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Remarks by H.E. Ambassador Liu Xiaoming at the Reception Marking the 91st Anniversary of the People's Liberation Army: Safeguard Peace and Promote Development
Chinese Embassy, 26 July 2018
2018/07/27

Air Vice Marshal Warren James,

Your Excellencies,

Military Attachés,

Distinguished Guests,

Ladies and Gentlemen,

Dear Friends:

Good evening!

First of all, a very warm welcome to the Chinese Embassy!

It is a great delight to have you all with us tonight to celebrate the 91st anniversary of the People’s Liberation Army of China (PLA).

It has been nearly a century since the founding of the PLA.

In this century, the world saw much turbulence and incessant wars. There were hot wars and cold wars, regional wars and world wars. In these arduous times, mankind fought decisive battles between justice and evil, and between light and darkness.

The lesson of history is clear:

  • Peace is hard won.
  • Peace needs to be valued.
  • Peace must be safeguarded.

And the PLA has lived up to its mission in the past century.

  • It has been devoted wholeheartedly to serving the people.
  • It has forged ahead relentlessly.
  • It has grown from strength to strength.
  • It has made important contribution to the independence of the Chinese nation.
  • It has done its very best for world peace and security.

In the past 91 years, the PLA has been the protector of the Chinese people.

Under the leadership of the Communist Party of China,

  • The PLA has always fought for the liberation and happiness of the Chinese people;
  • It has always pursued independence and rejuvenation of the Chinese nation;
  • In this lofty cause, the PLA has braved the flames of war, overcome immense hardships and made tremendous sacrifice.
  • Its tenacity has led it to win one victory after another and make glorious marks in history.

In the new era, the PLA strives to achieve new goals, that is,

  • to build a strong military with Chinese characteristics
  • and to provide effective safeguard for pursuing the Chinese Dream of national rejuvenation.

Looking back, we see that the PLA has been a defender of world peace.

  • In UN peacekeeping missions, China is the largest contributor of peacekeepers among the five permanent members of the UN Security Council. The PLA has sent more than 37,000 military personnel to various peacekeeping missions. As we speak, 2,507 Chinese servicemen are on active UN duty around the world.
  • China is the second largest contributor to the UN peacekeeping budget. With $697 million paid in 2017, China accounts for 10.25% of the total budget.
  • At sea, the PLA has to date sent 29 fleets, including 92 naval vessels and 62 helicopters, on escort missions in the Gulf of Aden and off the coast of Somalia. They have altogether escorted the safe passage of over 6,500 ships from around the world, half of which are foreign ships.
  • In international humanitarian operations, the PLA is also taking an active part. It has so far carried out over 30 emergency humanitarian missions.

All these speak loud and clear about the PLA’s concrete actions of defending world peace and security.

Looking back, we also see that the PLA has been an implementer of the new security concept.

The world is undergoing profound changes and transformations. Peace and development remain the theme of our times.

But at the same time, world peace and stability face severe challenges from

  • surging protectionism and unilateralism,
  • lingering hegemonism and power politics,
  • chronic regional wars and conflicts,
  • and rising non-traditional threats such as terrorism, transnational crime, epidemics, climate change and refugee crisis.

To address these challenges, countries must renounce the cold-war mentality, reject confrontation between blocs of countries and work together. We must come to the conclusion that in this new era, there is no place for absolute security of oneself at the expense of others’ security.

China champions common, comprehensive, coordinated and sustainable security. In line with this new security concept, China is determined to make important contribution to addressing global challenges.

Ladies and Gentlemen,

President Xi Jinping’s state visit to the UK in 2015 ushered in the China-UK “Golden Era”. At the beginning of this year, Prime Minister May paid a successful visit to China, during which the leaders of our two countries agreed to build a more strategic, practical, global and inclusive bilateral relationship.

Military-to-military relationship is an important part of China-UK relationship. In recent years, our two militaries have seen more active exchanges and cooperation than ever.

In the recent month alone,

  • General Yu Zhongfu of the PLA Air Force led a delegation to the UK and attended the events marking the 100th anniversary of the Royal Air Force;
  • The First Sea Lord Admiral Sir Philip Jones paid a successful visit to China;
  • And the sixth China-UK Defence Strategic Consultation was successfully held.

Last year,

  • The Chinese Navy Escort Taskforce paid its first visit to London.
  • The Red Arrows performed at the Airshow China in Zhuhai for the first time.
  • The two militaries held a successful joint evacuation tabletop exercise.
  • And they have engaged in effective cooperation on UN peacekeeping, counter-terrorism, anti-piracy and personnel training.

Ladies and Gentlemen,

President Xi Jinping said that we should have the right historical perspective. What he means is that we should review the past, draw lessons from history and grasp the historical trend.

In the last century, the world went through tests of fire and blood, endured wars and enjoyed peace. In the 21st century, it is important that we draw lessons from history and do our utmost to safeguard world peace and promote development.

I sincerely hope that China and the UK, and the militaries of our two countries will keep in mind the big picture of world peace and development.

First, we should enhance mutual trust.

Mutual trust is the basis of cooperation. China and the UK differ in history, culture and social system.

  • But both our countries champion multilateralism and oppose unilateralism.
  • Both support free trade and stand against protectionism.
  • And both uphold the authority of the UN and the rule-based international order.

Our two countries have every reason to enhance dialogue, build mutual trust and deepen cooperation on the basis of equality and mutual respect.

Second, we should expand cooperation.

The China-UK “Golden Era” offers opportunities for our two sides to expand, deepen, upgrade and increase our exchanges and cooperation. This will enable us to pool our strengths in addressing the challenges to global security and development, and enhance the strategic and global significance of the China-UK “Golden Era”.

Through cooperation, the relationship between our two countries and our two militaries will grow strong and prosperous.

Third, we should safeguard peace.

China and the UK are permanent members of the UN Security Council. Both are countries of global influence. Both shoulder the important mission of safeguarding peace for mankind. It is our international responsibilities and obligations to join hands, cherish peace and safeguard peace.

The world is a community with a shared future for mankind. The people of the world deserve a better future – a future of lasting peace and universal security.

Together, we can make this happen.

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

To the 91st anniversary of the People’s Liberation Army of China,

To ever-growing China-UK relationship and military-to-military cooperation,

To lasting peace and universal security in the world!

Cheers!

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