China’s People’s Liberation Army will continue to build world peace, contribute to global development and defend international order
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Major General Shang Hong
On the special occasion of the centenary of the Communist Party of China (CPC) and the building of a moderately prosperous society in all respects, we are celebrating the 94th anniversary of the Chinese People’s Liberation Army.
The Nanchang Uprising, launched on August 1, 1927, was seen as the CPC’s initial bid to establish the people’s army, marking a new era of China’s revolution. In the past 94 years, the People’s Army has made indelible achievements on behalf of the CPC and the people. It is a strong pillar for safeguarding our socialist country and preserving national dignity, and a powerful force for protecting world peace and regional stability.
On the journey ahead, the People’s Army will fully implement Xi Jinping’s Thinking on Strengthening the Military in the New Era as well as the military strategy for the new era, maintain the party’s absolute leadership over the people’s armed forces, and follow a Chinese path to military development.
Comprehensive measures shall be taken to elevate the People’s Army to world-class standards so as to acquire greater capacity and more reliable means for safeguarding our national sovereignty, security and development interests, for protecting world peace and regional stability.
The PLA has always been the staunch defender of world peace. China’s social systems, governing theory, foreign policy and cultural traditions determine that we unswervingly pursue 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 never will.
Firmly supporting the purposes and principles of the UN Charter and actively participating the UN peacekeeping operations, China now stands as the second largest contributor to both peacekeeping assessment and UN membership fees, and the largest troop contributor country among the permanent members of the Security Council.
As of September 2020, the PLA has sent over 40 000 peacekeepers to 25 UN peacekeeping missions, including some harshest and most dangerous mission areas. In line with UNSC resolutions, since December 2018 the PLA Navy has dispatched 38 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 sea lines of communication.
The PLA has always been the active facilitator of African peace. China is the largest developing country in the world, while Africa the continent with the largest number of developing countries. China firmly supports African countries and the AU as well as other regional organizations in Africa in solving African issues in the African way, and supports the African initiative of “Silencing the Guns in Africa”.
The PLA has honoured China’s commitment of gratis military aid to the value of $100 million to support the African Standby Force and the African Capacity for Immediate Response to Crisis. The PLA has actively participated in the UN peacekeeping missions in Africa. At present more than 2 000 Chinese peacekeepers, stationed in the DRC, Sudan’s Darfur, South Sudan, Mali and other mission areas, are playing an important role in ceasefire supervision, crisis containment, and civilian protection.
Since the breakout of Covid-19 pandemic in Africa, the PLA began pandemic prevention and control with multiple African countries by dispatching medical expert teams, providing containment materials, sharing anti-pandemic experiences and donating vaccines. The PLA, committed to upholding the concept of a global community of health for all, is living up to China’s responsibility of a major power and contributing substantially to African public health.
The PLA has always been the substantial contributor to China-South African cooperation. Geographically far apart, China and South Africa had established solid friendship between our two nations and militaries as early as South Africa’s anti-apartheid period.
Since the establishment of diplomatic relationship, with the personal care and joint guidance of two heads of state, the PLA and SANDF have embraced pragmatic cooperation in various fields with tangible results, including but not limited to mechanism building, personal exchanges, joint training and defence industry, through which we forged the strongest bond of Comrades Plus Brothers, not only vigorously supporting China-South Africa Comprehensive Strategic Partnership, but also substantially contributing to peace and stability in Africa and the world.
The PLA-SANDF friendship is at its best period in history, highlighted by our joint efforts in Covid-19 pandemic prevention and control. The PLA is actively facilitating for the SANDF to get Chinese Covid-19 vaccines at an earlier date.
In the context of profound changes in the international situation and the Covid-19 pandemic unseen in a century, humanity is facing unprecedented risks and challenges. Global solidarity and cooperation is required more than ever, and all countries in the world shall work together with concerted efforts for a shared future.
The PLA, upholding the concept of common, comprehensive, cooperative and sustainable global security, stands ready for new and greater contributions to world’s prosperity and development, to international fairness and justice and to global common security. The PLA has worked and will continue to be a builder of world peace, a contributor to global development, and a defender of the international order.
* Major General Shang Hong is the Chinese Defence Attache to the Republic of South Africa
** The views expressed herein are not necessarily those of IOL