The Chinese army marked its 80th birthday with a high-profile reception on Tuesday at which Defense Minister Cao Gangchuan said the army will have zero tolerance of "Taiwan independence".
"We will absolutely not allow Taiwan to secede from China under any pretext or in any manner," Cao said.
The eight top Chinese leaders, Hu Jintao, Wu Bangguo, Wen Jiabao, Jia Qinglin, Zeng Qinghong, Wu Guanzheng, Li Changchun and Luo Gan attended the reception in the Great Hall of the People.
Hundreds of officers of the People's Liberation Army (PLA) attended the reception wearing the army's new uniforms as did foreign envoys and military attaches.
The New Uniform Is Set to Enter Official Service on Aug. 1.
Cao Gangchuan, also state councilor and vice-chairman of the Central Military Commission, said PLA officers and soldiers would carry on the tradition of following the CPC leadership, serving the people and doing their duty with courage.
Cao said Hu Jintao, chairman of the Central Military Commission and China's president, had put forward basic guidelines for the military to develop in a sound and rapid way.
He called for all PLA officers and enlisted ranks unite around the CPC leadership to push forward national defense and military development.
"We will continue to make the utmost effort with the highest sincerity in promoting peaceful development of relations across the Taiwan Strait and strive for the prospect of peaceful reunification," Cao said.
The Chinese army was willing to strengthen exchanges and cooperation with military forces of other countries on the basis of mutual respect, equal consultation, mutual benefit and cooperation. He said the Chinese army was willing to contribute to maintaining world peace.
The reception was also attended by personnel from all military units, central and local government officials and representatives from all sections of society.
(Xinhua News Agency August 1, 2007)