De­fense Min­istry opens door to for­eign me­dia

Move marks lat­est step in coun­try’s ef­fort to pro­mote mil­i­tary ex­changes

China Daily (Canada) - - CHINA - By ZHAO SHENGNAN zhaosheng­nan@ chi­

Un­like dozens of news con­fer­ences held by the Min­istry of Na­tional De­fense over the past three years, Thurs­day’s wel­comed for­eign cor­re­spon­dents in Bei­jing for the first time.

All of them sat in the front row of the press room.

De­scrib­ing it as “a spe­cial day”, spokesman Geng Yan­sheng be­gan the 37th monthly news con­fer­ence with a warm wel­come for the eight for­eign cor­re­spon­dents.

They rep­re­sented over­seas me­dia in­clud­ing The As­so­ci­ated Press, Reuters, Itar-Tass News Agency, the Press Trust of In­dia and Asahi Shim­bun of Ja­pan.

Geng said China hopes the move will help for­eign cor­re­spon­dents with their re­port­ing on the coun­try and its mil­i­tary and also hopes they will come to know both bet­ter.

The new vis­i­tors asked ques­tions about China’s re­la­tion­ship with other coun­tries and also about its mil­i­tary buildup.

The news con­fer­ence lasted about 20 min­utes longer than usual.

An­ton Marinin from ItarTass said in Chi­nese that all me­dia nat­u­rally pay much at­ten­tion to mil­i­tary news.

“Rus­sia and China have a lot of mil­i­tary co­op­er­a­tion, so I hope to pro­mote such co­op­er­a­tion through at­tend­ing the news con­fer­ence,” he said.

K.J.M. Varma of the Press Trust of In­dia, who has worked in China for four years, said the move is long over­due and will bring bet­ter in­ter­ac­tion be­tween China and other coun­tries, es­pe­cially In­dia, one of its neigh­bors.

“This is a place where we can prob­a­bly en­gage very closely and clear up any mis­un­der­stand­ings,” he said.

The monthly news con­fer­ences, first held in April 2011, were pre­vi­ously at­tended by 12 me­dia rep­re­sen­ta­tives from the Chi­nese main­land, four from Hong Kong, two from Ma­cao and four from Tai­wan.

The new move by the de­fense min­istry marks another step in China’s ef­forts to en­hance trans­parency and fa­cil­i­tate mil­i­tary ex­changes with the pub­lic and for­eign coun­tries.

In Novem­ber, China an­nounced spokes­men for its seven mil­i­tary branches — the Gen­eral Po­lit­i­cal De­part­ment, Gen­eral Lo­gis­tics De­part­ment, Gen­eral Ar­ma­ment De­part­ment, the navy, air force, Sec­ond Ar­tillery Force and the Armed Po­lice.

It is be­lieved that other large mil­i­tary units will also ap­point spokes­men.

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