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Blazing A Trail Through Brambles Forging Ahead On The New Journey
2022-07-28 12:18

Keynote Speech by Major General Su Guanghui, Chinese Defence Attaché to the UK, Marking the 95th Anniversary of the Founding of the People’s Liberation Army of China

Military flags are flying, emblems shining and songs resonating. As all Chinese people look forward with full confidence to the successful opening of the 20th National Congress of the Communist Party of China (CPC), we will celebrate the 95th anniversary of the founding of the People’s Liberation Army (PLA). The past memories make us proud of the glorious path that the PLA has traveled and the historic achievements made under the leadership of the CPC. Looking into the future, we are keenly aware of our weighty responsibilities and glorious missions ahead.

Windblown flags are in picturesque display, and extraordinary years of the past just like a melodious song. On August 1, 1927, the gunshots from the city of Nanchang proclaimed the birth of the new model of the people’s army led by the CPC, turning a new page in the Chinese national history from miseries to rejuvenation. From then on, the PLA becomes the military force for the Chinese people,with their hearts beating together, sharing the same breath and destiny, and it brings strong support for Chinese national independence, liberation and great rejuvenation. For 95 years, the people’s army led by the CPC has fought with heroism and sacrifice and achieved glorious victories one after another, from the hard times of struggle on Jinggang Mountains to the Long March full of dangers and difficulties, from 14 bloody and heroic years of the War of Resistance Against Japan to sweeping victories of the War of Liberation, from defending the frontier against enemy aggressions and participating in national construction and reform to actively safeguarding regional and international peace. History has clearly demonstrated that the PLA is a strong pillar for defending China’s socialist system and national dignity as well as a strong force for safeguarding peace in the region and around the world.

The glorious achievements of strengthening the military are built on firm faith and arduous endeavours. Since the 18th National Congress of the CPC, the PLA led by the Party’s Central Committee, with Comrade Xi Jinping at its core, has carried out all-around reform and innovation from a new starting point and has made a series of major theoretical, practical and systemic achievements in the course of building socialism with Chinese characteristics for a New Era. President Xi has set clear objectives for strengthening the military, defined the military strategic guideline in the New Era, and formulated the three-step development strategy for modernizing national defence and the armed forces, which entail strenuous efforts to enhance the political loyalty, to strengthen the military with reform, science and technology, and talent, to pursue law-based governance in the military, and to upgrade training and combat readiness in an all-round way. Through these efforts, the PLA has been forging ahead along the path of building a strong military with Chinese characteristics.

China’s defence capabilities are growing in line with its economic strength. The building of integrated national strategic system and capabilities is accelerating. Sound administrative and support systems for veterans have been established and improved. Defence mobilization has become more efficient, and greater unity has been cultivated between military and local government and between military and civilians. The PLA has accomplished an all-around revolutionary restructuring, resolutely carried out the missions of the New Era and taken concrete actions to safeguard national sovereignty, security, and development interests with an indomitable fighting spirit.

No matter how the international landscape evolves, China will always strive to maintain world peace, promote global growth, and uphold international order. China’s military will always be a force of justice for world peace and development. As China’s comprehensive national power continues to strengthen, the PLA has made new and greater contributions to China’s efforts to fulfill international obligations and safeguard world peace and development.

On the one hand, China’s military is unswervingly committed to the path of peaceful development. The Chinese people always pursue and value peace, and China’s military always strives to safeguard peace. As President Xi Jinping points out, China will never seek hegemony, expansion, or a sphere of influence however strong it may grow. This is China’s solemn pledge to the international community. The PLA is born out of the peaceful tradition of the Chinese culture. It follows and serves the national strategy of peaceful development, pursues a defence policy that is defensive in nature and will never launch any aggression, pursue hegemony or bully others.

In recent years, with sustained and healthy economic and social development, China has increased defence expenditure at a reasonable and steady rate to upgrade defence capabilities in step with its economic strength to address complicated security challenges and effectively fulfill international obligations as a major country. For years, China’s defence expenditure has been kept at about 1.3% of its GDP, lower than 2.3%-2.5%, the average figure of the world. China’s defence share, be it in government expenditure, per capita or per service personnel defence spending, has remained low on the whole.

On the other hand, China’s military unswervingly safeguards world peace and stability. China is committed to building a new-model security partnership based on equality, mutual trust and win-win cooperation. Currently, China is engaging in military cooperation with more than 150 countries. China’s military, as a force of peace, always serves as a vanguard in safeguarding regional and international peace.

UN peacekeeping operations (UNPKO). Since 1990 when China sent five military observers to the United Nations Truce Supervision Organization, China’s military has contributed nearly 50,000 personnel to 25 UN peacekeeping missions, during which 16 sacrificed their lives in UNPKOs. At the moment, a total of 2,240 Chinese military peacekeepers are serving on seven UN peacekeeping missions and at UNHQ. China is the second largest contributor to peacekeeping assessments and UN regular budget. China is the largest troop-contributing country among the permanent members of the UN Security Council with more peacekeepers than the total of other permanent members.

Protecting international sea lines of communication (SLOC). China’s military has dispatched more than 120 vessels in 41 escort missions in the Gulf of Aden and the seas off Somalia, and provided protection for over 7,000 Chinese and foreign ships, of which more than half are foreign ships. To be specific, the PLA Navy has protected and rescued 14 ships under attack, provided assistance to five foreign ships and rescued 45 ships chased by pirates.

Anti-pandemic cooperation. Faithfully implementing President Xi Jinping’s declaration of Chinese Covid-19 vaccines as global public goods following the outbreak of the pandemic, China’s military has provided Covid-19 vaccines to militaries in over 30 countries, such as Pakistan, Ethiopia and Bolivia. In addition, China’s military has conducted anti-pandemic cooperation with militaries in over 50 countries through providing material assistance, sending medical expert teams and holding on-line experience sharing meetings.

International disaster relief and humanitarian assistance. At the request of the Kingdom of Tonga, China’s military sent air force transport planes and navy vessels to deliver emergency and post-disaster material to the devastated country despite numerous difficulties in the aftermath of volcanic eruptions and the following tsunami in January 2022. The PLA Air Force sent transport planes to deliver large quantities of relief supplies to Afghanistan immediately after the deadliest earthquake in 20 years on June 22, 2022.

Moreover, China has lived up to its responsibility as a major country and firmly safeguarded world peace and stability through active participation in international counter-terrorism cooperation.

In the second half of 2022, the CPC will convene its 20th National Congress. As the Party embarks on a new journey to build a modern socialist country in all respects and to realize the Second Centenary Goal, the 20th National Congress will be a highly important meeting to be held at this historic juncture and an event of great political significance for both the Party and the country. With the opening of the 20th National Congress, the PLA will stand at a new historic starting point and embark on a new journey of development.

On the new journey, China’s military will firmly adhere to the Party’s absolute leadership.

This principle is essential and of utmost importance to the PLA, which should never be changed or undermined. Ever since its founding, the PLA has always operated and fought under the absolute leadership of the CPC. The reason why the PLA has overcome formidable challenges and has been ever-victorious both in war-time and peace-time is that it has always mustered under the banner of the CPC and strictly followed the Party’s command.

On the new journey, the PLA will firmly adhere to the fundamental principle and system of the Party’s absolute leadership, and deepen the study of Xi Jinping Thought on Socialism with Chinese Characteristics for a New Era, especially the study of Xi Jinping’s thinking on strengthening the military, and uphold full and strict governance over the Party and the military. It will ensure the lifeline function of political work, consolidate the ideological foundation for strictly following the Party’s command, and inspire political passion for the cause of strengthening the military. It will resolutely uphold the core of the Party, the authority of the CPC Central Committee and its centralized, unified leadership, and firmly follow the command of the CPC Central Committee, the Central Military Commission and President Xi Jinping.

On the new journey, China’s military will unswervingly defend national sovereignty, security and development interests.

The fundamental goal of China’s national defence in the New Era is to safeguard national sovereignty, security and development interests. With instability and uncertainties growing markedly in the world, China is facing serious security challenges. These challenges cannot be effectively dealt with unless China builds more powerful and reliable capabilities.

On the new journey, China’s military will vigorously advance the cause of enhancing its strength, fully implement Xi Jinping’s thinking on strengthening the military and the military strategic guideline in the New Era, and strive to achieve its centenary goal. Focusing on bolstering its ability to win in wars, China’s military will enhance training and combat readiness, step up exercises in real combat conditions, and build a new model of military training system that enables firm and flexible military operations and improves its ability to implement missions and tasks in the New Era. These efforts will serve to build a strong military force ready to be called to fight and win.

China’s military will lose no time to tackle challenges with innovations and breakthroughs, accelerate high-quality development of China’s national defence and military capabilities, and initiate a new stage in enhancing its strength. We are determined to accomplish the missions and tasks entrusted by the CPC and the people in the New Era and will resolutely defend national sovereignty, security and development interests.

On the issues of core national interests, China will make no compromises or trade-offs. If anyone dares to make wanton provocations, the Chinese people will respond with staunch actions. If anyone dares to invade, China’s military will fight back forcefully and defeat the enemies in defence of national sovereignty, security and development interests.

On the new journey, China’s military will contribute earnestly to the building of a community with a shared future for mankind.

Humanity is now undergoing multiple crises rarely seen in history, which cannot be properly resolved unless we uphold and practice multilateralism and act on the vision of building a community with a shared future for mankind. It is of global significance that China’s national defence in the New Era makes contribution to this vision.

China’s military is a staunch force for the building of a community with a shared future for mankind. With the Covid-19 pandemic raging across the world, China’s military has tried its best to provide public security goods to the world, which has been highly recognized and widely welcomed by the international community. Committed to the principle of win-win cooperation, China’s military will continue to fulfill its international responsibilities and obligations as the military of a major country, deepen bilateral and multilateral military-to-military and security cooperation, and provide more public security goods to the international community to the best of its ability. China’s military will continue to actively participate in international disaster relief and humanitarian assistance, conduct escort operations in the Gulf of Aden and the waters off Somalia, and extensively cooperate with relevant parties to address common regional and global security threats and challenges so as to contribute to the building of a community with a shared future for mankind.

On the new journey, China’s military will be firmly committed to safeguarding world peace and stability.

World peace is the responsibility of all countries which requires enhanced multilateral cooperation. On the new journey, China’s military is willing to work with militaries of other countries across the world to enhance exchanges and coordination and deepen concrete cooperation to jointly safeguard world peace and stability. Following the concept of common, comprehensive, cooperative and sustainable security, China’s military will continue to promote exchanges and cooperation with relevant countries in international efforts countering terrorism and transnational crimes, and to actively support and participate in UN peacekeeping operations to make greater contribution to world peace, stability and common progress.

In the second half of this year, China’s military plans to host the “Shared Vision” international peacekeeping forum, and invite representatives from the UN and relevant countries and peacekeeping experts and scholars to offer advice and share experience. The “Shared Vision” forum, along with the “Shared Destiny” field training exercise and the “Shared Mission” command post exercise for UN peacekeeping operations, constitutes a brand series of international peacekeeping events regularly held by China’s military, which will contribute to the innovative development of UN peacekeeping operations.

The military-to-military relations have always been an important part of China-UK relations, and also an important force in promoting the bilateral ties. Since the start of my tenure as the Defence Attaché to the UK in August 2016, I have committed myself to promoting stable development of our military-to-military relations. In recent years, thanks to the concerted efforts by both sides, the military-to-military relations have remained generally stable. The two militaries have maintained contacts and exchanges and held the Defence Strategy Consultation via video link in January 2022. The stable development of military-to-military relations between China and the UK could not have been achieved without the wisdom and efforts of visionary people from both countries. On this occasion, I would like to extend my sincere gratitude to all the friends who have made positive contributions to the relations between our two militaries, and I hope you will continue to care about and support the military-to-military relations between our two countries.

The best way to embrace the opening of the CPC’s 20th National Congress and celebrate the 95th anniversary of the founding of the PLA is to stay true to our original aspirations, keep our mission firmly in mind and strive with greater efforts. Only in this way can we accomplish the great cause of strengthening the military on the new journey and achieve greater glory in the New Era. Guided by the direction and blueprint set by President Xi, China’s military will march vigorously towards the PLA’s centenary goal and strive to fulfill the task of building world-class armed forces. Forging ahead on the new journey and making greater achievements in the New Era, the PLA is ready to contribute to the success of the 20th CPC National Congress with outstanding performance.

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