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PLA at rescue front

China Daily | Updated: 2013-04-26 08:17

It is heartening to see the armed forces playing a decisive role in the rescue operations that commenced soon after a magnitue-7 earthquake hit Lushan in the southwest of Sichuan province on Saturday morning. They are honoring the promise to be the nation's guardians.

A total of 19,000 soldiers and officers from China's military and armed police forces have been sent to the disaster zone, where they are working day and night under difficult conditions searching for survivors and helping people resettle. They have been using the Beidou satellite navigation system and unmanned aerial vehicles to help them in their endeavors.

Meanwhile, helicopters from the army aviation corps have been shuttling back and forth, airdropping supplies in areas that can't be reached by road and ferrying the injured out and rescue workers in.

The comprehensive involvement of the People's Liberation Army in the post-quake rescue and relief operations is in line with its resolve to enhance its capabilities.

While it is essential the PLA is capable of defending our lands and waters, the country's armed forces are also expected to actively participate in national development and protect the interests of the people in peacetime.

The diversified tasks of the PLA are natural reflections of the country's new security concept, under which the armed forces are expected to fulfill both military and non-military duties to meet the requirements for national development and security.

While adapting themselves to new security challenges, both traditional and non-traditional, the PLA should always be ready to respond to the nation's calls for it to conduct non-military tasks, as China is one of the countries most vulnerable to natural disasters, which endanger its economic and social development as well as lives and property. And as always, they have been mainly tasked with the most challenging rescue operations.

To put the armed forces in a better position to fulfill their missions of defending national sovereignty, security and territorial integrity and supporting national economic and social development, they should continue to improve their capabilities. For that purpose, they deserve to be better equipped.

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