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Navy 'poses no threat to others'

[ 2009-03-09 14:12]     字号 [] [] []  
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The Chinese navy has stressed its growth does not pose any threat to others and is only meant to fulfill the rising need to maintain national security.

The navy does not seek military hegemony despite its historic mission to Africa to guard vessels against piracy or the plan to build aircraft carriers, the navy's deputy chief of staff told China Daily over the weekend.

"Even when the navy has its aircraft carriers one day, our national defense strategy will remain purely defensive," Major General Zhang Deshun said.

"The Chinese navy pursues peace and safeguards the security of the country," Zhang said.

The navy caught worldwide attention after its decision in December to send a fleet of warships for its first mission in overseas territory, joining the international anti-piracy campaign in the Gulf of Aden near Somalia.

The mission is historic, Zhang said, because it is the navy's first overseas mission since the founding of the People's Republic of China in 1949.

"But some foreign media saw it as an opportunity to hype a so-called 'China threat'. In fact, China is doing exactly what other countries are doing: sending ships there to protect national interests," Zhang said.

There has also been a flurry of reports on China's plans to build aircraft carriers after a rise of 14.9 percent in annual military spending was announced for this year during the ongoing legislative meeting in Beijing.

Zhang said an aircraft carrier is "strategically very common" for a big country with a long coastline.

He also said China is keen to solve maritime territory disputes with its neighbors through peaceful negotiations, but stressed that the navy is capable of safeguarding the 3 million sq km of its maritime territory.

Some Southeast Asian nations have disputes with China on the sovereignty over China's Nansha Islands and adjacent waters.

Rear Admiral Yang Yi, a senior military expert at the University of National Defense, said: "The Chinese military will always be a peaceful force for regional security and stability."

More than 90 percent of China's foreign trade now relies on sea transport, which necessitates building a stronger navy to protect increased shipments on open seas, he said.

Chen Mingyi, a member of the Chinese People's Political Consultative Conference, the country's top political advisory body, said the navy should move from coastal waters to the oceans and shoulder the tasks of safeguarding its territory, and development of the national economy and overseas interests.

(英语点津 Helen 编辑)

Navy 'poses no threat to others'

About the broadcaster:

Navy 'poses no threat to others'

Nancy Matos is a foreign expert at China Daily Website. Born and raised in Vancouver, Canada, Nancy is a graduate of the Broadcast Journalism and Media program at the British Columbia Institute of Technology. Her journalism career in broadcast and print has taken her around the world from New York to Portugal and now Beijing. Nancy is happy to make the move to China and join the China Daily team.