December 09th, 2008 | PLA Daily Liang Guanglie: China's military diplomacy keeps pace with times (1)
Presently, China has established military ties with more than 150 countries and set up military attach?offices in 109 countries and dispatches more than 150 military delegations to visit other countries every year. Meanwhile, 98 countries have set up military attach?offices in China and more than 200 military delegations of other countries visit China every year. China’ military diplomacy has realized the historic transformation from mainly high-level friendly exchanges to multi-tiered and wide-ranging pragmatic cooperation, from mainly bilateral exchanges to parallel development of bilateral and multilateral exchanges, and from general specialized military exchanges to all-dimensional exchanges. I feel that we should attribute such an excellent situation to all-dimensional military diplomacy.
Since the opening-up policy took effect 30 years ago, the PLA has faithfully implemented the national foreign policies and guidelines in its military diplomacy, and actively carry out exchanges with all other countries, big or small, strong or weak, and with all armed forces, advanced or backward, on the basis of equal consultation and mutually beneficial cooperation. In recent years, the China-US military relations have further developed, as evidenced by good momentum of reciprocal high level visits, exchanges between military colleges, and mechanism-based exchanges. The mutual-trust and cooperation have kept deepening, pragmatic exchanges are developing in a deep-going way and the coordination and cooperation in major international and regional security affairs have been strengthened between the Chinese and Russian armed forces. This year, the Chinese Ministry of National Defense has successively established telephone hotlines with its Russian and U.S. counterparts, which means that the new strategic communication channel has been established. Meanwhile, the defense exchange and dialogue with EU countries are also developing positively. The PLA has also strengthened the friendly cooperative ties with armed forces of the neighboring countries, established and improved border and coastal defense consultation and meeting mechanism, properly handled the disputes on territories, territorial sea and maritime rights and interests in pursuance of the diplomatic principle of “building good-neighborly relationships and partnerships” with neighboring countries to ensure the security and stability of the neighboring area.
The relations between different countries or different armed forces are much the same with the relations between different peoples. There can be no trust without mutual understanding and no cooperation without mutual trust. The PLA has made great efforts to expand the mutual trust and exchange channels and established defense and security consultation mechanism with 22 countries including the U.S., Russia, UK, France, Japan, Australia and South Africa, of which, the defense and security consultation mechanism with such countries as Mongolia, Vietnam, Indonesia, Malaysia, Philippines, Singapore, Pakistan and India have been established after 2002, which has played an important role in increasing military mutual trust between China and its neighboring countries.
The PLA’s active participation in regional security cooperation and multilateral dialogue is a big highlight of China’s military diplomacy in the new period. In recent years, the PLA participated in the Shanghai Cooperation Organization, the ASEAN Regional Forum, the Western Pacific Naval Forum (WPNF) and the Shangri-la Dialogue and has conducted effective exchange and cooperation in such fields as anti-terrorism, disaster relief, peacekeeping, maritime security and joint border patrol, etc.
Since the1990s, the tide of the new revolution in military affairs has swept across the whole world and assumes a trend of acceleration. Many departments and many people have carried out specialized technological exchanges with foreign armed forces by centering on the major subjects of army building. Such military diplomacy has not only boosted the rapid development of weaponry and equipment of the PLA, but also help us further emancipate our mind, provided us with an international horizon and raise our strategic thinking capabilities.
The military diplomacy has been carried out under the correct leadership of the Central Committee of the CPC and the Central Military Commission. Chairman Mao Zedong, Chairman Deng Xiaoping, Chairman Jiang Zemin and Chairman Hu Jintao all attach great importance to the military diplomacy. The leaders of the People’s Republic of China personally examined and approved major diplomatic activities and found time from their busy schedules to meet important foreign military leaders and actively promoted military ties with foreign countries in summit diplomacy. Other previous leaders of the Central Military Commission also showed high concern for and personally involved in military diplomacy. Such high-level exchanges have great significance towards strengthening the foundation of bilateral military ties and advancing exchange and cooperation with foreign militaries as well as promoting state-to-state relations.