Mil­i­tary ex­pands global role, De­fense Min­istry says

China Daily (Hong Kong) - - TOP NEWS - By ZHANG ZHIHAO zhangzhi­hao@chi­

China will con­tinue to ful­fill its in­ter­na­tional du­ties and fur­ther strengthen its mil­i­tary re­la­tion­ships with other coun­tries, the De­fense Min­istry said on Mon­day.

“China’s grow­ing ef­fort in ac­tive and prac­ti­cal mil­i­tary diplo­macy has be­come a unique way of ful­fill­ing the na­tional se­cu­rity strat­egy as well as sup­port­ing for­eign and mil­i­tary strate­gies,” min­istry spokesman Wu Qian said in a news con­fer­ence in Bei­jing.

In re­cent years, the Chi­nese mil­i­tary has be­come more open and ac­tive in in­ter­na­tional af­fairs, such as peace­keep­ing and es­cort op­er­a­tions, as well as hu­man­i­tar­ian aid, he said.

“These rep­re­sent the re­spon­si­bil­ity and pos­i­tive im­age of the mil­i­tary from a large coun­try,” Wu said.

China is par­tic­i­pat­ing in 10 United Na­tions-led peace- keep­ing mis­sions, de­ploy­ing more than 2,500 per­son­nel — more than the other four per­ma­nent mem­bers on the Se­cu­rity Coun­cil com­bined, ac­cord­ing to UN statis­tics. China also is the sec­ond-largest fi­nan­cial con­trib­u­tor to UN peace­keep­ing op­er­a­tions, ac­count­ing for about 10.3 per­cent of the to­tal peace­keep­ing bud­get in the past three years.

When asked about whether the Chi­nese mil­i­tary, es­pe­cially the Navy, has been con­duct­ing more high-pro­file voy­ages and ex­er­cises to project power, Wu dis­missed the no­tion.

“I need to em­pha­size that the Chi­nese mil­i­tary planes and ships, like those in all oth- er coun­tries, have the right to free­dom of flight and nav­i­ga­tion when trav­el­ing through non­ter­ri­to­rial wa­ters,” he said.

China and Rus­sia kicked off their an­nual naval ex­er­cises, dubbed Joint Sea, on Satur­day in the Baltic Sea. This is the first time the Chi­nese Navy is par­tic­i­pat­ing drills in Europe.

The ex­er­cise lasts un­til Fri­day and al­ready has at­tracted world­wide at­ten­tion, es­pe­cially from among NATO coun­tries. Bri­tish, Dutch and Dan­ish war­ships es­corted the Chi­nese flotilla as it made its way to the Baltic Sea, ac­cord­ing to for­eign me­dia re­ports.

Ma­jor Gen­eral Ma Gang, a pro­fes­sor at PLA Na­tional De­fense Univer­sity, said the Chi­nese Navy needs to con­duct sea drills in un­fa­mil­iar, dis­tant wa­ters to im­prove its ca­pa­bil­i­ties and bet­ter ful­fill its anti-piracy and res­cue op­er­a­tions.

“In re­cent years, the Chi­nese mil­i­tary has been able to shoul­der more in­ter­na­tional re­spon­si­bil­ity be­cause its per­son­nel and equip­ment have im­proved sig­nif­i­cantly com­pared with a decade ago,” he said.

“As a big na­tion that cher­ishes peace and sta­bil­ity, China has a duty to pro­mote peace­ful devel­op­ment around the world. But this goal is un­achiev­able with sub­par tools, so our mil­i­tary needs to train and sharpen its skills.”

are de­ployed by China in 10 United Na­tions-led peace­keep­ing mis­sions.

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