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Top ten firsts of Chinese military diplomacy from 2002 to 2012

(PLA Daily)

08:23, September 26, 2012

1. First implementation of international humanitarian relief: In compliance with the UN resolutions, China dispatched two air force transport aircraft to deliver much-needed medicines, medical equipment and other assistance supplies to Afghanistan on March 25, 2002. It was the first time for the Chinese military to take on international humanitarian supply and relief missions.

2. First organization of fleet for round-the-world voyage: The fleet under the Navy of the Chinese People's Liberation Army (PLA) made up of the "Qingdao" guided missile destroyer and the "Taicang" comprehensive supply ship set sail from east China's Qingdao and completed the Chinese Navy's first voyage around the world from May 15 to September 23, 2002. During the 132 days, the fleet sailed over 33,000 nautical miles, and visited 10 ports in 10 different countries across five continents.

3. First holding of Sino-foreign joint military exercise: China and Kyrgyzstan successfully held a joint anti-terrorism military exercise from October 10 to 11 in 2002 in the border areas between the two countries. That was the first time for the Chinese troops to hold a joint exercise with foreign counterparts.

4. First opening of the Headquarters of the Second Artillery Force (SAF) of the PLA to foreign militaries: Donald Rumsfeld, the then U.S. secretary of defense, visited the SAF Headquarter on October 19, 2005. He was the first foreign guest to enter the SAF Headquarters. After that, the SAF Headquarters was opened to foreign militaries for another three times. 5. First launching of Sino-foreign joint maritime patrols: Both navies of China and Vietnam organized the first joint maritime patrol in April of 2006 in accordance with the Agreement between China and Vietnam on Joint Patrol in the Beibu Gulf, signed in Beijing by the two countries in October of 2005. 13 joint patrols have been held since then. 6. First opening of direct telephone line to the Ministry of National Defense (MND) of the People's Republic of China (PRC): The Ministry of National Defense of the PRC and the Ministry of Defense of the Russian Federation opened a direct phone line between them on March 14, 2008. This was the first direct phone communication channel between the Chinese MND and the foreign counterparts.

7. First introduction of news spokesperson of the MND: The MND held a press conference on May 18, 2008 to introduce the situations of the troop units of the Chinese PLA and the Chinese People's Armed Police Force (APF) participating in the quake-fighting and disaster relief operation in Wenchuan. That was the debut of news spokesperson of the MND at the press conference.

8. First dispatch of vessels to participate in international escort missions: The Navy of the Chinese PLA sent the first naval taskforce on December 26, 2008 to carry out escort missions in the Gulf of Aden and the waters off the Somali coast in accordance with the resolutions made by the UN Security Council.

9. First organization of multi-national naval and air force events: A total of 21 warships from 14 countries joined the 25 ships and 31 aircraft of the Chinese PLA on April 23, 2009 in celebration of the 60th anniversary of the founding of the PLA Navy, and receiving the inspection. This was the first multi-national maritime parade held by China. The Air Force of the Chinese PLA held the first large-scale international forum from November 6 to 7 in 2009, in which the air force delegates from 34 countries were present.

10. First sending of troops to evacuate personnel overseas: The PLA Air Force dispatched 4 IL-76 military transport aircraft to Libya from February 28 to March 4 in 2011 to pick up and transport Chinese personnel in Libya. At the same time, the "Xuzhou" warship of the 7th Chinese naval escort taskforce was ordered to head for the waters off Libya for escorting those ships serving to evacuate Chinese personnel in Libya. This was the first time for China to utilize military force to evacuate Chinese personnel overseas.

(Source: Information Office of the Ministry of National Defense of the PRC)

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