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Remarks by H.E. Ambassador Liu Xiaoming at the Reception for the 26th Chinese Naval Escort Taskforce: For World Peace and A More Splendid "Golden Era"
2017/10/04
  West India Quay,London  3 October 2017


Vice Admiral Ben Key,
Rear Admiral Wang Zhongcai,
Admirals, Generals,
Ladies and Gentlemen:

Good evening!

It is such a great pleasure to join you at the deck reception for the Chinese Navy fleet.

On behalf of the Chinese Embassy, may I first of all extend my very warm welcome to the 26th Escort Taskforce of the Chinese Navy.

May I also express my heartfelt appreciation to the Royal Navy for all the thoughtful arrangements for the visit!

This is the fourth Chinese Naval fleet to visit Britain, but definitely the first to call at London. As Chinese Ambassador, I feel hugely honoured to greet the Chinese Navy fleet in Britain for the second time.

The 26th Escort Taskforce consists of three ships:

  •  FFG Huanggang and FFG Yangzhou, the two missile frigates we see here,
  •  and the AOR Gaoyouhu, berthed at King George V Dock in the London Docklands. 
  •    They are all part of China's new generation of principle ships. They represent the best of China's naval prowess.

These Chinese Navy ships have just fulfilled an escort mission in the Gulf of Aden and off the coast of Somalia. Traveling thousands of miles, they are here to deliver three messages:

First, their mission is to uphold peace.

  •  The 26th Escort Taskforce set off from China on 1 April.
  •  In over four months' time, they provided security escort to 65 Chinese and foreign vessels in 43 groups.
  •  They handed over three suspected pirates.
  •  They fulfilled a number of special tasks and extended their escort mission.

Since 2008, more than 22 thousand officers and sailors, and 86 navy ships have taken part in 27 escort missions to the Gulf of Aden and the waters near Somalia. They have effectively cracked down on piracy and offered protection to 1074 groups of Chinese and foreign merchant vessels.

Just six days ago, the 27th Escort Taskforce successfully dealt with a suspected pirate attack. The merchant vessels under their protection included a British container.

This is a latest example of the efforts of the Chinese Navy fleet. They are widely regarded as providing "a trustworthy protective umbrella" for merchant ships worldwide. And for this, they have been conferred with the "Special Award for Shipping and Human Services" by IMO.

Second, their mission is to deepen friendship.

During the mission, the 26th Escort Taskforce had extensive contacts and exchanges with other naval forces, including the EU Combined Task Force 465. Such exchanges have helped increase understanding and build deeper trust and friendship.

After completing the escort mission, the 26th Taskforce began its four-country tour to Belgium, Denmark, Britain and France.

Here in London, the Chinese navy will hold a number of events, including an open day and meetings with their British counterparts and with the wider British public.

Paying friendly visits upon completion of the escort mission has been a tradition since the 2nd Escort Taskforce. Over the years, these visits have taken the Chinese Navy ships to nearly one hundred countries and helped spread friendship all around.

Third, their mission is to expand cooperation.

Military exchanges and cooperation have become an indispensable part of the China-UK "Golden Era". Recent years have seen frequent military exchanges at all levels and ever growing cooperation between our two militaries.

Our two militaries worked together effectively in such fields as counter-terrorism, anti-piracy, disaster relief and so on. We had closer exchanges in professional skills and personnel training.

This year marks the 45th anniversary of China-UK Ambassadorial diplomatic relationship. It is also a year for consolidating the China-UK "Golden Era".

This visit of the Chinese Navy Escort Taskforce will surely enrich our military-to-military ties and contribute to the building the "Golden Era".

Horatio Nelson has a famous saying:

   "England expects that every man will do his duty."

We live in a complex and changing world, a world far from being a safe place due to conventional and non-conventional security threats.

In such a world, Chinese and British military forces must work closely together. It is our shared responsibility to safeguard world peace and stability. This will not only serve the interests of our two countries but also benefit the whole world.

Tomorrow will be the Mid-autumn Festival, a traditional Chinese festival for family reunion. Here I would like to wish everyone a very happy Mid-autumn Festival.

Now may I invite you to join me in a toast

   To the successful visit of the Chinese Navy fleet,
   To a splendid future for China-UK relations and the relations between our two militaries, and
   To the health and success of everyone present tonight!

   Cheers!


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