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Speech by Ambassador Xu Feihong at the National Defense College of Romania
(From Chinese Embassy in Romania)
2016/03/17

Coming to the academic institution of the Romanian Ministry of National Defence recalls me a proverb: China and Romania are 'friends in need' and 'friends indeed'.

In 2008, when a devastating earthquake struck Wenchuan in China, the Romanian Defence Ministry dispatched twice military aircraft to deliver humanitarian aid to China. As the Deputy Director-General of the Department of European Affairs of the Chinese Foreign Ministry at that time, I personally joined the work of coordination to receive the aid. The Romanian materials effectively helped the reconstruction of the afflicted area. The Chinese government and people will never forget the valuable assistance offered by our Romanian friends.

I was quite moved then by your country's help. And I am more than happy to become the Chinese Ambassador to your country several years later.

The audience here today represents not only experts on defence and security affairs, but also officials and staff from government institutions. I know that you are interested in world situation and China's contribution to world peace. It is my pleasure to exchange views with you.

The year 2015 was witnessed by many important events. The world situation remained complicated with frequent hot-spot issues. Global economy was in weak recovery, and the growth in emerging market slowed down. The Ukraine crisis and other resurgence of geopolitics are protracted. Many countries in the Middle East remain unstable. Over one million refugees reached Europe, and the EU free movement principle was challenged. Injustice and inequality are still outstanding in international relations. There are signs of increasing hegemonism, power politics and neo-interventionism. Traditional security threats like arms race are intertwined with non-traditional ones such as terrorism and cyber security. Will the world fall into turbulence?

Analysing the international situation, I think that the general trend of world peace has not changed despite of regional turmoils. The global trend toward multipolarity and economic globalisation are deepening. Peace, development, cooperation and mutual benefit remain the main themes of our times.

Last year, countries across the world celebrated the 70th anniversary of the victory of the World Anti-Fascist War, as well as the 70th anniversary of the founding of the United Nations. The purposes and principles of the UN Charter were further confirmed and promoted by the international community. The post-2020 UN climate change deal was reached, whereas the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development launched. The Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank (AIIB) was founded, and the preparation of New Development Bank BRICS is moving forward smoothly. Pursuit of peace, development and win-win cooperation is the common aspiration of most countries, tipping the balance of international forces in favour of the maintenance of world peace.

As the world second largest economy, China shares weal and woe with the world. China has more than 30,000 overseas companies with aggregate assets worth trillions of US dollars. Millions of Chinese are living abroad, among which over one million are technicians and workers and near two million are students. Last year Chinese citizens made over 120 million overseas visits, covering more than 150 countries and regions. China's interests are deeply integrated with the world, and China's development will certainly benefit world peace and prosperity.

China will unswervingly follow the path of peaceful development and a win-win strategy of opening up. On 3 September 2015, China held a parade at Tian'anmen Square to commemorate the 70th Anniversary of the victory of the Chinese People's War of Resistance against Japanese Aggression and the World Anti-Fascist War. The purpose of the parade was to remember the lessons of history by heart and to safeguard the hard-won peace. With a painful memory of the past, the Chinese people are persistently committed to working with the people of other countries to uphold world peace and promote common development.

In order to build a peaceful and harmonious world, China proposed to construct a new type of international relations of win-win cooperation, actively establishing all sorts of partnership with other countries. China will uphold the right approach to justice and interests. China insists on equality as the basis of international relations, believing that all the countries should respect each other and avoid conflicts or confrontation. All countries should maintain the world peace and security hand in hand and pursue the common development through cooperation.

China's determination to safeguard world peace is also reflected in its active participation in UN peacekeeping tasks. Among the P5, China has the largest peacekeeping staff in the UN operations. China is also the second largest contributor to the UN peacekeeping budget. China has taken part in peacekeeping missions for 25 years, sending more than 30,000 peacekeepers to Cambodia, East Timor, Haiti, Gulf of Aden, South Sudan and so forth in 29 UN operations, with eighteen people lost their lives. Since 2008, the Chinese navy has conducted escort missions off the Somali coast. So far, we have dispatched 22 fleets to escort over 6,000 Chinese and foreign ships passing through those waters.

Last year, China announced to establish a ten-year, one billion US dollar China-UN peace and development fund. China decided to take the lead in setting up a permanent peacekeeping police squad and build a peacekeeping standby force of 8,000 troops. In the coming five years, China will train 2,000 peacekeepers from other countries, and provide free military aid of 100 million US dollars to the African Union.

Dear friends,

China shoulders more and more international obligations nowadays. From sending medical teams to the fight against Ebola in Western Africa, to the rescue of Chinese and foreigners trapped in Yemen; from dispatching fleets to escort ships, to offering international emergency humanitarian aid, China constantly provide public security goods to the international community.

Yet some people are fanning up the so-called China threat, ignoring China's contribution. They may do so out of ignorance about China's past and present as well as its culture and policies, or they may do so out of misunderstanding of and bias against China. What we in China believe, starting with our forefathers, is that the strong and rich should not bully the weak and poor. And we see great truth in the saying that 'a warlike country, however big it might be, is bound to perish.'

The Chinese people cherish peace. We will never abandon the determination and aspiration to maintain peace. We will never force the misery we have suffered ourselves onto others. China has never and will never seek hegemony or behave in a hegemonic manner, nor will it engage in military expansion. China's policy will never threaten or be directed against other countries.

Ladies and gentlemen,

China has entered a decisive stage for the construction of a well-off society. Just a few days ago, China's 13th Five-Year Plan was passed in the National People's Congress. By 2020, we will meet one of our two 'centenary goals' by doubling the 2010 GDP and per capita income. China's national defence and armed forces must match our national development goals, in order to better safeguard national security and world peace.

The defence and military reform is deepening in China. We have declared to cut our troops by 300,000. A general command centre for land forces and five theatre commands were set up. The four military headquarters--staff, politics, logistics and armaments--were reorganised into fifteen new agencies under the Central Military Commission (CMC). In 2016 China's defence budget grows by 7.6 per cent, which ranks the lowest in the past six years. The proportion of China's defence expenditure in the GDP is about 1.3 per cent, far below the world average of 2.6 per cent.

Next step, we will continue the adjustment of the military administrative setup and staffing. We will shape up the new type of military personnel cultivating system, deepening the integration between the military and civilian sectors. We will improve the structure of command and management system of the Armed Police Force. We will make a breakthrough by 2020 in the leadership and management system and joint operational command system of the army, making it a staunch force upholding world peace, state's prosperity, national rejuvenation, and people's well-being.

To optimise command system and improved military equipment, Romania is carrying out military reform as well. China and Romania can exchange experiences and learn from each other. China and Romania are both pace-loving nations. Both pursue a national defence policy that is defensive in nature. We have common aspirations for safeguarding national sovereignty, security, and world peace. I would strongly encourage you to further tap the potential of China-Romania cooperation, making our military exchanges bear fruitful results. I hope that China and Romania will join hands together, making even greater contribution to the noble cause of peace and development for mankind!

Thank you.



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