China hosts cadets from military academies around the world, boosting ties and mutual understanding
A total of 104 cadets from military academies in 12 countries attended a week-long exchange program in China
Young cadets, most of whom are reserve military officers in their countries, took the chance to communicate with each other
Both Chinese and foreign cadets understood each other better after the program, which might influence future bilateral relations and military relations Courtesy of Duan Wei, Huang Ji, Wang Rui a release from China’s Defense Ministry.
ICW aimed to enhance understanding, to learn from each other, to cooperate and to create a shared future. The purpose has never changed. The world needs to know China and its military; and the Chinese military also needs to go on the international stage.
These cadets live and undergo military exercises under the command of the PLA. Their training courses included gun shooting, indoor obstacle courses, field training, stimulation training of actions of the UN Peacekeeping Force and courses on Chinese traditional culture.
Most of the foreign cadets came to China for the first time and their initial impressions of China differed widely.
Liu Jinrui, a Chinese cadet born in 1996, told the Global Times, “Before coming to China, a cadet from Thailand thought that China is a closed country with no internet, no medical treatment and no freedom.”
Aside from knowing more about China, cadets from different countries used the event to communicate with each other.
Cadets from India and Pakistan talked with each other happily, and cadets from France, the Netherlands and other countries usually got together to share opinions.
Patrick from the Military School of Saint-Cyr in France said that his purpose to attend the ICW in Nanjing was to know more about China’s advanced weaponry and how they use it to meet demands of military actions in modern times. What interested him most is the Chinese soldiers – how they learn and do exercises.
The Military School of Saint-Cyr, known as Saint-Cyr, is a famous French national military academy at Coëtquidan, and was founded in Fontainebleau in 1803 by Napoleon.
Patrick is a German and was sent to study in Saint-Cyr under the EU exchange rules. He now studies international relations at Peking University.
Bie said that they arranged a parade for all the cadets from different countries to let them know that “the world is fantastic due to its differences.”
“Some foreign military officers said that they had not expected the PLA would be so open that they could take pictures of everything displayed to them,” Bie said, noting that displaying an open image of the Chinese military is very important.
The PLA was founded on August 1, 1927. That makes it much younger than the British Army, founded in 1701, and the US Army, founded in 1775.
Cadets from the PLA who attended the ICW are mostly in their 20s. They went through rigid exercises in the 2nd and 3rd year of their military academies and are physically agile and disciplined.
These cadets, although calm when attending the ICW could not hide their youthful passion.
The Chinese cadets who attended the ICW, also had a chance to learn other countries’ strengths and their development paths.
Li Minrui, born in 1998, looks like a high school student. He usually carries an iPad in his backpack and wears Xiaomi’s fitness tracker.
Li told the Global Times that he respects the late Chairman Mao Zedong and likes reading the book Misery and Glory written by Major General Jin Yinan, who is a professor from the PLA’s National Defense University.
“Talking about understanding each other is easy, but actually doing it is hard. Our communications with foreign cadets over the seven days were limited, but it is better than nothing,” Li said.
“We usually know about other countries through media reports, but through this event [ICW] we contacted each other and got to know soldiers from different countries. We can feel the differences between each other. Details showed the differences in our way of thinking, the military exercises and the leadership abilities. We could learn from these differences, sometimes to avoid disputes and sometimes for future reference,” Li said.
Zhu Yunliang, a Chinese cadet for the ICW, said that he was impressed by Patrick’s knowledge of China.
“He knows a lot about China and even about my home province, Hebei. He can talk about some interesting stories of some Chinese celebrities and often reads The Art of War, a book on ancient Chinese military tactics,” Zhu said.
In Zhu’s eyes, Patrick has good professionalism. “Although he could not
A cadet from Pakistan practices gun shooting at the 6th International Cadets Week (ICW), which was held in Nanjing, East China’s Jiangsu Province from October 28 to November 5. Top left: Cadets from different countries talk at the 6th ICW. Top right: Cadets play games together at the 6th ICW.