- Top PLA chief says China’s growing military can do more “peacekeeping” missions
- Armed forces won’t bully other countries
- Chin wants to build up ties with ASEAN neighbors
BEIJING, China – Amid his country’s ongoing dispute with several of its Southeast Asian neighbors over the West Philippine Sea, China’s top general said the countries in question had nothing to fear since China’s growing military is committed to ensuring world peace.
“The growth of the Chinese military contributes to the expansion of the world’s force of peace,” ABS-CBN quoted Gen. Fan Changlong, vice chairman of the Central Military Commission, as saying at a security forum between defense ministers of China and members of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN).
The Central Military Commission which is chaired by President Xi Jinping controls China’s armed forces, the People’s Liberation Army (PLA).
Elaborating further, Fan said his country will continue to escort cargo ships operating in the Gulf of Aden and near Somalia from pirate a*****s.
He added China will increase the number of its peacekeepers.
“We will speed up the building of an 8,000-troop standby peacekeeping force, and provide training programs to 2,000 peacekeepers of relevant countries in the coming five years,” he said.
Seeking to quell their countries’ jitters, Fan assured the ASEAN defense ministers present that China will never be a bully.
“China will neither adopt a warlike policy nor bully the weak,” he said. “History has proved and will continue to prove that.”
As proof, Fan said China is looking to improve ties with its smaller neighbors.
“We will endeavor to improve the China-ASEAN defense and security exchange and cooperation mechanisms through consultation, explore the possibility of establishing direct telephone links, send liaison officers for security cooperation to the Chinese mission to ASEAN, and enhance multilateral defense consultation and coordination,” he said.
Commenting on the touchy issue of its artificial islands in the West Philippine Sea, Fan said they were constructed for civilian purposes.
“Those construction projects are mainly carried out for civil purposes” he said. “They will enable us to provide better public services to aid navigation and production in the [West} Philippine Sea.”