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China actively conducts external military exchanges
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08:51, March 11, 2009

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Chinese naval task forces, comprising two destroyers and a supply ship, have carried out 27 escort missions for more than 80 ships in the pirate-ridden waters in the Gulf of Eden and off the Somali coast as up to March 9, and it has completed, among other tasks, the mission of rescuing and escorting a Chinese fishing vessel, the Tianyu No.8, owned by China's Tianjin Ocean Fishing Company.

China had sent a total of 12,721 peacekeeping officers and men by the end of February. At present, it has 1,949 military peacekeeping personnel serving in nine UN mission areas and the UN Department of Peacekeeping Operations. The nation has consistently supported the UN peacekeeping efforts and become one of the UN Security Council members that have dispatched most peacekeepers.

On Feb. 27, working talks between the Chinese Ministry of National Defense and the U.S. Department of Defense on defense policy coordination were co-chaired by Qian Lihua, director of the Chinese Defense Ministry's Foreign Affairs Office, and U.S. Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense for East Asia David Sedney. They discussed the military relations between the two armies and issues of mutual concern. To date, China has set up defense and security consultation mechanisms with 22 countries including the U.S., Russian and Japan, and its Ministry of National Defense opens direct phone lines with the Russian Defense Ministry and the U.S. Defense Department.

In recent years, China's defense diplomacy has ushered in a new era of all-round, multi-channel and multi-layer development, as a reflection of the outstanding achievements made in the country's overall diplomacy.

The external military relationship has been extended in an all-round way. China has established military ties with more than 150 countries and military attach offices in 109 countries, and some 100 countries have set up military attach offices in China. The country has sent about 150 military delegations overseas annually in recent years, and more than 200 military delegations of other countries visit China each year.

Moreover, China keeps deepening its pragmatic military cooperation with other countries. China has stepped up its pragmatic military cooperation with Russia. Chinese students have been sent to study at more than 120 foreign military academies, and foreign students from approximately 100 countries came to study in Chinese military academies. Since 2002, the Chinese army has held 26 joint drills of varying scales and four joint military exercises on land with 21 countries.

China's participation in international peacekeeping and rescue missions has been well commended. The country has sent more than 9,000 personnel to participate in 18 UN peacekeeping operations worldwide. In addition, Chinese People's Liberation Army (PLA) personnel have participated in joint international rescue operations in 16 major natural calamities, including the Indian tsunami, Hurricane Katrina in southern U.S. and the South Asia earthquake. During the devastating Wenchuan quake occurred in Sichuan province in May 2008, Chinese army also received aid from national defense departments and armies from 17 countries.

Chinese army has become increasingly more open and confident with its image in the world. In recent years, China has set up a military news spokesman system to initially make known its policy stances and to timely respond to the world opinions of concern, and publishing a white paper on national defense has been a regular practice in a bid to enunciate its defense policy and defense strategy. This has won the increased understanding and confidence of the international community.

In its daily-increasingly active military activities, China has always kept to an independent foreign policy of peace, implemented a national defense policy of the defensive nature, and actively conducted the external military exchanges and cooperation. Chinese armed forces will raise their capabilities of coping with various security threats and challenges through their wide-ranging exchanges and cooperation by means of forging the relationship as non-alliance, non-confrontation and non-direction to a third country.

By People's Daily Online and its authors are senior PD reporters Wen Xian and Liu Gang

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