ sovereignty, unity and territorial integrity. This is typical double standards. We firmly oppose this and have made solemn representations to the US side.
Taiwan is China’s Taiwan. Resolving the Taiwan question is a matter for the Chinese, a matter that must be resolved by the Chinese. We urge the US side to stop playing with fire on the Taiwan question. The PLA remains the linchpin for safeguarding national sovereignty and territorial integrity. Any attempt to thwart China’s complete reunification will be doomed to failure.
Question: It is reported that the first Africa Air force Forum opened recently. Has the Chinese military sent representatives to this forum? Please tell us more about the exchanges and cooperation between the air forces of China and African countries.
Answer: The first Africa Air force Forum was held in Dakar, capital of Senegal, from October 26 to 27. A Chinese Air Force delegation participated in it. The forum aims to strengthen cooperation between the air forces of Africa and other countries to better cope with regional security challenges.
In recent years, the PLA Air Force (PLAAF) has fully demonstrated its goodwill of opening-up, cooperation, and exchanges through a series of bilateral and multilateral platforms, including the global air force chiefs’ conference , air shows, and joint exercises and training. It has carried out practical cooperation with foreign air forces worldwide, including those of African countries. The PLAAF has also played a positive role in international humanitarian assistance and disaster relief, regional security cooperation, and other areas. Since the outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic, the PLAAF has dispatched aircraft to deliver urgently needed medical supplies, medicines, and apparatus to many countries in Asia and Africa many times. By taking various practical measures, the PLAAF has made its due contributions to building a community with a shared future for mankind and preserving world peace.
Question: It is reported that US Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin said in an interview that the US is trying to reopen military communication channels with China and hopes that China can cooperate with the US in this regard. Please comment on that.
Answer: We’ve noticed the relevant remarks by the US side. China high values the mil-to-mil relationship with the US and is willing to communicate. However, we have principles and red lines on doing that. In response to the US side’s vicious provocations earlier on, the Chinese side has taken resolute countermeasures to safeguard its national sovereignty and dignity. Everything has its own cause and effect. The US side should bear full responsibility for the serious difficulties in the current China-US mil-to-mil relationship. If the US intends to strengthen military communication with China, it should match its words with deeds to show sincerity, respect China’s interests and major concerns, and remove the negative factors hindering the relations between the two militaries.
Question: Taiwan media reported that the 21st US-Taiwan Defense Industry Conference recently wrapped up. Sources in Taiwan revealed that the US might announce multiple arms sales to Taiwan by the end of the year. What is your comment on that?
Answer: For quite some time, the US side has repeatedly breached its political commitment of not supporting “Taiwan independence” and used the “Taiwan card” to interfere in China’s internal affairs, even sending the wrong message of helping Taiwan resist reunification by force. These bad actions have seriously harmed China’s sovereignty and security, gravely threatened peace and stability across the Taiwan Strait, posed great strategic risk to the China-US bilateral and mil-to-mil relations, and sent very wrong signals to the “Taiwan independence” separatist forces. China is severely concerned and strongly opposed to that.
This year marks the 40th anniversary of the China-US Joint Communiqué on August 17, 1982. In the communiqué, the US side clearly recognized that there is but one China, Taiwan is a part of China, and the Government of the People’s Republic of China is the sole legal government of China. The US made a clear commitment that it does not seek to carry out a long-term policy of arms sales to Taiwan, and intends to gradually reduce its arms sales to Taiwan, leading to a final resolution . Yet despite these unmistakable, unambiguous statements in the communiqué, the US has in fact broken its commitment over and over again. What’s more, in recent years, the US has hollowed out the one-China principle, conducted multiple arms sales to Taiwan, and created obstacles to China’s peaceful reunification
At the end of the day, the security of Taiwan depends on a peaceful cross-Strait relationship. America’s arms sales to Taiwan will only escalate tensions and increase risks of conflicts and confrontation in the Taiwan Strait. We urge the US side to stop arms sales to and military ties with Taiwan and refrain from making further mistakes. The PLA is closely watching the situation and will continue to take effective measures to resolutely safeguard national sovereignty and security interests.
Question: It is learned that Chinese representatives participated in the ADMM-Plus Experts’ Working Group virtual meeting on Peacekeeping Operations . Please tell us more about the defense and security cooperation between China and ASEAN.
Answer: Chinese representatives participated in the ADMM-Plus Experts’ Working Group virtual meeting on Peacekeeping Operations from October 11 to 12. At the meeting, peacekeeping experts and representatives from various countries and international organizations shared their experience and practice in implementing the Action for Peacekeeping (A4P) initiative . They discussed how to better respond to the risks and challenges in peacekeeping operations, strengthen cooperation among the ADMM-Plus members, and jointly enhance the capability of performing peacekeeping missions. In early November, China will send representatives to attend the ADMM-Plus Experts’ Working Group meeting on Military Medicine to discuss with other participants the implementation of the Medical Assistance Reserve initiative.
In recent years, China and ASEAN countries have deepened defense and security cooperation through regional dialogues and cooperation mechanisms. The Chinese military stands ready to work with its ASEAN counterparts to further enhance strategic mutual trust, improve exchange and cooperation mechanisms, and continue to take an active part in ASEAN-led cooperation on humanitarian assistance and disaster relief, peacekeeping, and mine action. We will further consolidate and substantiate China-ASEAN defense cooperation, jointly protect regional prosperity and stability, and work together to build a closer China-ASEAN community of shared future.
Question: The 101st Session of the Executive Council of the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW) recently reviewed and approved the plan for the destruction of abandoned chemical weapons (ACWs) by Japan in China beyond the year 2022. Please comment on that.
Answer: During its war of aggression against China, the Japanese militarists blatantly violated the international law and used a lot of chemical weapons on China’s soil, causing serious casualties of Chinese soldiers and civilians. After losing the war, they secretly buried or abandoned huge amounts of chemical weapons in China, which still pose a grave threat to the life and property of the Chinese people and the ecological environment. The Chinese side has been urging the Japanese side to strictly abide by the Chemical Weapons Convention (CWC) and relevant memoranda of understanding between the two governments, and to safely and thoroughly destroy the ACW sat an early date. Unfortunately, the current destruction process has far lagged behind the CWC-stipulated deadline. It has been overdue three times and will soon be overdue for the fourth time.
The 101st session of the Executive Council of OPCW reviewed and approved the plan for the destruction of ACWs by Japan in China beyond the year 2022. It shows the international community attaches importance to and supports the destruction of ACWs by Japan. The Chinese side strongly urges the Japanese side to implement this plan in a comprehensive, complete and accurate manner, honor its political and legal commitments to the international community and to China, increase input and speed up the process to eradicate the dangers caused by these Japanese ACWs as soon as possible.
Question: Foreign media reported that former Australian Prime Minister Paul Keating said recently that Australia should withdraw from the AUKUS trilateral security partnership. Otherwise, it would be a tragedy for Australia. What’s your comment, please?
Answer: The US, the UK and Australia have built the AUKUS trilateral security partnership and conducted cooperation on nuclear submarines. It has posed a serious risk of nuclear proliferation, intensified arms race and undermined peace and stability in the region, and jeopardized world peace and security. China has repeatedly expressed its firm and clear opposition to that through multiple channels.
China believes that regional mechanisms should be consistent with the trend of our time for peace and development, be conducive to improve mutual trust and cooperation between regional countries. They should not target any third party nor harm a third party’s interests. We urge the US, the UK and Australia to abandon the Cold War or zero-sum game mindset, faithfully fulfill their non-proliferation obligations, revoke relevant wrong decisions, and do more things to promote regional peace and stability.
Question: The leader of the Taiwan region Tsai Ing-wen said in the so-called October 10speech that the island would speed up its efforts to enhance military capacity and develop asymmetric combat power. It is also reported that Taiwan region’s defense authority will soon propose the budget report for 2023, which will see a massive increase in defense spending. What’s your comment, please?
Answer: We’ve noticed relevant reports. The Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) authorities have long been promoting false narratives such as “defending democracy and freedom” and “responding to threats from the mainland” to fool the people in Taiwan and mislead international public opinion for their political expediency. They are most “generous” when treating the security of Taiwan compatriots as stakes for gamble, which reflects their true intention of seeking “Taiwan independence” by force and splitting the country . These attempts and actions will never succeed because they are against the historical momentum and overall interests of the Chinese nation. They will only bring grave disasters to the Taiwan compatriots. These obstacles to peaceful reunification must be uprooted. “Taiwan independence” is a dead end while reunification is the only right path forward. The Chinese PLA will stay on high alert and take concrete actions to resolutely fulfill its sacred mission of defending national sovereignty, unity, and territorial integrity.