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Remarks by H.E. Ambassador Liu Xiaoming at the Reception Marking the 90th Anniversary of the People's Liberation Army: Work Together for World Peace in China-UK "Golden Era"
Chinese Embassy, 27 July 2017
2017/07/27

General Richard Felton,

Major General Giles Hill,

Air Vice Marshal Warren James,

Generals, Admirals and Military Attachés,

Ladies and Gentlemen:

A very warm welcome to the Chinese Embassy!

It is a great delight to have you with us tonight to celebrate the 90th anniversary of the Chinese People's Liberation Army.

Ninety years ago, the Chinese nation was at a life-or-death moment. The Nanchang Uprising in 1927 marked the beginning of the independent armed struggle led by the Communist Party of China. It also marked the founding of the armed forces which later became the PLA.

Ninety years on, tremendous changes have taken place. It has been an extraordinary historic journey for the PLA.

The ninety years have seen a long, arduous and heroic struggle.

  • Led by the Communist Party of China, the PLA has made indelible historic contribution to the liberation of the Chinese nation, to safeguarding China's development and reforms and to upholding China's sovereignty, security and development interests.
  • From the Long March to the Three Great Battles, and from disaster rescue to patrolling the South China Sea, the PLA has withstood all kinds of tests.
  • The PLA soldiers have dedicated themselves to the country and people.
  • The PLA is an army of victory and iron discipline, and an army of peace.

The ninety years have seen the PLA grow from strength to strength.

  • The PLA today consists of five different services, namely, the Army, the Navy, the Air Force, the Rocket Force, and the Strategic Support Force.
  • It is now a modern military force with advanced weaponry and professional administration and operation.
  • It aims to become a top-notch military force with extensive IT application.
  • It has built up a strong capability to cope with different security threats and to carry out various kinds of military tasks.

Looking ahead, China aims:

  • To build a defense force that matches China's international standing,
  • To ensure that the defense force meets the need of protecting China's security and development interests,
  • To further advance reform of China's defense system and military force,
  • And to provide a strong safeguard as China strives to realize the Chinese dream of national renewal and achieve the "two centenary goals".

Ladies and Gentlemen,

President Xi Jinping recently said this:

"China will do well only when the world does well, and vice versa."

Today, China remains committed as ever to world peace and common development. China's military force, the PLA, remains a steadfast force to ensure world peace and stability.

First, China stays committed to the independent foreign policy of peace. China's defense policy remains defensive in nature.

  • In recent decade, China's military expenditure accounted for only 1.32% of GDP. That was far below the 2.4% world average. China's per capita military spending was only one eighteenth of the US and one ninth of the UK.
  • China's defense and military development is not targeted at any other country. It poses no threat to others. It will never go beyond the scope of ensuring China's own national security.

Second, China pursues a new security concept that focuses on common, comprehensive, cooperative and sustainable security.

China believes that no country can base its security on the instability of other countries.

  • China will continue to advocate peace, development, cooperation and mutual benefits.
  • China will promote the idea of building an international community of shared future.
  • China will work for international relations that regard win-win cooperation as the cornerstone.
  • The PLA is now engaged in international military and security dialogues more closely than ever before.
  • But the military-to-military ties we seek to strengthen are not based on alliance. They are not confrontational. They are not targeting any third country.
  • We are working for a fair and effective system of collective security and mutual trust.
  • Towards this end, we are building mechanisms of emergence notification, risk prevention and conflict control.
  • We are actively expanding military and security cooperation.

All these endeavors will help put in place a security environment that serves peace and development for all.

Third, China will make great efforts to advance international cooperation on military and security.

The PLA is already working with other military forces in response to different security challenges. These include both traditional and non-traditional challenges.

  • Since 2008, Chinese navy has been carrying out escort missions in the Gulf of Aden. This marks a major increase of exchanges and cooperation between the PLA and other countries in safeguarding the international sea lanes. So far, 26 Chinese fleets, including 83 naval vessels, have been sent to the Gulf of Aden and ensured the safe passage of nearly 6,400 ships from around the world. More than half of these ships are non-Chinese-owned or under the World Food Programme.
  • We are also strengthening defense and security cooperation within the Shanghai Cooperation Organization and ASEAN Regional Forum.
  • We hosted multilateral security events such as the Xiangshan Forum.

 All these endeavors have helped facilitate a security and cooperation framework in the interest of peace, stability and prosperity in Asia-Pacific.

China is also playing a constructive role on issues such as DPRK's nuclear programme, Afghanistan, Iran nuclear deal, Syria, etc, by facilitating dialogue to maintain regional peace and stability.

Fourth, China will play an active and leading role in international peacekeeping and humanitarian missions.

  • In terms of peacekeeping, China is at present the largest contributor of peacekeepers among the P5 of the UN Security Council. China is also the second largest contributor to the UN peacekeeping budget.
  • Since 1990, China has sent a total of 33,000 peacekeepers. Thirteen Chinese soldiers sacrificed their lives for peacekeeping missions. Right now, there are 2,800 Chinese soldiers serving in nine missions including those in Mali and South Sudan.
  • In terms of humanitarian operations, over the past ten years, the PLA has taken part in nearly 30 international rescue missions. Chinese soldiers were in Africa fighting the Ebola virus. They were in the Indian Ocean searching for the missing Malaysian Airline plane. They were in the capital of Maldives tackling fresh water shortage. They were in Nepal helping with the rescue operations after the devastating earthquake.

The efforts of the PLA in peacekeeping and disaster mitigation are widely recognized and acclaimed. These missions are examples of China fulfilling its responsibility as a big country.

Ladies and Gentlemen,

This year marks the 45th anniversary of the Ambassadorial diplomatic relations between China and Britain. It is also a year for consolidating the China-UK "Golden Era". In building stronger bilateral ties, we are facing new opportunities.

Not long ago, President Xi and Prime Minister May held a successful meeting during the G20 Hamburg Summit. The two leaders reaffirmed the shared commitment to building the China-UK "Golden Era". They agreed to further strengthen strategic mutual trust, and advance exchanges and cooperation in business, culture and security between our two countries.

Military ties are an important part of the China-UK "Golden Era". In recent years, bilateral military relationship has entered a fast track.

This is true in the following aspects.

  • Military-to-military exchanges at all levels have been frequent, cooperation expanded and mutual trust enhanced.
  • Exchanges and cooperation have expanded steadily to more areas across different services.
  • Our cooperation on counter-terrorism, anti-piracy, and search and rescue has been effective and fruitful.

In the coming autumn, we will be welcoming another port call by a Chinese naval escort fleet at Portsmouth. I believe this visit will further increase mutual understanding and friendship between our armed forces and strengthen military-to-military ties.

Ladies and Gentlemen,

Peace is a lofty cause and a shared aspiration of all humanity. The world today is still not free from sufferings of wars and conflicts. Global problems such as terrorism, cyber security and public health remain severe. Security threats and challenges are growing and uncertainty and instability increasing.

To ensure lasting peace and overall security, the international community, including China and Britain, must work together. Likewise, to make the China-UK "Golden Era" strong and enduring, all sectors, political, military, business, both in China and Britain must work together.

I believe that by working together, we will ensure greater progress in the relations between our two countries and between our two armed forces.

By working together, China and Britain will make more and greater contribution to world peace and prosperity.

Now may I invite you to join me in a toast:

To the 90th anniversary of the Chinese People's Liberation Army.

To the China-UK "Golden Era".

To world peace and prosperity.

Cheers!

 

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