Chinese Navy devotes itself to global marine security

CGTN | 作者: Teng Jianqun | 时间: 2019-04-25 | 责编: Wang Jiapei
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In 2018, an action war film called "Operation Red Sea" became popular in the Chinese film market. The storyline was simple: a Chinese navy special task force was ordered to rescue a hijacked merchant ship. On the way back, it was also ordered to go to a war-torn country to evacuate Chinese expatriates. After going through all kinds of hardships, the team completes the task.

Thanks to its refreshing style, the film was a box office success and was highly rated. When people watch the film, they should realize the more profound meaning behind it – Chinese soldiers are appearing on the world stage as a force for good to protect China's interests and safeguard international peace.

In the past 70 years, the Chinese navy has visited 158 ports in 94 countries more than 100 times and conducted more than 60 joint exercises or training with foreign navies, most of which occurred after the 1980s.

People will not forget that in May 1980, China's fleet went to the South Pacific region and successfully completed the launch of China's carrier rocket. At that time, the navy assembled all ocean-going ships.

However, the Chinese navy's first voyage was from November 1985 to January 1986. A fleet of warships and a supply ship went through all kinds of difficulties and visited Pakistan, Bangladesh and Sri Lanka. Today, Chinese naval formations can reach any corner of the world.

China once proudly announced to the world that we did not have any military presence in other countries, but now the Chinese naval convoy is sailing in the waters off the coast of Somalia and the Gulf of Aden to undertake the escort mission entrusted by the UN Security Council.

Our peacekeepers are deployed in hot spots around the world to contribute to international peace. At present, the People's Liberation Army Navy is no longer only seen in movies. China's armed forces are bound to take on more tasks in protecting China's overseas interests and safeguarding regional peace.

From the perspective of development, the 70-year history of the Chinese navy can be divided into three stages. The first of which is the initial stage, when a group of army officers and soldiers switched to navy uniforms and formed People's Liberation Army Navy on small-tonnage fishing boats and captured warships.

Then, submarines and surface ships were imported from the Soviet Union. During this period, the navy's task was to protect and escort fishing boats and commercial ships along the coast.

The second stage is marked by the commissioning of a group of large home-made warships. In the early 1980s, the Chinese navy successfully worked on carrying the launch vehicle test. The Chinese navy first appeared in the South Pacific.

The third stage is characterized by the rapid development of the Chinese navy in the new century. In light of naval equipment alone, the Chinese navy is building a strike force with an aircraft carrier at its core, and new changes have taken place in the systematic development of naval equipment.

From this marine parade, we can clearly see that the Chinese navy is developing in an all-around way, with the presence of all kinds of naval forces. Since the 1990s, the Chinese navy has taken up the slack in aircraft carriers and amphibious warships. A modern blue-water navy is ready for sailing.

The change in the Chinese navy's role in safeguarding marine peace stems from the change in China's view of the ocean.

In 2012, the report delivered at the 18th National Congress of the Communist Party of China proposed that China should be built into a major marine power and that efforts should be made in the three areas of safeguarding marine rights and interests, marine development and marine environmental protection.

In 2015, China published a white paper on national defense, planning a strategy of "offshore defense" with "open seas protection" for the navy.

The Chinese navy is moving towards building a world-class navy with a brand-new image, adhering to the national marine strategy and providing services for global marine governance. However, the development of the Chinese navy has been met with suspicion from some countries.

Under the background that the United States proposes to carry out the strategic competition with China, every move of the Chinese navy will attract their attention and even concern. This is a total overreaction.

Firstly, judging from China's national defense policy, China adheres to a proactive military strategy of defense, and it is impossible for China's navy to regard hitting someone as its mission.

Secondly, China's participation in global marine governance as a responsible power, including combating piracy and protecting sea routes, complies with the requirements of the United Nations and will not adopt the gunboat policies of some Western countries to interfere in the internal affairs of other countries.

Again, from the perspective of development, China's navy will continue to grow and become more and more involved in safeguarding international marine security. The Navy shares China's commitment to providing more public goods to the international community.




Dr. Teng Jianqun is the director of the Department for American Studies and a senior research fellow at China Institute of International Studies. 



Source: CGTN, April 23, 2019.