China boosts ties with foreign forces

Updated: 2012-01-17 17:34


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BEIJING - China's military diplomacy has boosted ties with foreign forces in 2011, according to Qian Lihua, director of the Foreign Affairs Office with the National Defense Ministry.

Fencing security with neighboring countries 

Senior officials of the Central Military Commission and the People's Liberation Army (PLA) headquarters paid visits to 14 neighboring countries including Vietnam, Myanmar, Nepal, Singapore and the Philippines in 2011.

China attended meetings to exchange views on defense and security issues such as the 10th prime ministers' meeting of the Shanghai Cooperation Organization, the Shangri-La Dialogue and the Association of Southeast Asian Nations Defense Ministers Plus Meeting.

The Chinese military made profound achievements in cooperating with neighboring forces in military training and academic research, and dispatched professionals to provide medical care and humanitarian aid to disaster-hit areas in Pakistan and Thailand.

Qian said China always gives priority to harmonious ties with neighboring countries, pursuing a peaceful policy of communication and cooperation.

"China will face up to the disputes and hot issues in regional security, taking care of the interests of other countries and maintaining our principles at the same time," Qian added.

Sino-US military relations see ups and downs

China is always supportive of the development of Sino-US military-to-military relations and spares no effort on it, Qian said.

In 2011, top military leaders of China and the United States exchanged views and took part in frequent communication that included Defense Secretary Robert Gates visiting China.

The PLA's Chief of the General Staff, Chen Bingde, and the US Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, Mike Mullen, visited each other on home turf within the space of two months.

However, Sino-US military relations were shadowed by the US government's implementation of arms sale package to Taiwan in 2011.

"China vehemently opposes the sale. Only respect and taking care of each other's interests could help remove the obstacles and promote the military-to-military relations," Qian said.

Military diplomacy promotes PlA's soft power

Qian said the country and the PLA have attracted more attention from the international community and are getting used to responding to misunderstandings and unfriendly accusations.

Since April 2011, the Defense Ministry has held monthly press conferences to answer sensitive questions on military training, strategy, equipment and foreign relations.

In March, the Defense Ministry published the country's latest version of defense white paper, and officially launched its website.

In addition, the ministry held various activities such as a performance in the United States by China's military band, and the PLA Navy's "Peace Ark" medical vessel paying port calls to Latin America for medical service.

Joint military training, drills

In 2011, China participated in eight joint military exercises and training sessions with foreign forces, including China-Pakistan anti-terrorist training, China-Indonesia special forces training and China-Belarus parachute troop training.

"Joint military training and exercises are an important approach to improve the PLA's combat capabilities," Qian said. "The training and exercises have become a regular exchange activity for the PLA."