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Speech by HE Ambassador Ms Wu Xiat the Reception in Celebration of 91st Anniversary of the Founding of Chinese People's Liberation Army

Honorable Ron Mark, Minister of Defence,

Air Marshal Kevin Short, Chief of Defence Force


Distinguished guests,

Ladies and Gentlemen,

It’s my great honor and pleasure to welcome all of you for joining us today to celebrate the 91st anniversary of the founding of Chinese People’s Liberation Army. I would like to take this opportunity to extend my warm congratulations to our men and women in uniform, and pay high tribute to our PLA heroes for their courage, devotion and sacrifice.

Over the past 91 years, the PLA has been fighting heroically for the independence and liberation of the Chinese nation. It merits its reputation as China’s Great Wall of Steel for its indispensable role in safeguarding national sovereignty and security. The PLA is also tasked with so many important missions, such as rescue and disaster relief, and supporting economic and social undertakings. It stands rock-firm as a pillar for China’s economic development and social stability.

While performing its duties to safeguard China’s national security, the PLA plays an important role in maintaining world peace and stability. It participates extensively in United Nations peacekeeping operations. To date, China has sent over 37,000 peacekeepers to 24 UN peacekeeping missions, more than any other permenant members of the UN security council. China has established a peacekeeping standby force of 8,000 troops and two standby peacekeeping police units. China has sent its first helicopter squad to a United Nations peacekeeping operation in Africa and is giving the African Union assistance for peace-keeping capacity building. Since 2008, the PLA Navy has deployed 29 convoys to the Gulf of Aden and waters off Somalia which escorted over 6500 Chinese and foreign vessels.

The PLA has also maintained good interactions with the defence forces of other countries, including the New Zealand Defence Force. Mil to mil exchanges and cooperation help enhance mutual trust between our two countries. It is an integral part of China-New Zealand relations. Over the years, the PLA and New Zealand Defence Force have conducted cooperation in education and training, joint military exercises and professional exchanges, and have built mechanism of strategic engagement. Last month, the PLA Air Force and Royal New Zealand Air Force for the first time conducted the Skytrain joint exercise, which printed another ‘first’ in the long list in China-New Zealand relation.

China adheres to the peaceful road of development, an independent foreign policy of peace and a national defence policy that is defensive in nature. The 19th Party Congress last year ushered socialism with Chinese characteristics into a new era and drew a blueprint for China’s future development. In this new era, China will stay committed to the socialism with Chinese characteristics and continue to reform and open-up, so as to take on the historic responsibility to pursue happiness for its people and rejuvenation for the nation. The prosperity of 1.3 billion Chinese people is the biggest contribution China makes to the world.

The world is experiencing major changes something unseen in a century. This is a world of both opportunies and challenges. On the one hand, we live in an increasingly multi-polar and globalized world. The IT revolution and cultural diversity are facts of life. In such a world, the call for peace, development and win-win cooperation has become the order of the day. On the other hand, it is also true that the international situation has become more uncertain and unpredictable. While unilateralism, protectionism and populism still manifest themselves, non-traditional security threats such as terrorism, climate change and refugee flows remain unresolved.

To address the challenges facing the international community, all of us should work closely together. China will stay as determined as ever to build world peace, contribute to global prosperity and uphold the international order. China is committed to building a new type of international relations and a community with a shared future for mankind.

To achieve this goal, China will undoubtedly adhere to the spirit of UN Charter with all member countries to safeguard the world order and international system, continue to contribute its wisdom and proposals to help settle international and regional hotspots issues, and push forward the Belt and Road cooperation under the commitment to achieving shared benefits through extensive consultation and joint contribution.

To achieve this goal, China will stay committed to building partnerships around the world. China and New Zealand have set the examplar in this regard. We can and should do more. We should further enhance political mutual trust, respecting each other’s development path and expand mutually beneficial cooperation to further promote this very important and promising relationship, not just for the benefit of our two peoples, but for the peace, stability and common prosperity of the region and beyond.

Now, I would like to propose a toast,

To the 91st anniversary of the founding of the Chinese PLA,

To the lasting friendship between China and New Zealand.

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