China fulfills Obligations, Plays Constructive role in Safeguarding Regional, Intl Security: Senior Military Official

China has actively fulfilled its international responsibilities and obligations and played a constructive role in safeguarding regional and international security and stability, a senior Chinese military official said Sunday.

Addressing the 14th Shangri-La Dialogue, Admiral Sun Jianguo, deputy chief of the General Staff of the People’s Liberation Army of China, said as a permanent member of the UN Security Council ( UNSC) and a responsible major country, China has actively engaged in international security cooperation, played a unique role in the effort to create a peaceful, stable, prosperous neighborhood and provided public services to address global problems and challenges.

“The Chinese military, since 1990, has sent over 30,000 officers and soldiers to participate in 24 UN peace-keeping missions. This year, for the first time, China sent an infantry battalion of 700 personnel to South Sudan. China is the largest force contributor among the permanent members of UNSC.”

Authorized by the UNSC resolutions, China has sent 20 task groups of 59 naval vessels to the Gulf of Aden and the waters off Somalia since 2008, providing protection to nearly 6,000 ships, of which half are from foreign countries. Answering to the call of the UNSC and the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW), Chinese naval ships accomplished the task to escort the ships delivering Syria’s chemical weapons for destruction in 2014, the admiral noted.

China shares the pain and difficulties of the affected countries and stands ready to provide personnel, financial and material assistance to these countries to the best of its ability, including in the typhoon disaster in the Philippines, in searching for the missing passenger plane of Malaysian Airlines, in fighting the Ebola epidemic in Africa and in delivering emergency water supplies to Maldives, the senior Chinese military official said.

Sun said the Chinese military has provided swift humanitarian assistance when it is needed. During its operation to evacuate Chinese citizens from Yemen, the Chinese Navy helped evacuate 279 people from 15 countries, including Pakistan, Sri Lanka, Germany, Japan, and Singapore. When the 8.1-magnitude earthquake hit Nepal, the Chinese military not only provided emergency disaster relief supplies, but also sent rescue and medical teams. The PLA naval hospital ship, the Peace Ark, carried out overseas medical services and participated in medical relief operations in 18 countries, providing treatment and medicines to the people in need, he said. “China has actively enhanced its bilateral and multilateral defense and security cooperation in a bid to work with the rest of the world to deal with security threats and challenges.”

Up to now, the Chinese military has conducted over 100 joint military exercises and training activities with more than 50 countries. In April this year, the Chinese and US naval ships held the CUES exercise in the South China Sea. In the middle of this month, the Chinese and Russian navies carried out a joint exercise in the Mediterranean Sea aimed at protecting open sea shipping. A few days ago, China sent personnel to take part in the 4th ARF disaster relief exercise in Malaysia. Over the years, China has helped train tens of thousands of military personnel of various kinds for more than 130 countries. China has also taken an active part in international humanitarian mine clearance assistance by training technical personnel from Afghanistan, Iraq and Sudan, donating mine clearance equipment and providing assistance to relevant countries, he said.

“China is actively advancing the steady development of the new model of military-to-military relationship with the United States, enriching the security connotation of China-Russia comprehensive strategic and cooperative partnership, building up a closer China- ASEAN Community of Shared Destiny, taking the initiative to launch China-ASEAN Defense Minister’s informal meetings, establishing defense and security consultation mechanisms with 27 countries and actively participating in multilateral defense exchanges within the frameworks such as the Shanghai Cooperation Organization, the ASEAN Regional Forum and ASEAN Defense Ministers’ Meeting Plus.”

China commits to forging friendship and partnership with its neighbors and foster amity, sincerity, mutual benefit and inclusiveness in its neighborhood, Sun further said. So far, China has completed the delimitation of land borders with 12 of its 14 neighbors and established the maritime boundary with Vietnam in the Beibu Gulf. China has signed treaties of good neighborliness, friendship and cooperation with eight of its neighbors and has started the negotiation on a similar treaty with ASEAN, he said.

When dealing with maritime disputes with relevant neighboring countries, China has always kept in mind the large picture of maritime security. In spite of the sufficient historical and legal evidence and its indisputable claims of rights and interests, China has exercised enormous restraint, making positive contributions to peace and stability of the region and the world at large, the admiral stressed.

Committed to peaceful development, China upholds a national defense policy that is defensive in nature. A more developed and stronger China will bring important opportunities, common prosperity and positive energy to countries around the world, the senior Chinese military official added.