--- SEARCH ---
Film in China
War on Poverty
Learning Chinese
Learn to Cook Chinese Dishes
Exchange Rates
Hotel Service
China Calendar

Hot Links
China Development Gateway
Chinese Embassies

The Ministry of Foreign Affairs
Permanent Mission of the People's Republic of China to the UN
Permanent Mission of the People's Republic of China to the United Nations Office at Geneva and other International Organizations in Switzerland
Foreign Affairs College
China Confident and Pragmatic in Military Exchanges

The year 2004 saw Chinese military dealing with foreign affairs in an increasingly confident and pragmatic way as it pushed for wider and more substantial exchanges with militaries of other countries.  

"There have been more than 100 exchange programs this year, involving Chinese military leaders visiting more than 60 countries and senior officers from about 50 countries coming to China," according to a figure from Ministry of National Defense (MND)


Some exchange programs even featured innovative ways of military diplomacy, including joint military exercises, security session involving military officers from several countries, combined seminars on defense and security and field trips.


High-level visits


China's international military exchange this year began with a January visit from Richard Myers, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff of the US armed forces. Myers referred to his China visit as "one more step" in keeping the good momentum of US-China military ties.


The Russian Defense Minister Sergei Ivanov toured China twice in a year. Ivanov's talk with Defense Minister Cao Gangchuan grabbed worldwide attention as they announced Russia and China will conduct the first-ever joint military exercise next year in China.


On the Chinese part, senior military officers were also active in going out to other militaries.


Vice Chairman of the Central Military Commission Guo Boxiong visited Russia, Egypt and South Africa. Defense Minister Cao Gangchuan toured Pakistan, India, Thailand, France, Belgium, Switzerland and Brazil. Vice Chairman of the Central Military Commission Xu Caihou paid a visit to Cuba and Mexico. Chief of the General Staff of the Chinese People's Liberation Army (PLA) Liang Guanglie visited Russia, France, Britain, the US and Australia.


"Frequent high-level military visits work for China's overall diplomacy and serve as an efficient way to build strategic confidence," said Wang Zaibang, deputy president of China Institute of Contemporary International Relations.


Beefing up the army-to-army exchanges with big powers helps the all-round and balanced development of China's ties with them, Wang said. "That also helps China preserve the strategic period of development opportunities."


Joint military exercises


This year also saw a record number of China-foreign military exercises, including coastal search and rescue exercises with Britain, France and Australia and anti-terrorist exercises in high-altitude areas with Pakistan.


This trend will continue. Next year's military exercise by China and Russia will not be limited to the non-traditional security, but the traditional sector.


Zhu Chenghu, dean of the Defense College of Chinese PLA University of National Defense, said that the growing number of military maneuvers shows that the Chinese army has an unprecedented confidence and international transparency.


Wang acknowledged that the military maneuvers are part of fresh efforts by Chinese PLA in practicing the new security concept featuring mutual trust, benefit, equality and cooperation. "Joint military exercises are a proof that China's military exchanges with other countries are more substantive than ever before."


Officer exchanges


The military exchanges are achieved not only by senior leaders, but also by officers at lower levels.


This year, approximately 100 Chinese military officers in charge of divisions or brigades were assigned for overseas visit and research, the first time China organized a group trip on such a large scale for middle-ranking officers.


This was only a small part of China's officer exchange programs, which offered about 1000 officers of various rankings opportunities to study or tour in countries across the world.


In 2004, China also helped train a total of 926 officers from 82 countries.


China even hosted a 10-day seminar of defense and security for senior French officers, the first of its kind China organized exclusively for a Western nation.


As militaries across the world have their own characteristics and value military reforms, Chinese and foreign military officers could learn from each other through exchange programs, which also help officers dispel skepticism and develop trust, Wang said. "It also helps develop human resources for the future army-to-army relations."


The training China organized offered foreign officers a way to better understand China, Zhu said, adding the trained foreign officers will feel closer to China.


The people exchange program constitutes part of Chinese army's efforts to "bring up more well-educated military officers," said an official with the Chinese Ministry of Defense. "The foreign experience broadens officers' horizon and develop their strategic thinking."


Multilateral cooperation


Besides one-on-one exchanges with other countries, China also promoted multilateral cooperation.


In September, China invited more than 60 foreign observers to a massive military maneuver code-named "Iron Fist 2004." It is the first time China had so many foreign, high-ranking military officers to observe a Chinese military exercise, the largest ever open to foreigners.


China's other attempt to seek multilateral mechanism came in early November when defense officers from 24 members of the ASEAN Regional Forum (ARF) gathered at Beijing for security talks. Initiated by China, this session was the first mechanism designed for military officers conducting regular dialogue and seeking regional security collaboration.


China's efforts to make possible multilateral military cooperation were not limited to this. This year, China held a symposium for officers of member countries of the Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO) to step up the communication between SCO military officers. China also offered defense attaches of foreign embassies in China a Hong Kong tour, enabling them to get a sense of how China's "one country, two systems" policy works.


"The traditional and non-traditional dangers threatening security are interwoven and different countries are confronted with various threats, Wang said. "The multilateral stage is where diversified military cooperation could be conducted."


The dangers threatening the security is not limited to any single country, neither can they be addressed by a country itself, Zhu noted. "To combat those threats requires the joint efforts by the countries in one region or throughout the world."


According to China's just released defense white paper, "to carry out military exchange and cooperation" has for the fist time been laid down in the country's defense policy, signifying the strategic importance of military exchange in advancing the ongoing military reforms with Chinese characteristics.


(Xinhua News Agency December 31, 2004)

Vij's Visit Signals High Hopes
Military Spending Solely for Defense Purpose
Russia, China to Hold Massive Joint Drill
White Paper on National Defense Published
China's Pragmatic Military Diplomacy in 2004
Print This Page
Email This Page
About Us SiteMap Feedback
Copyright © China Internet Information Center. All Rights Reserved
E-mail: webmaster@china.org.cn Tel: 86-10-68326688