Defense Ministry's Regular Press Conference on Aug.30

Source
Ministry of National Defense
Editor
Yao Jianing
Time
2018-08-31

Senior Colonel Wu Qian, Director General of the Information Office of China's Ministry of National Defense (MND) and Spokesperson for the MND, answers reporters' questions at a monthly press conference on August 30, 2018. (eng.mod.gov.cn/Photo by Feng Kaihua)
 
(The following English text  is for reference. In case of any divergence of interpretation, the Chinese text shall prevail.)
 

Senior Colonel Wu Qian: Friends from the media, good afternoon! Welcome to this month’s regular press conference of the Ministry of National Defense (MND) of the People’s Republic of China (PRC). I would like to start today’s press conference with four announcements.

The first announcement is about the visit of the Vice Chairman of China's Central Military Commission (CMC) General Xu Qiliang to three central Asian countries.

To implement the important consensus jointly made by the Chinese President Xi Jinping, and the heads of states of three countries, namely Kazakhstan, Tajikistan, and Kyrghyzstan, General Xu Qilianng, Vice Chairman of China’s Central Military Commission (CMC), will pay official visits to the three countries mentioned above from September 1 to 9, 2018.

During his visit, Vice Chairman Xu Qiliang will have meetings and talks with states and military leaders of the three countries mentioned above, and will also visit relevant military installations. General Xu Qiliang’s visit will deepen the strategic mutual trust with these three countries, and promote the pragmatic cooperation in the military field in a substantial and deep manner.

The second announcement is on the Beijing Xiangshan Forum.

Please display the Logo of the Beijing Xiangshan Forum on the screen.

 

From October 24 to 26 this year, China Association for Military Science and the China International Institute for Strategic Society (CIISS) will co-host the 8th Beijing Xiangshan Forum. According to the schedule, a Chinese Party and State leader will attend the opening banquet of the Forum and deliver a keynote speech. General Xu Qiliang, Vice Chairman of China’s Central Military Commission, and General Wei Fenghe, Chinese State Councilor and Defense Minister, will participate in the opening ceremony and other activities of this Forum. Up till the present, sponsors of this forum have already invited defense authorities, military leaders, representatives of international organizations, former military and civilian officials as well as famous scholars from 79 countries.

The theme of this year’s Forum is “building a new-type of security and partnership featuring equality, mutual trust and win-win cooperation”. Participants will talk about new thinking and new ways of international security governance, threats and response of terrorism, reality and prospects of maritime and security cooperation, challenges and cooperation in United Nations (UN) peacekeeping operations and so on.

At the same time, participants will also exchange views and thoughts in parallel sessions of the Forum on such topics as new dynamism in Northeast Asia security, the way out for the Middle East security, the security and mutual trust mechanism of Asia-Pacific military security, artificial intelligence and the evolution of warfare forms and so forth. During the Forum, the Chinese side will also host a seminar among young officers from China and foreign countries.

The Chinese side hopes that this Forum will further strengthen strategic dialogue and communications, accumulate consensus, deepen practical cooperation, and find ways to jointly response to global challenges, and jointly maintain peace and stability. At the same time, the Chinese side will also very much welcome the coverages from the international and the domestic media during the Forum.

Finally,let me add one more thing, the Chinese side re-named the Xiangshan Forum into the Beijing Xiangshan Forum. The major consideration is that Beijing is the hosting city of the Forum, and it is also the capital city of China as well as a famous international metropolis. And this shows China’s high importance to this multilateral security dialogue. And if you need more information, please log in the official website of the Beijing Xiangshan Forum. (Chinese Website: www.xiangshanforum.org.cn; English Website: www.xiangshanforum.cn )

The third announcement is about the visit of Chief of Singapore Armed Forces to China.

At the invitation of General Li Zuocheng, member of the CMC and chief of staff of the CMC Joint Staff Department, Chief of Singapore Armed Forces Lieutenant-General Melvyn Ong will lead a delegation to visit China from September 4 to 6. During the visit, State Councilor and Defense Minister General Wei Fenghe, and Li Zuocheng, member of the CMC and chief of staff of the CMC Joint Staff Department, will meet and hold talks with him, exchanging in-depth views on the international and regional security situation and military-to-military exchanges and cooperation. In addition, Lieutenant-General Melvyn Ong and his delegation will visit the PLA Beijing Garrison, the Southern Theatre Command and other military units. The visit will help push forward bilateral relations between Chinese and Singaporean militaries and deepen strategic mutual trust.

The fourth announcement is about the China-US-Australia Joint Exercise “Kowari”.

As agreed by the defense departments of the United States and Australia, the three parties of China, the United States and Australia will hold the Joint Exercise "Kowari" in Queensland, Australia from August 29 to September 5. The joint exercise includes such training subjects as sea kayaking, canyon crossing, mountain marching, and field survival training, etc.

Now the floor is open for questions.

Question: Recently, the South China Sea issue has become a more and more heated topic. Senior officials of the US Department of Defense(DOD)made the accusation that China’s island construction harmed freedom of navigation in the South China Sea. Several US think tanks held seminars, thinking that the US military should continue its Freedom of Navigation Operations in the South China Sea. The CNN journalists took pictures in the South China Sea by a military aircraft which have been warned by the Chinese military for six times. Some critics held that it was the wind before the storm. What is your comment?

Answer: It is a fact that the islands in the South China Sea have been the Chinese territory ever since the ancient times. It is also a fact that freedom of navigation in the region has never been a problem. For a period of time, the US side has been hyping up the South China Sea issue, attempting to blame China for harming freedom of navigation in the region. I would like to point out that a lie will always remain a lie although it has been told a thousand times. The island construction by China is mainly for civilian purposes. It is reasonable and legitimate. The deployment of necessary defense facilities on these islands is also the rights a sovereign state is entitled to. It is reasonable and legitimate. When US military aircraft flew over these islands with provocation, it is also reasonable and legitimate for China to warn these aircraft according to relevant rules and regulations.

At the same time, I noticed that the US side has been ignoring the positive efforts China has made to maintain peace and stability in the South China Sea. For example, recently, we released a piece of news about China’s sending a professional search and rescue ship named as South China Sea Rescue-115 to the Nansha Islands. However, I did not find any media coverage from the US media. As far as I know, this ship has conducted three successful rescue operations, rescuing one fishing boat and four fishermen. I would like to remind the US side not to purposefully turn a blind eye to China’s efforts. China will, as always, make positive efforts to maintain peace and stability in the South China Sea.

Besides, I noticed that you quoted a Chinese poem in your question: "Before the storm comes, the wind is blowing hard." I’d also like to respond by quoting two lines from another poem: "However hard the wind blows, it will not break our pace of walking.”

Question: My question is about the joint military exercise between China and the ASEAN countries. It is reported that such exercise will be held within this year. Do you have any information for us?

Answer: The joint maritime exercise between China and the ASEAN is to take place in two phases. The first phase is a tabletop exercise, which was already conducted in the Changi naval base of Singapore from 2 to 3 of August. The second phase is a live-force exercise. It is planned to take place in Zhanjiang and its adjacent waters in late October with focus on the Code for Unplanned Encounters at Sea, joint search and rescue. The subjects of the exercise include formation maneuver, formation communication, joint search and rescue and helicopter landing on each other’s ships. All ASEAN member countries and China will participate in the exercise. This military exercise is an important action in implementing the consensus reached between defense ministers of China and the ASEAN countries in deepening security and defense cooperation as well as mutual trust. It will also help strengthen military relationship between China and the ASEAN countries; boost maritime security cooperation and enhance the joint capability in response to security threats.

Question: The “International Army Games (IAG) 2018” has already concluded. Do you have anything to say about the performance of the Chinese participating team?

Answer: The “International Army Games 2018” has come to a successful end recently. The Chinese military has participated in 22 events and competed with participating teams from Russian, Belarusian and Kazakhstani militaries. In the end, the Chinese military won first places in 4 team events, second places in 15 team events and third places in 2 team events. In addition, the Chinese military won first places in 21 individual events, second places in 18 events and third places in 8 events. Generally speaking, the result is excellent.

If you think what I just said is not enough, please watch a video chip to see the Chinese military's performance in the IAG-2018. (Click to download original video:  http://vv.chinamil.com.cn/asset/category3/2018/08/30/asset_333561.mp4 )

Question:Recently, Chinese Defense Minister General Wei Fenghe visited India. During his visit, General Wei Fenghe held talks with Indian Prime Minister and Defense Minister. How does China view the achievements of General Wei Fenghe’s visit to India? Secondly, according to Indian media reports, China and India are revising the defense agreement signed by the two governments in 2016 and it is said that a new draft has been introduced. Can you introduce the progress of the new agreement? My third question is about the Chinese and Indian military hotline. It seems that the building of the hotline has been delayed. Could you please introduce what is the reason of the delay?

Answer: From August 21 to 24, State Councilor and Defense Minister General Wei Fenghe made an official friendly visit to India. During his visit, the Indian Prime Minister Modi and Defense Minister Nirmala Sitharaman met and held talks with Defense Minister Wei Fenghe.

The two sides held in-depth discussions on further implementing the important consensus reached by President Xi Jinping and Prime Minister Modi, deepening military and security exchanges and cooperation and strengthening defense mutual trust mechanism building. Specifically, they talked about establishing the mutual visits mechanism between the defense ministers, setting up direct confidential telephone between two defense ministries, strengthening exchanges at all levels including defense authorities, theater commands and different services, setting up border hotlines between adjacent military commands, and better playing the role of defense and security consultation mechanisms and the meeting mechanism between the working delegations of defense ministries. During his visit, Defense Minister Wei also invited Defense Minister Nirmala Sitharaman to visit China.

Both China and India are important countries in Asia. Both the two countries shoulder their important responsibilities in maintaining regional peace and stability. If the dragon and the elephant dance together, the two sides benefit; and If they compete and fight with each other, it will benefit neither but others. We are willing to work together with India to actively implement consensus reached by the two heads of states, to enhance communication and coordination, to deepen mutually beneficial cooperation, to appropriately manage differences and to facilitate the development of the mil-to-mil relationship in a healthy and steady manner.

On your second question, back in 2006, China and India signed a memorandum of understanding on defense exchanges and cooperation. Recently, the Indian side conveyed its willingness to sign a new version of MOU. China has positive attitude toward it. The two sides are in communication with each other.

On your third question, I have mentioned it when answering your first question. In the next phase, the two sides will communicate and coordinate with each other regarding the specifics.

Question:The Beijing Summit of the Forum on China-Africa Cooperation will soon to be hold. I‘d like to know how you would comment on the current military relationship between China and African countries.

Answer:President Xi Jinping remarked that China and Africa have always been a community with shared future of which the military relationship between China and Africa is an important component. Looking back, the history has seen the sincerity, friendliness and brotherhood between the Chinese and African countries’ militaries. The military cooperation between China and Africa countries had made historical contributions to these countries to cast off the yoke of colonialism and fight for their national liberation and independence.

In the future, the Chinese military will continue to help African countries to reinforce the independent security construction and will have more cooperation with African countries in many fields such as personnel training, logistics, escort missions, peacekeeping operations, health care, and humanitarian relief, in order to open up a new era of the military relations between China and Africa, make positive contributions to peace and security of Africa and the world.

 

Now I’d like to share with you something happening in Sino-Africa Friendship Primary School of Sudan. Actually, the story happened 11 years ago in 2007 when China’s first peacekeeping engineer detachment to Darfur of Sudan arrived at their mission area and upon arrival they found that there was not a regular primary school in Nyala, the city nearby their camp. Seeing the eager eyes of the local children, they decided to raise money and build a primary school for the children.

With the assistance and help from all sides, the Sino-Africa Friendship Primary School was eventually completed in 2009. Since then each batch of Chinese peacekeepers has come there to talk with the kids, maintains their school facilities and delivers stationery sports goods. Up to now, thousands of students have graduated from the school and the school has also become another witness and epitome of the friendship between China and Africa.

Question: On August 20, the Ministry of National Defense released a piece of news, saying that China would participate in the strategic exercise code-named Vostok-2018 in Russia. Please brief us on the force projection.

Answer:We actually have done some preparations. I will explain to you with the help of a map. (Insert piture)

 

 

According to the execution plan, the Chinese participating troops will be projected across the border in three ways: railway, road and aviation. Currently, the majority of participating troops has already been deployed in Russia. By railway, we’ve projected 28 groups of more than 3000 people, 900 pieces of weaponry and equipment. They were sent to Zabaikalsk, Chita and Stepy via Manchuria. And then they were deployed to the designated place by motorcycles. 30 fixed wing aircraft and helicopters were transported to the Chitta Airport and Stepy Airport.

I hope I have made a satisfying reply to your question.

Question: The Guideline on Opening the Military Facilities of the Chinese People’s Liberation Army has already released to the public and the first barracks open day activity has recently been held in Wuhan, Hubei Province. I wonder if there will be any future open day activities and which military barracks will open to the public visit.

Answer: According to the Guideline on Opening the Military Facilities of the Chinese People’s Liberation Army and with the approval of the Central Military Commission, the Chinese military opens the first group of more than 600 military barracks to public society this year. The 600-odd barracks are located in multiple cities in 31 provincial regions across China. The Army, Navy, Air Force and the Rocket Force of the PLA as well as the People’s Armed Police Force participated in the open day plan with multiple-level units of division, brigade, regiment, battalion and company involved.

In the next step, these approved military units will decide the open day timing flexibly according to their training requirement while considering the special needs for festivals and holidays and memorial days. Once the open day time is finalized, they will be jointly released by both local defense educational authorities and the military units.

Actually, the most recent open day activity is being hosted by the PLA Air Force. Starting from today, the Air Force is hosting an open day activity called “Catching Dreams in the Sky” in Changchun, Jilin Province. During the open day, visitors will be offered flight shows put on by the Bayi Acrobatic team of the PLA and two acrobatic teams from the Air Force Aviation University. The PLA Air Force will also showcase part of its armaments at the open day activity. The Air Force Aviation University will open to the public visit some of its campus installations including teaching buildings, cadet’s dormitory and training facilities. You are all welcome to the barracks to get a close look at the Chinese military and the Chinese soldiers.

Question: Recently, foreign media reported that the Chinese navy's "surveillance ship" and warships have visited the Pacific island countries and increased the navigation frequency in that area. And there was speculation that the Chinese PLA might build naval bases or facilities in the Pacific island countries. Can you comment on this? What is China's strategic goal there?

Answer: The Chinese vessels’ activities are completely reasonable and lawful. China adheres to the path of peaceful development, firmly pursues a national defense policy that is defensive in nature and does not seek hegemony or sphere of influence.