This year marks the 93rd anniversary of the founding of the People's Liberation Army of China. Over the past 93 years, under the leadership of the Chinese Communist Party, the PLA has made its mark in history with splendid achievements. It has committed itself to the liberation and wellbeing of the Chinese people, and to the independence and rejuvenation of the Chinese nation. Over the past 93 years and with complete dedication to the people, the PLA has served the people wholeheartedly as per its founding principles. Entering the New Era, guided by the Xi Jinping Thoughts on building a strong military, the PLA remains true to its original aspiration and keeps its mission firmly in mind. It has faithfully fulfilled every mission entrusted by the Party and the people. No danger or challenge could ever stop the PLA from advancing with tremendous courage and morale, be it border patrol or counter terrorism, exercise or training, UN peacekeeping or maritime escort, disaster relief or disease control. With its infinite loyalty, striving and sacrifice, the PLA has made continuous contribution to the world. History and reality prove that the PLA is indeed a force of victory, of iron discipline, and of peace. The growth of the PLA provides not only solid protection to the national sovereignty, security and development interest of China, but also robust support to the global peace and progress.
As President Xi Jinping points out, China will be a builder of world peace, a contributor to global development and an upholder of the international order. China's military will always be a staunch force that safeguards world peace. Going forward, the PLA will continue to advocate common, comprehensive, cooperative and sustainable security, perform the international duty that is required of the military of a big country, and make greater contribution to the building of lasting peace and universal security.
Firstly, the Chinese military unswervingly pursues a national defense policy that is defensive in nature. This is determined by China's decision to follow the path of peaceful development. On the one hand, the pursuit of both development and security is an integral part of the China Dream, which aims at building both a prosperous country and a powerful military as required by the grand rejuvenation of the Chinese nation. A peaceful and stable environment is essential for China's development. Faced with multiple and complex security threats and challenges, the PLA will resolutely safeguard China's national security and core interests, support its sustainable development, and take active defensive actions in order to prevent crises, and deter and win wars. The PLA will never allow the secession of any part of Chinese territory by anyone or any force by any means at any time. On the other hand, the Chinese nation has always loved peace and opposed militarism. Since its founding 70 years ago, the People's Republic of China has never started any war or provoked any conflict. The PLA has never taken by force an inch of land from any other country. It is not by relying on handouts from others or by engaging in military expansion or colonial plunder that China has grown from a poor and weak country to what it is today. History proves and will continue to prove that China will never follow the beaten trail of previous powers who sought hegemony. No matter developed it becomes, China will never seek hegemony, expansion or spheres of influence.
Secondly, the Chinese military unswervingly serve the building of a community with a shared future for mankind. Today's world is faced with more pronounced instability and uncertainty. No country can respond alone or stand aloof. The world is increasingly becoming a community with a shared future, where interests and security needs are intertwined. The PLA has responded faithfully to the call for building a community with a shared future for mankind, and has expounded, through its peaceful actions, on the global implication of China's defense capability. This year, in the face of a sudden outbreak of the Covid-19, the PLA responded promptly when called upon to meet the severe challenge, and made remarkable contribution to the nationwide efforts to put virus under control. At the same time, the PLA also actively joined hands with the international community in fighting the pandemic. Medical supplies has been sent to the armed forces of nearly 50 countries, including Pakistan, Thailand, Tajikistan, Saudi Arabia, Ethiopia, Argentina, Peru etc. Online conferences have been held to exchange the experiences of controlling Covid-19 with over 10 countries such as Russia, South Africa, Singapore, Indonesia etc. The PLA medical expert teams have been dispatched to the Laos, Cambodia and many other countries. With profound sincerity and efforts, the PLA has been working together with partners around the world to overcome the current difficulties and has made substantial contribution to the global fight against Covid-19. All these fully demonstrate that the PLA is committed to honoring its international responsibilities as the armed forces of a responsible country. The PLA is willing to continue working side by side with defense forces of other countries around the world, in a joint effort to win the ultimate victory in the global battle against Covid-19.
Thirdly, we unswervingly promote world peace and development. The PLA will continue to deepen exchanges and cooperation with the military of foreign countries, to participate actively in international joint response to global security challenges and to provide more public security goods to the international community.
We are determined to continue participating in the UN peacekeeping operations. This year marks the 30th anniversary of the PLA's participation in the UNPKOs. Over the past 30 years, China has participated in 25 UN peacekeeping missions and has contributed more than 40,000 peacekeepers. Fifteen Chinese military personnel have sacrificed their lives in the UNPKOs. China is the largest troop contributor and the second largest budget contributor among the permanent members of the UN Security Council.
We will continue to safeguard the security of international maritime passages. Since the year 2008, the PLA has dispatched 35 convoys to regular vessel escort operations in, for example, the waters near the Gulf of Aden. In total, escort has been provided to nearly 7,000 ships in over 1,300 operations, half of which were non-Chinese commercial ships.
We will continue to facilitate international and regional counter-terrorism cooperation. Over the past years, a series of "Peace Mission" military exercises have been held and counter-terrorism intelligence has been shared under the framework of Shanghai Cooperation Organization. The "Great Wall" international forum on counter-terrorism has been held.
Multilateral activities have also been organized such as the "Beijing Xiangshan Forum", which provided a platform where dialogues on regional security can be held to promote mutual trust and cooperation. Through safeguarding world peace, China creates favorable conditions for its development; through self-development, China is able to do more to safeguard world peace. Facts have shown that a stronger PLA helps strengthen the force that upholds peace and deters war, and hence making greater contribution to peace and development in the world.
As China's Defence Attaché to the UK, I feel proud of the progress made by the PLA towards the goal of building a strong army. I am also delighted to see that pragmatic communication and cooperation have been conducted on multiple levels and in a variety of domains between the PLA and the British Armed Forces, thanks to the joint efforts of both sides. Achievements have already been made in fields like military training, peacekeeping, personnel training, etc. At present, the prolonged spread of Covid-19 worldwide has accelerated the profound changes in the world unseen in a century. The human society is once again standing at a new crossroads and faced with major choices between multilateralism and unilateralism, between cooperation and confrontation, and between win-win collaboration and zero-sum game. These would be vital choices that will have a significant impact on global development and human destiny. The PLA attaches great importance to cultivating friendly and cooperative relations with the British Armed Forces. It is hoped that the strategic communication and coordination between the two could be strengthened while engagement and cooperation could be broadened.
First, China and the UK should enhance strategic mutual trust. While the two countries differ in history, culture and social system, our differences should not prevent us from strengthening mutual trust and cooperation. Given the profound changes the world is currently faced with, China-UK relationship is gaining global and strategic significance, and should be seen and handled from the strategic and long-term perspectives. The two countries should regard each other as an opportunity rather than a threat, a partner rather than an adversary. We should respect each other's core interests and major concerns, deepen strategic mutual trust and enhance engagement and cooperation, so that the bilateral and mil-to-mil relations could develop in a healthy fashion.
Second, China and the UK should carry on with pragmatic cooperation. Given the complex changes of today's international strategic climate, the cooperation between the PLA and the UK Armed Forces is invaluable for both sides in addressing various challenges on security and development. Building on our past achievements, both sides need to further remove obstacles and explore potentials in order to widen and deepen engagement and cooperation on a more regular basis. In the short run, priority could be accorded to the two-way communication and exchanges, academic symposium and personnel training in fields like pandemic prevention & control, military medical science, logistics management, international peacekeeping, military training, humanitarian aid, disaster relief and so on. These would not only serve the interests of China and the UK but also promote the wellbeing of the world.
Third, China and the UK should work together to safeguard world peace. Today's world is characterized by sophisticated strategic rivalry. The risk to global and regional stability remains high. As permanent members of UNSC, China and the UK shoulder the responsibilities of maintaining global and regional peace and stability. Both countries and our armed forces need to join hands in fulfilling our international duties and obligations. By working together to cope with global security challenges of various kinds, China and the UK could write a new chapter on safeguarding world peace and stability, and building a community with a shared future for mankind.
As President Xi Jinping says, "At different times there are different challenges. Each generation has its own mission." Winston Churchill also said, "The price of greatness is responsibility."
We should understand the historical mission and responsibility entrusted on us in our times. For the sake of the wellbeing of both Chinese and British people, and for the peace, stability and prosperity of the world, we need to increasingly substantiate our bilateral relations, handle our differences properly, to mitigate disruptions, and seek common grounds for win-win cooperation. We believe that through our joint efforts, the development of the China-UK mil-to-mil relations will gain a healthy momentum, bringing more positive energy to a sustained "Global Comprehensive Strategic Partnership" between the two countries, as well as to the global and regional peace and stability.
The Chinese Embassy in Uk will host an on-line photo and video exhibition in celebration of the 93rd Anniversary of The Founding of The People's Liberation Army of China.