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Defender of a harmonious ocean
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16:19, April 24, 2009

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April 23, 2009 was the 60th anniversary of the founding of the People's Liberation Army (PLA) Navy. The most eye-catching parts of the naval parade are the various types of naval vessels of the PLA Navy and other combat platforms.

The fact that this celebration is entitled "Harmonious Ocean" has a special meaning. Not only is it in line with the Chinese government's foreign policy that promotes a harmonious world, it reveals the Chinese Navy's determination and confidence in promoting the goal of developing a harmonious world.

Seventy percent of the Earth's surface is covered by water, if "harmony" were to be achieved on the ocean, achieving "harmony" across the whole world would be more than a beautiful dream.

As the economic globalization continues to develop and the economic interests of various countries have become interconnected since the end of the Cold War, the oceans have become the most important channel for trade and energy. How to ensure the peace and harmony of the oceans concerns the interests of the entire international community.

There are a lot of different viewpoints in the world on how to look at the development of China's naval strength. Many western countries guess that China is likely to use its increasingly mighty naval power to expand overseas, display its "muscle" in disputes with its neighboring countries and even compete for the regional military hegemony of the US.

In fact, between the 1950s and the 1970s, the principal mission of the navy was defensive operations in inshore areas.

Since the 1980s, the navy has achieved strategic transformation and now performs defensive operation in offshore areas, as well as gradually expanding the ability to cooperate in deep sea areas and cope with unconventional security threats.

Through nearly 60 years of development, the navy has taken the first steps to build itself into a modern maritime combat force consisting of a combination of military divisions.

December 26, 2008 is a day in the history of the PLA Navy that is worth remembering. A navy fleet, composed of two destroyers and one multi-use supply vessel from the PLA Navy's South China Sea Fleet, departed from Sanya for the Gulf of Aden off the coast of Somalia.

Sent by the Chinese government, they were on a mission to combat pirates, protect the safety of Chinese ships and their personnel and to protect the safety of ships carrying humanitarian aid from international organizations such as the United Nations World Food Program.

The protection offered by the PLA fleet safeguards the national interests of China and projects a favorable image of China to the world.

With the second fleet already carrying out its mission, the Chinese Navy is demonstrating its force by "displaying its flags" in the Gulf of Aden, the impacts of which are far-reaching and will go well beyond the mission itself.

This mission indicates that as a responsible power of the international community, China is fulfilling its promise to advance the construction of a harmonious world, and is taking actions to uphold world peace and boost mutual development.

At the same time, it is demonstrating to the world that China, currently in the course of peaceful development, is utilizing its own military power to provide "public goods" to the international community.

China is neither pursuing "gunboat diplomacy" to invade other nations, nor resorting to military power to seek hegemony and expansion.

By People's Daily Online

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