China’s Strong Military Staunch Force for World Peace and Stability
Chinese Ambassador to Kenya, Dr. Zhou Pingjian’s Article Published on The Star
30 July 2021
Never seeking hegemony, expansion or spheres of influence is the distinctive feature of China's national defense. The Chinese people have always loved peace. As a country that has suffered from foreign aggression and expansion, China knows only too well the value of peace and the cruelty and destructiveness of war. Therefore, China will never inflict such sufferings on any other country. The socialist system of China, the strategic decision to follow the path of peaceful development, the independent foreign policy of peace, and the best of cultural traditions – considering peace and harmony as fundamentals – determine that China pursues a national defense policy that is defensive in nature.
China develops its military to cope with security threats. Similar scenario can be traced to when China had to develop nuclear capabilities of its own under nuclear threat. Having grown from a poor and weak country to be the world’s second largest economy, China always remembers that though a country may become strong, bellicosity will lead to its ruin. For the last 70-plus years since the founding of the People’s Republic, China has never started a war or encroached on an inch of foreign soil. Since the introduction of reform and opening-up, China has voluntarily downsized the PLA by over 4 million troops. In 2021, China’s defense budget was 1.35 trillion yuan (about 200 billion U.S. dollars), per capita about 140 U.S Dollars. Since dropping to 7.6 percent in 2016, China’s annual defense budget growth has remained under 10 percent for six consecutive years and China’s military spending as a share of GDP is at a lower level than other major countries. China sticks to the path of peaceful development as outlined in the Constitution of the CPC and the People’s Republic of China, thus reaffirmed as the will of the CPC and the state.
Despite complex and volatile international security situation, the China and its armed forces is always committed to regional and world prosperity and stability. In UN peacekeeping missions, China is the largest contributor of peacekeepers among the five permanent members of the UN Security Council. Since 1990, China’s armed forces have sent more than 40,000 military personnel to various peacekeeping missions mainly in Africa. Currently, over 2000 Chinese servicemen are on active UN duty in Africa. China is the second largest contributor to the UN peacekeeping budget and UN membership fees. China accounts for 15.21% of UN peacekeeping assessment. As of May 2021, China had organised 38 naval convoys including 114 naval vessels and over 31,000 military personnel to escort ships, authorized by the United Nations in the Gulf of Aden and the waters off Somalia. They have escorted the safe passage of over 7,000 ships from around the world, half of which are foreign ships. In international humanitarian operations, the PLA has so far carried out over 30 emergency humanitarian missions. The “Peace Ark” hospital ship has gone abroad 9 times, sailed more than 240,000 nautical miles, and provided medical service in 43 countries and regions, including Kenya and for more than 230,000 people. In the face of COVID-19, China and Africa have offered mutual support and fought shoulder to shoulder with each other. The PLA has provided vaccines to the militaries of Zimbabwe, Sudan, Sierra Leone, Ethiopia, Mozambique among others.
World peace and stability face severe challenges from surging protectionism and unilateralism, lingering hegemonism and power politics, and conflicts, and rising non-traditional threats such as terrorism, transnational crime, epidemics, climate change and refugee crisis. The COVID-19 pandemic reminds us again that humankind is a community with a shared future and a common stake. Just as President Xi Jinping, Chairman of the Central Military Commission stresses, “No country can address alone the many challenges facing mankind; no country can afford to retreat into self-isolation.”
August 1, 2021 marks the 94th Anniversary of the Founding of the People’s Liberation Army of China (PLA). During the past 94 years, under the leadership of the CPC, the PLA has always fought for the liberation and happiness of the Chinese people and pursued independence and rejuvenation of the nation. It has braved the flames of war and made tremendous sacrifice.
The PLA has fulfilled the role entrusted to it by the CPC and the Chinese people to provide strategic support for consolidating the leadership of the CPC and the socialist system, defending national sovereignty, unity, territorial integrity, safeguarding overseas interests of China, and promoting world peace and development.
A strong military of China is a staunch force for world peace, stability and a community with a shared future for mankind. China’s armed forces advocate for common, comprehensive, cooperative and sustainable security, uphold justice while pursuing shared interests, and actively participate in the reform of global security governance system. Committed to the principle of win-win cooperation, China’s armed forces will fulfill their international responsibilities and obligations, and support the international community, thus making a positive contribution to building a community with a shared future for mankind.