Marching on for 90 years : Committed to the duty of peace | Sunday Observer

Marching on for 90 years : Committed to the duty of peace

Chinese Ambassador and senior Officials in attendance at the ceremony
Chinese Ambassador and senior Officials in attendance at the ceremony

The 90th Anniversary of the founding of the People’s Liberation Army of China (PLA) was held at Galle Face Hotel, Colombo on July 26 under the auspices of State Minister of Defence, Ruwan Wijewardene. Over 400 distinguished guests from a wide spectrum of the Sri Lankan society, especially, from Government and the Military graced the occasion.

Addressing the reception, Senior Colonel Xu Jianwei said, China’s armed forces that have passed an extraordinary 90 years are committed to the duty of peace, act as builders of world peace, contributors to global development and defenders of the international order. Over the past decades, the Chinese military has performed an increasing role in peacekeeping, naval escort and international humanitarian assistance, which won more and more praise.

On August 1, 1927, the Communist Party of China launched an armed uprising striving for national independence and the people’s liberation. August 1, the glorious day is now known as Army Day in China. Under the strong leadership of the Communist Party of China (CPC) the People’s Liberation Army of China (PLA) has made an indelible historical contribution to the Chinese people’s liberation, socialist construction and reform, safeguarding national sovereignty, security and development interests, maintaining world peace and promoting human progress. The PLA has become world-famous as a formidable, civilized and peaceful military force.

Starting in late 2015, China began to implement plans for a structural military reorganization, which is the most significant in reforms of the PLA. Under the principle of the Central Military Commission taking charge of the overall military administration, focusing on combat and the different military branches pursuing their own development, the reforms sought to improve leadership administration and the command of joint operations, he said.

He said, under the strong leadership of the CPC Central Committee with Comrade Xi Jinping at its core, China’s armed forces will effectively perform their mission in the new historical period, and resolutely uphold the leadership of the CPC and the socialist system with Chinese characteristics. They will safeguard China’s sovereignty, security and development interests, and the important period of strategic opportunities for China’s development; maintain regional and world peace, and strive to provide a strong guarantee for completing the building of a moderately prosperous society in all respects and achieve the great rejuvenation of the Chinese nation.

“Peace is the common aspiration of mankind and the greatest value of the military. Pursuing a concept featuring common, comprehensive, cooperative and sustainable security, China’s armed forces will continue to develop military-to-military relations that are non-aligned, non-confrontational and not directed against any third party. They will strive to establish fair and effective collective security mechanisms and military confidence-building measures (CBMs), expand military and security cooperation, and create a security environment favourable to China’s peaceful development,” he said.

State Minister of Defence, Ruwan Wijewardene said, in the recent past, we have witnessed a dynamic development in the China-Sri Lanka relations. These results accomplished through our joint efforts, give us courage and motivation to forge ahead for an even greater progress in our relations.

He said, defence cooperation forms an integral and significant aspect of the overall bilateral relations of our two countries; Sri Lanka deeply appreciated the steadfast support extended by China in defeating terrorism. China demonstrated its solidarity with Sri Lanka and its people by providing both, moral and material support during this critical time.

During the state visit of President Maithripala Sirisena to China in March 2015, the two leaders reiterated the view that Sri Lanka and China are all-weather friends, whose relations span centuries and have stood the test of time. They reaffirmed that the bilateral relations and strong bonds of friendship are founded on mutual respect and understanding and shared cultural values. The President reiterated Sri Lanka’s commitment to uphold the “One China Policy” which has been a consistent position in Sri Lanka’s foreign policy.

Minister Wijewardene said, during the visit of Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe in April, 2016, a joint statement was issued in which reference was made to maintaining close relations in the area of defence.

“The two sides expressed willingness to maintain close relations in the area of defence.” The recent visit of the Premier to China to attend the “One Belt One Way Summit” in May 2017, paved the way to further the relations between the countries to its highest levels. The visit of General Chang Wanquan, State Counsellor and Minister of National Defence of China to Sri Lanka, in March 2017, was yet another significant demonstration of the goodwill and friendship that exist between Sri Lanka and China.

The Minister said, over the past 90 years, the PLA has made great strides and grown into a strong military force in the contemporary world. It can be seen that the PLA is adapting to the challenges in the present geo-political environment and also, accelerating its modernization and enhancing its resolve and capabilities to achieve territorial integrity, national sovereignty, national security and other interests of the People’s Republic of China, so that it aspires to provide a strong guarantee in making the great Chinese nation strong.

“It was learnt that the PLA has established relations with Armed Forces from more than 150 nations all over the world, including Sri Lanka. I am attending this event today, at a time when several important developments have taken place in the Sri Lanka-China relationship. We have demonstrated strong defence links over the years,” the Minister said.