The opening ceremony of the four-day multinational naval event was held on April 22 to mark the PLA Navy’s 70th anniversary. A military parade is held today in Qingdao and its surrounding sea and airspace. Undoubtedly, the Chinese navy will be the focus of the world navies in the following days.
Navy’s rapid development is the epitome of China’s rapid development. What types of new warships will be unveiled on the military parade has generated much media’s attention. And which countries will send delegations and warships to Qingdao has been regarded as an important symbol of China’s military and diplomatic influence.
Some Western media criticized China using this fleet review to show off. They might be reluctant to see China’s revival as a major global power. Therefore, it is not surprising to see the complex feelings behind such criticism.
However, China’s rise is a fact that cannot be ignored. It is in the common interest of all parties to acknowledge it. China has always been committed to strengthening coordination with all parties, demonstrating that it‘s not only concerned with its own development, but also cares about the interests and feelings of the others. It is not appropriate for some other parties trying to block China’s development, and even propagating such prevention as a moral imperative.
Which of China's new ships will be unveiled may not matter so much. It is an open secret that China has built a second aircraft carrier, a new nuclear submarine and a new destroyer with large displacement capacity. In the future, China will have more aircraft carriers launched. There is no doubt that the Chinese navy will be more capable of completing near-water defense tasks, and will be more powerful to go to the high seas.
As far as this is concerned, there is one thing must to be mentioned here. For the past three decades, Chinese navy concentrated on its own business, never being involved in any combat. When the U.S. media, as well as their UK and France peers made cynic comments about the Chinese naval activities, they’d better be reminded that during this period, it was from their military bases or aircraft carriers that the aircraft is often seen taking off to carry out controversial bombing tasks of various small and weak countries, without any authorization from the UN.
The ratio of China’s military expenditure to GDP is lower than that of the U.S. or any other big military powers. So far, China’s military defense has only concentrated on the off-shore areas. Irresponsible remarks on Chinese national defense policy are never out of the value of justice, but driven by some kinds of selfish and narrow-minded psychology.
The multinational activities marking the 70th founding anniversary of the PLA Navy are open and straight forward, with neighboring countries that have territorial and diplomatic disputes with China also sending ships to participate. This reflects a successful joint management among us. The suspicion of the so-called “China’s military threat” does not bother those countries when dealing with the overall relationships.
Our military forces are used to defend peace. The Chinese people are most qualified to say such words, and we are sincere in this attitude. It is hard to imagine that some day Chinese aircraft carrier would go to open sea to punish a small country, or its fleet could cruise near the coast of a hostile country and bully it to sign a treaty. We can say for sure very confidently that the strong Chinese navy would never follow the maritime imperial actions that some major navies have done before.
At the same time, for those imperial countries, no matter how strong they might be, it’s better not coming to China’s coastal waters to flaunt their prowess. One of the purposes of China’s constructing a strong navy is exactly to restrain externally arrogant forces from crossing China’s doorsteps. The confidence of the Chinese people in their capability to safeguard national sovereignty and defend regional peace and security has been indeed growing. We have strength as well as most sincere desire to respect every country in the region. East Asia will not become the Balkans, and the Western Pacific will not be the Atlantic Ocean, both of which had once been used as battle fields to clean up contradictions.
Historically, the navies of major powers have grown up by the demand for expansion, while Chinese navy is probably the only one that has grown up with the desire and real needs of “not being bullied”. China is also having contradictions with the outside world, but its willingness to solve the problem peacefully is deeply rooted. Understanding China’s military and diplomatic philosophy is a major issue for the outside world to truly understand China.
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