PLA event welcomes uniformed ambassadors
( 2004-01-13 01:45) (China Daily)
The Chinese military will develop a "comprehensive" friendship with all its foreign counterparts in the new year, said Zhang Bangdong, director of the Foreign Affairs Office of the Ministry of National Defence at reception for foreign defence attaches in Beijing Monday.
Officials revealed that reforms on military diplomacy are under way.
Details on the measures will probably come out "quite soon,"a source said, adding that such moves help the Chinese military become increasingly "open" and "transparent" to the outside.
Gordon Kerr, British defence attache said Monday that he and his colleagues have noted modernization efforts of the People's Liberation Army (PLA) and the pace of military construction.
"We hope that we can contribute to that process through our bilateral and multilateral engagement with the PLA," said Kerr, who is also head of defence attache corps in Beijing.
Carsten Klenke, German deputy defence attache told China Daily that he noticed the PLA has been working on improving its military diplomacy.
"As a consequence, we see increasing military exchanges between China and other countries,'' Klenke said.
"We had two major military exchanges with China and participated in least eight multilateral events with China in past year. And the exchanges covered various subjects such as training, academic research and unit construction," he added.
Summarizing Chinese military diplomacy in 2003, Zhang said earlier this year that the Chinese military has been more co-operative with the international community to fight terrorism and to safeguard national security.
He stressed that military diplomacy is committed to world peace and development.
In fact, the military created a number of "firsts" in its history in the past year, including China's participations in joint military exercises with members of Shanghai Co-operation Organization (SCO), Pakistan and India.
"Joint exercises for anti-terrorism operations and search and rescue operations on the sea mark a breakthrough both in the development of the PLA itself and in the change of China's approach to the security co-operation in Asian-Pacific region," said Zhu Chenghu, deputy director of the Institute for Strategic Studies of National Defence University.
Another remarkable exchange was the visit to the United States by Defence Minister Cao Gangchuan.
This was the first visit to the United States by China's Defence Minister since the mid-air collision of US scout plane EP-3 with Chinese fighter over the South China Sea in 2001.
"This visit marked not only the all-round restoration of the military ties between China and the United States, but showed the expansion of security co-operation between the two countries," said Zhu.
Military diplomacy, an important part of the national overall diplomacy, is very sensitive, the expert added.
"Because of this, it can sometimes play a role that may never be played by the ordinary diplomacy."
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