PLA Navy will safeguard world peace: Hu

QINGDAO: China will never be a threat to other nations and its armed forces will be an important force in safeguarding world peace and development, Chinese President Hu Jintao has said.

Mr. Hu told the heads of 29 foreign navy delegations that China would neither seek hegemony nor turn to military expansion or arms races. The delegations are here to participate in the 60th anniversary celebrations of the People’s Liberation Army Navy.

Mr. Hu said China would stick to the road of peaceful development, which demanded China adhere to its national defence policy which was defensive in nature.

It was a strategic choice made by the Chinese government and people in line with the nation’s peace-loving tradition, the trend of the time and China’s fundamental interests, said Mr. Hu.

He noted that cooperation and exchanges between naval forces of different countries were key to building a “harmonious ocean,” which was the theme of the anniversary celebrations.

The PLA Navy would be more open and practical in international maritime security cooperation and unremittingly work towards the goal of building a harmonious ocean, Mr. Hu added.

Mr. Hu urged the nations to respect each other’s sovereignty and interests and to seek mutual development while combating conventional and unconventional threats in the oceans and protecting maritime safety.

Speaking for the foreign navy delegations, Admiral Julio Soares de Moura Neto, commander of the Brazilian Navy, thanked Mr. Hu, who is also the Chairman of the Central Military Commission, and congratulated the PLA Navy on its 60th anniversary. He also expressed his appreciation of the efforts by the Chinese government and the PLA Navy in building a harmonious ocean.

China concluded the four-day celebration on Thursday with an unprecedented parade of PLA Navy warships and an international fleet review. The parade, the fourth since 1949 but the first on such a large and international scale, displayed 25 of the PLA Navy’s vessels, including two nuclear-powered submarines, and 31 naval aircraft.

The parade was followed by an international fleet review which saw the participation of 21 foreign vessels from 14 countries, including the United States’ destroyer USS Fitzgerald and the Russian cruiser CG-011 Varyag.

Mr. Hu reviewed the Chinese warships and their foreign counterparts from onboard the PLA Navy destroyer Shijiazhuang in the waters off the port city of Qingdao.

More than 200 military officers from foreign embassies in China, reporters and Chinese people from various social circles observed the fleet review on the viewing ship Zhenghe.

According to Rear-Admiral Zhang Shiying, deputy commander of the PLA Navy’s Beihai (North Sea) Fleet, all the Chinese vessels and aircraft paraded were independently designed and made by China and represented the latest Navy equipment.

PLA Navy Commander Admiral Wu Shengli also said the celebration was aimed at demonstrating China’s determination and capability to maintain a peaceful, harmonious ocean together with other nations.

Thursday afternoon’s PLA Navy parade also featured the two Chinese nuclear submarines, the Long March 6 and the Long March 3. It was the first-ever public appearance of the PLA Navy’s nuclear submarines. — Xinhua

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