MIL-OSI China: Defense Ministry Spokesperson’s Remarks on Recent Media Queries Concerning the Military 2024-06-16 On the afternoon of June 14, spokesperson for the Ministry of National Defense Senior Colonel Zhang Xiaogang answered recent media queries concerning the military.

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Source: People’s Republic of China – Ministry of National Defense 2

On the afternoon of June 14, spokesperson for the Ministry of National Defense Senior Colonel Zhang Xiaogang answered recent media queries concerning the military.

I have three pieces of news to announce at the top.

Firstly, the Ministry of National Defense will host a seminar for senior military officers from China and Arab States from June 18 to July 2. The Seminar, under the theme of “Future-oriented China-Arab Security Cooperation”, will be organized by the PLA National Defense University. The agenda will include themed lectures, discussions and visits. The event is designed to implement the outcomes of the China-Arab States Cooperation Forum, deepen defense cooperation between China and Arab countries and promote the building of a China-Arab community with a shared future.

Secondly, according to the annual plan and at the invitation of foreign countries, the PLA Navy hospital ship Ark Peace will carry out Mission Harmony-2024 from mid-June, 2024 to mid-January, 2025. It will visit 13 countries including Seychelles, Tanzania, Madagascar, Mozambique, South Africa, Angola, the Republic of Congo, Gabon, Cameroon, Benin, Mauritania, Djibouti and Sri Lanka, and provide medical service to local people. It will also make port calls to France and Greece. This will be the 12th overseas mission for Ark Peace since its commissioning and is a solid step taken by the PLAN to implement the Global Security Initiative and contribute to the building of a maritime community with a shared future.

Thirdly, at the invitation of the Tonga Royal Navy, the PLAN guided-missile destroyer Zibo  will set sail in mid-June for Tonga to participate in celebrations of the 50th anniversary of the Tonga Royal Navy, a step to further enhance the friendly exchanges and pragmatic cooperation between the two navies.

On the afternoon of June 14, spokesperson for the Ministry of National Defense Senior Colonel Zhang Xiaogang answered recent media queries concerning the military.

Question: The US House Budget Committee announced the FY 2025 defense budget draft which redirected USD 18 billion to programs and activities that counter China and other near-peer adversaries. The US Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff lately said that the five key challenges for US including China, Russia and Iran, are very active and in some cases working together. Please comment on that.

Zhang Xiaogang: Creating imaginary enemies and stirring up bloc confrontation are familiar pages from the old playbook of the US, which reveals its engrained Cold War mentality and hegemonism. It must be emphasized that we are strongly opposed to the US making an issue of China and taking China as an “imaginary enemy”. China follows a path of peaceful development and pursues a national defense policy that is defensive in nature. China’s development is not targeted at or posing a threat to any party. The Chinese military actively implements the Global Security Initiative and has extensive exchanges and cooperation with the militaries of more than 150 countries. We remain a staunch force for world peace. We urge the US side to rectify its strategic perception of China, put right the “first button” of China-US relations, and work with us in the same direction to push forward the state-to-state and mil-to-mil relations along the right track.

Question: It’s reported that the Philippine side denied that its soldiers pointed guns at China Coast Guard vessels and said that personnel stationed aboard the BRP Sierra Madre only held on to their weapons to defend themselves. In addition, the Philippine side claimed that there had been small-scale reclamation at Xianbin Jiao and the PLA recently sent a hovercraft and an aircraft to conduct exercises in the waters around Xianbin Jiao. What’s your comment on this?

Zhang Xiaogang: Nansha Qundao, including Ren’ai Jiao and Xianbin Jiao, is inherent territory of China. It’s legitimate and reasonable for the Chinese side to carry out law enforcement activities in waters under our jurisdiction. The Chinese side has made clear our principled position on this multiple times. In fact, it is the Philippine side who broke its promises, played with fire and made provocations to escalate tension. It even cooks up and spreads disinformation about Xianbin Jiao in an attempt to cover up its infringements and provocations. Such behavior is like a thief crying “stop thief” and fully shows that the Philippine side is undoubtedly the one undermining peace and creating instability. The Chinese side remains highly vigilant and will continue to take all necessary countermeasures against the dangerous, escalatory acts by the Philippine side.

Question: It is reported that the Philippine and the US marine corps recently carried out an exercise called Marine Aviation Support Activity (MASA). Manila claimed that the exercise was a deterrence against those who wanted to challenge tranquility in the region. It is also reported that the US has deployed MQ-9A Reapers to the Philippines for intelligence-sharing missions. Do you have any comment on this?

Zhang Xiaogang:  It is our consistent position that defense cooperation between countries should not target any third party or undermine regional security and stability. What the Philippines and the US said and did once again show the world who are stirring up military confrontation in the South China Sea and escalating regional tension. China never threatens anyone, and we will never be cowed by threats from anyone. We will resolutely safeguard our territorial sovereignty and maritime rights and interests.

On the afternoon of June 14, spokesperson for the Ministry of National Defense Senior Colonel Zhang Xiaogang answered recent media queries concerning the military.

Question: US President Biden said in an interview with Time magazine that he was not ruling out the possibility of using US military forces if a military conflict broke out across the Taiwan Strait. Admiral Samuel Paparo, commander of US Indo-Pacific Command, also said the US military plans to use unmanned aerial vehicles, surface vessels and underwater systems in large quantities to defend Taiwan. It is reported that 27 US defense contractors recently participated in the so-called “Taiwan-US Defense Industry Forum” in Taipei. Please comment on that.

Zhang Xiaogang: Taiwan is China’s Taiwan. Resolving the Taiwan question is a matter for the 1.4 billion Chinese people, and brooks no external interference. It must be pointed out that “Taiwan independence” is irreconcilable with cross-Strait peace as fire with water, as “Taiwan independence” means war. We urge the US side to see clearly the ambition and harm of “Taiwan independence” separatists, abide by its commitment of not supporting “Taiwan independence”, and stop sending seriously wrong signals in any form, to avoid an escalation of cross-Strait tension. We have a clear message for the DPP authorities that rejecting reunification by force is a dead end, and squandering Taiwan people’s hard-earned money on weapons – no matter how many – will be futile. The PLA has never slackened its training for combat readiness or stopped its efforts to fight “Taiwan independence” separatist forces and pursue reunification. We will not hesitate to thwart external interference, and will resolutely fulfill our mission of safeguarding national sovereignty and territorial integrity.

Question: It’s reported that Lai Ching-te recently visited troops of the Hai Feng Shore-based Anti-ship Missile Group in eastern Taiwan, took pictures with Hsiung Feng III missile vehicle and said that land forces would be used to counter PLA offenses from the sea. Head of Taiwan’s military authorities said that troops in Taiwan would “exercise the right to self-defense” in the event PLA assets enter Taiwan’s “12-nautical-mile airspace and territorial waters”. What’s your comment on this?

Zhang Xiaogang: Taiwan is part of China. How is it possible for Taiwan to have the so-called “right to self-defense”? The DPP authorities led by Lai Ching-te deliberately staged a political show to embolden itself, but such seemingly strong moves only reveal its inward weakness. The PLA remains a strong force that will take resolute countermeasures against any provocations pushing for “Taiwan independence”. The attempt of “Taiwan independence” separatist forces to resist the PLA is no different from moths flying into the fire. The more aggressive they are, the faster they will end up in self-destruction.

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