The Chinese embassy in Qatar held a virtual reception to celebrate the 94th anniversary of the founding of the Chinese People’s Liberation Army (PLA) on Wednesday. This was the first reception of its kind and ambassador Zhou Jian and defence attache Col He Botao addressed the event.
Senior officers of Qatari Armed Forces including Brigadier General Sulaiti and Commodore Ilyas, members of Defence Attaché Association to Qatar and some diplomats attended the event, the Chinese embassy announced in a statement.
Speaking at the event, ambassador Jian said that 94 years ago, the Chinese People's Liberation Army came into being amid the Chinese people’s fierce struggle against imperialism and feudalism, and undertook the historic task of realising national independence and liberation.
“Over the past 94 years, from armed struggle to the founding of the People's Republic, from disaster relief to state construction, from defending the country to safeguarding the world peace, the PLA has made monumental contributions that shine through history,” the ambassador said.
The envoy pointed out that although China and Qatar are far apart, the friendship and exchanges between the two peoples date back to ancient times.
“Since the establishment of diplomatic ties, our mutual political trust has been strengthened, pragmatic co-operation has yielded fruitful results and military exchanges have developed vigorously. With the joint efforts of both sides, China has become the largest trading partner of Qatar, and China-Qatar relations are in the best period of development in history,” the envoy said.
He added, “China is ready to work with Qatar to uphold multilateralism, fairness and justice, oppose hegemony and power politics, deepen co-operation in all fields including military exchanges, provide strong strategic support for the peaceful development of our two countries, and work together to become contributors of world peace, contributors to global development, and defenders of international order.”
According to the Chinese envoy, the PLA today has become a powerful force with a competent leadership and commanding system, co-ordinated and balanced military branches, and relatively advanced weapons and equipment.
“It builds up a “Steel Great Wall” to defend national security and people's interests, and also serves as a powerful force for safeguarding regional and world peace,” he said.
“Not long ago, China celebrated the 100th anniversary of the founding of the Communist Party of China. President Xi Jinping solemnly declared that China has achieved the first centenary goal of building a well-off society in all respects, and we are now marching towards the second centenary goal of building China into a great modern socialist country in all respects,” he remarked.
He maintained that his country is currently standing at a new historical starting point. “China faces not only great opportunities for development, but also major risks and challenges. At present, with the combined impact of Covid-19 and major changes unseen in a century, the world is entering a period of upheaval,” the Chinese envoy said.
“The fundamental goal of China's national defence is to defend China's sovereignty, security and development interests. China surpasses most countries in the number of neighbouring states, the length of land border, and the complexity of maritime security environment. With a land area of 9.6mn sq km, China faces serious challenges in defending its sovereignty, territorial integrity, and maritime interests.
“The PLA has been raising the scale and level of joint exercises and training, becoming more capable of responding to security threats and safeguarding international peace and stability together with foreign forces. The PLA has also improved the system of international rescue, public security products and humanitarian assistance with Chinese characteristics,” the ambassador said.
The envoy added that the way forward for China's national defence is to keep opening wider to the outside world and strengthen co-operation.
“In an era of globalisation, countries are increasingly interdependent and interacting with each other. Seeking development through openness and win-win co-operation, the PLA has engaged in wide-ranging and multi-level military exchanges with more than 150 countries, and set up more than 50 defence consultation mechanisms with over 40 countries and international organisations. The PLA now enjoys a growing friends circle and deepening mutual understanding and trust with foreign forces,” he highlighted.
“Since the beginning of this year, we have provided dozens of batches of Covid-19 vaccine to troops of more than 20 countries, fully reflecting that the Chinese military has become more and more responsible. In future, the PLA will continue to enhance mutual trust through exchanges with militaries of other countries, and make common progress in win-win co-operation,” he added.
Col He Botao in his address highlighted that the PLA has become a pillar in defending China’s sovereignty, security and development interests, in upholding national dignity, and an important force in safeguarding regional and world peace.
“The PLA is an army with a glorious history and outstanding achievements. Over the past 94 years, under the strong leadership of the Communist Party of China, the PLA has achieved victories one after another, and left great merit for the party and the people. In the struggle for national independence and the liberation of the people, the PLA, with its perseverance and courage, has succeeded in defeating all enemies with fearless spirit and made great contributions to the founding of China.”
As for Qatar-China relations, the defence attaché noted "True friends are like close neighbours even when they are thousand miles apart."
“China and Qatar are located at the east and west end of the Asian continent, but the friendship between two countries has a long history. Since the establishment of diplomatic ties in 1988, bilateral ties have been developing into a strategic partnership, with increasing political mutual trust and fruitful co-operation in various fields,” he remarked.
He said that as an important part of bilateral relations, the military relations between China and Qatar have been developing with increasing exchanges and co-operation.
“Last year, in particular, our two countries finished the establishment of Defence Attaché Offices in each other’s embassy, which offered a new platform and a new stage of our future co-operation. As the first defence attaché of the Chinese embassy in Qatar, I look forward to working with my Qatari friends to promote mutual exchanges and co-operation between our two armies, and push the bilateral relations forward more and more,” he said.