China appreciates all foreign aid sent to earthquake-hit areas of Sichuan province and will respond positively to relief offers from foreign militaries, the defense ministry's spokesman said on Wednesday.
"We appreciate the aid and support from foreign governments, people and militaries to the areas affected by the quake in Sichuan," Hu Changming, spokesman for the Ministry of National Defense, said at a briefing to foreign military attachs on the Chinese military's disaster relief operation.
"If a foreign military is willing to offer help, we will respond positively following diplomatic procedures," he said in an answer to an attach's question.
A US military plane carrying more than $700,000 worth of aid landed in Chengdu on Sunday as the first foreign military relief package to arrive.
Several other countries have also dispatched military cargo planes packed with urgently needed materials.
Hu said the Chinese government and military have been open and candid in handling the earthquake.
"The international community's access to information is smooth, and China is open to international material and personnel aid," he said.
"I believe you have seen a more open and confident Chinese military."
Hu made his debut as the defense ministry's spokesman on Sunday at a press conference held by the State Council's Information Office.
The briefing on Wednesday was the first hosted by the defense ministry's newly formed Information Office.
Several other senior officers, including Major General Ma Jian, deputy director of the Operations Department of the General Staff Headquarters, Air Force Senior Colonel Cheng Junxiang, and the Armed Police headquarters' Senior Colonel Zhang Jinliang also joined yesterday's briefing.
Some 61 military attachs from 47 foreign embassies in Beijing attended.
Before it began, the attachs and their Chinese colleagues observed a minute's silence for the victims of last week's devastating earthquake.
Many attachs photographed an aerial shot of the epicenter and a map revealing troop distribution in quake-hit areas.
Many took notes during the briefing and a number of attachs filmed it.
Branko Gacak, defense attach with the Croatian embassy and acting head of the foreign military attach corps in Beijing, said he was impressed by the Chinese military's performance since the May 12 disaster.
"According to my knowledge from watching Chinese channels, although unfortunately I cannot understand what they are talking about.
"I can feel what they are feeling, and I can see what they are doing," Gacak said.
"I'd like to express our support to our fellow PLA and armed police troops which have done an outstanding job in support and assistance of the people in quake-affected areas."
Foad Baag, defense attach with the Pakistani embassy, spoke highly of the briefing and said information on the military's relief work is very open and helpful.
"The information is extremely useful because it gives us an official account of the relief efforts," he said.
(China Daily May 22, 2008)