New ministry spokesman is no man of mystery

Updated: 2015-09-24 20:18


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Although Colonel Wu Qian was confirmed as the fifth spokesman of the Ministry of National Defense more than 70 days ahead of making his debut, he has not been a mystery in the eyes of many foreign reporters.

After the revelation on the ministry's website of his updated resume on July 10, Wu talked to a number of Beijing-based foreign reporters and exchanged cards with them.

His personal highlights came into focus, including his earlier post as deputy defense attaché at the Chinese Embassy in the US, his MBA from the University of Birmingham and the fact that he "is married and has a daughter".

"It is an unstoppable trend for the Chinese military to head toward greater openness," Wu told reporters prior to the regular Q&A section of the monthly press conference on Thursday.

"I and my colleague Senior Colonel Yang Yujun, along with all the team staff of the spokespersons, will try my best to better introduce a real Chinese military to you all" Yang said.

Wu was asked 15 questions during the briefing, and topics ranged widely from China-US military ties to the South China Sea and Japan.

His proficiency in English and technical terms were demonstrated after the interpreter said: "Japan's defense force", which was incorrect. Wu quickly followed up with a correction: "Japanese Self-Defense Forces".

In an interview with Chinese media including China Daily, Wu said: "After entering the Ministry's Information Office, I've been doing my best to adapt myself to this new challenge. Also, this team has given me a huge help".

Figures familiar with Wu told China Daily they are optimistic about his capacity in boosting public relations in his new post.

Having a few contacts with Wu before, Dong Guanpeng, dean of the Academy of Media and Public Affairs under the Communication University of China, observed Wu as "a man of great knowledge, quick reaction and well-organized logic".

Zhou Qing'an, a professor of public diplomacy at Tsinghua University in Beijing, said as Wu once served as a Deputy Defense attaché at the Chinese Embassy in the US, Wu "has a clear picture of the points that may interest international media most when they are reporting about China's defense affairs".

Zhou is optimistic about future interaction between the new spokesman and the media as Wu is "eloquent", and said: "Since the Ministry is institutionalizing its press briefing mechanisms, the new role of Wu will help taking the mechanisms to the fast lane".

Wu impressed reporters when he concluded the conference by offering greetings for the upcoming Chinese traditional Mid-Autumn Day and national day.