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April 24, 2019

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China displays new-gen missile destroyers

CHINA unveiled to the world the first of its new-generation guided missile destroyers yesterday as President Xi Jinping reviewed a major naval parade through mist and rain to mark 70 years since the founding of China’s navy.

Xi is overseeing a sweeping plan to refurbish the People’s Liberation Army by developing everything from stealth jets to aircraft carriers. The navy has been a major beneficiary of the modernization.

After boarding the destroyer Xining, which was commissioned two years ago, Xi watched as a flotilla of Chinese and foreign ships sailed past, in waters off the eastern port city of Qingdao.

“Salute to you, comrades. Comrades, thanks for your hard work,” Xi called out to the officers standing on deck as the ships sailed past, in images carried on state television.

“Hail to you, chairman,” they replied. “Serve the people.”

Eighteen visiting naval ships from 13 countries participated, including Russian Navy frigate Admiral Gorshkov and Australian Navy HMAS frigate Melbourne. The foreign vessels saluted Xi in their traditional manners as they passed by.

China’s first domestically produced aircraft carrier, which is still unnamed and undergoing sea trials, was not present, though the carrier Liaoning was, the report said.

The Liaoning, the country’s first carrier, was bought from Ukraine in 1998 and refitted in China.

China Central Television also showed pictures of the Nanchang at the review, the first of a new fleet of 10,000-ton destroyers, though details of that and other ships were hard to determine from the footage due to the intermittent thick mist and rain.

Oceans are of great significance to the survival and development of humanity as they breed life, connect the world and promote development, Xi said.

“The blue planet humans inhabit is not divided into islands by the oceans, but is connected by the oceans to form a community with a shared future, where people of all countries share weal and woe,” he said.

“The peace-loving Chinese people long for peace and will unswervingly stay on the path of peaceful development,” Xi said.

China pursues a national defense policy that is defensive in nature and champions new thinking on common, comprehensive, cooperative, and sustainable security, he noted.

“Holding high the banner of win-win cooperation, the Chinese military is committed to creating a security environment featuring equality, mutual trust, fairness and justice, joint participation and shared benefits,” he said.

As the mainstay of forces at sea, the navies shoulder heavy responsibilities for safeguarding maritime peace and order, Xi said. Nations should enhance mutual respect, equal treatment and mutual trust, strengthen maritime dialogue and exchanges, deepen practical naval cooperation, and pursue a mutually beneficial and win-win approach to maritime security, he said.

Xi called for joint efforts to address common threats and challenges at sea, and safeguard maritime peace and tranquility. At present, ocean-based cooperation in market, technology, information, culture, and other areas is steadily deepening, Xi said.

The reason for China to propose jointly building the 21st Century Maritime Silk Road, Xi said, is to facilitate maritime connectivity, pragmatic cooperation in various fields, and the development of the “blue economy,” as well as to promote the integration of maritime cultures and to improve maritime wellbeing.

“The Chinese armed forces are willing to work with their foreign counterparts to actively contribute to maritime development and prosperity,” Xi said.

“We should cherish oceans as we treat our lives,” Xi said. He noted that China has fully participated in the formulation and implementation of maritime governance mechanism and related rules within the UN framework, and implemented the goal of sustainable marine development.

China pays great attention to the building of marine ecological civilization, persistently intensifies the prevention and treatment of marine pollution, protects marine biodiversity and orderly exploits the marine resources in order to leave a blue sky and clean ocean for future generations, he said.

“The sea is vast for it embraces so many rivers,” Xi said.

All countries should consult as equals, improve the mechanism for communication in face of crises, strengthen regional security cooperation, and promote the proper solution to maritime disputes, according to Xi. He expressed hope that the delegations would gather their ideas, build consensus and contribute their wisdom to building a maritime community with a shared future.

Commander-in-Chief of the Royal Thai Navy Admiral Luechai Ruddit, on behalf of the heads of foreign delegations, thanked Xi for the meeting and congratulated the PLA Navy on its 70th founding anniversary. He also thanked the Chinese government, military and navy for their contributions to and efforts in advancing a community with a shared future for humanity. Luechai expressed belief that the concept and proposal of a maritime community with a shared future will promote cooperation among navies and contribute to maritime peace and prosperity.


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