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A loyal protector of the Motherland

Major General Shang Hong Chinese Defence Attaché to the Republic of South Africa

Major General Shang Hong Chinese Defence Attaché to the Republic of South Africa

Published Aug 2, 2022

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Major General Shang Hong,Chinese Defence Attaché to the

Republic of South Africa

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This year, we are celebrating the 95th Anniversary of the founding of the Chinese People’s Liberation Army (PLA).

For 95 years, the PLA, the people’s army, established by the Communist Party of China (CPC), has gone through wars and difficult times, made great sacrifices in exchange for more and more glorious victories, made indelible achievements for safeguarding our socialist country, preserving national dignity, and maintaining world peace and tranquillity.

We are accelerating the modernisation of national defence. A strong country must have a strong military, as only then can it guarantee the security of the nation. Following the CPC’s 18th National Congress, the People’s Army has been fully implementing Xi Jinping’s Thinking on Strengthening the Military in the New Era as well as the military strategy for the new era, maintaining the party’s absolute leadership over the people’s armed forces. Comprehensive measures have been taken to enhance the political loyalty to the CPC, to strengthen the PLA through reform and technology and the training of competent personnel, and to administer it in accordance with the law.

The PLA, comprehensively and thoroughly reformed, is now marching on a Chinese path to military modernisation in confident strides toward the goal of armed forces with world-class standards.

Confronted with profound changes unseen in a century, the PLA is more confident, more determined and more capable than ever to overcoming any challenge for safeguarding our national sovereignty, security and development interests, for realising the second centenary goal and the rejuvenation of the Chinese nation.

We are selflessly defending world peace and tranquillity.

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The Chinese nation, peace-loving in nature, resolutely pursues a national defence policy that is defensive in nature. The Chinese people have never bullied, oppressed, or subjugated the people of any other country, and we will never. China remains the only country in the world that undertakes to “follow a path of peaceful development” enshrined in her Constitution and the only one among the five nuclear-weapon states that have pledged no-first-use of nuclear weapons. Firmly supporting the purposes and principles of the United Nations Charter and actively participating in the UN peacekeeping operations, China now stands as the second largest contributor to the UN peacekeeping budget and the largest troop-contributor country among the permanent members of the Security Council.

Over the past 30 odd years, the PLA has sent nearly 50 000 service members to 25 UN peacekeeping missions, including DRC, South Sudan, Mali and the harshest and most dangerous mission areas. As we speak, 2240 PLA officers and soldiers are undertaking seven peacekeeping missions, of which 80% are in Africa. The PLA Navy has dispatched escort task forces to carry out regular vessel escort missions in the Gulf of Aden and the waters off Somalia, joined with multiple naval forces in the area to safeguard international SLOCs.

Since the global outbreak of the Covid-19 pandemic, the PLA has initiated pandemic prevention and control with more than 50 countries by dispatching medical expert teams, providing containment materials, sharing anti-pandemic experience and donating vaccines, actively contributing to the building of a community with a shared future for human health. History has proved and will continue to prove that the Chinese nation and the Chinese armed forces will remain a builder of world peace, a contributor to global development, and a defender of the international order. No matter how developed China becomes, she will never seek hegemony, expansion or sphere of influence, nor will she engage in the arms race. The PLA will always be a strong pillar of peace and tranquillity for humanity.

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We are substantially contributing to China-South African cooperation. Geographically far apart, China and South Africa had established a solid friendship between our two nations and militaries as early as South Africa`s Anti-Apartheid period. Under the joint guidance of President Xi Jinping and President Cyril Ramaphosa, the PLA and SANDF have embraced pragmatic cooperation in various fields with tangible results, including but not limited to mechanism building, personnel exchanges, joint training and defence industry, through which we forged the strongest bond of comrades plus brothers, vigorously supporting China-South Africa Comprehensive Strategic Partnership.

The PLA-SANDF friendship is at its best period in history, highlighted by an online meeting between General Wei Fenghe and Ms Thandi Modise in March 2022. An in-depth exchange of views between two defence ministers led to mutual understandings, which is giving strong impetus to the PLA-SANDF relationship in the new era.

Changes in the world, of our times, and history are unfolding today in ways like never before, posing challenges that must be taken seriously by humanity. China remains a responsible major country, while the PLA is a strong force for peace. We always stand ready to work with all peace-loving countries and militaries, including South Africa and SANDF, to uphold the concept of community with a shared future for mankind and to follow the new Vision on Security and Global Security Initiative. We keep contributing China’s wisdom to the efforts of mankind in tackling the peace deficit, offering China’s solution to addressing international security challenges, and giving China’s energy to maintain world’s peace and tranquillity.

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