Navy commander: Follow general trend, jointly build new naval relations

China Military Online    2014-04-23 17:07:07

Admiral Wu Shengli, member of the Central Military Commission (CMC) and commander of the Navy of the Chinese People’s Liberation Army (PLAN), made a keynote speech titled “Follow the General Trend and Jointly Build New Naval Relations” at the 14th annual meeting of the West Pacific Naval Symposium (WPNS) held on April 22, 2014.

  QINGDAO, April 22 (ChinaMil) -- Admiral Wu Shengli, member of the Central Military Commission (CMC) and commander of the Navy of the Chinese People’s Liberation Army (PLAN), made a keynote speech titled “Follow the General Trend and Jointly Build New Naval Relations” at the 14th annual meeting of the West Pacific Naval Symposium (WPNS) held on April 22, 2014.

  Wu Shengli said that the ocean is a convenient channel for friendly exchange among countries, an important space for the sustainable development of the world, and a common homeland for human civilization development. Since the 21st century, the ocean has been closely linked with a nation's prosperity, people's wellbeing and social stability as it had never been. The navy is the main part of a nation's sea power. A new naval relation is required by each country in the region to meet the challenges facing their common security, is an important guarantee of regional prosperity and development, as well as a proper approach for building harmonious ocean. We believe that the core of new naval relations should be "cooperation, trust and win-win".

  There is an old saying in China that goes like "People with one mind can move Mount Tai", said Wu Shengli. In the world today, no country or group can solve the marine security problems on its own. We should cooperate closely, keep deepening cooperation under the framework of the WPNS and inject vitality into the new naval relations. Therefore, I'd like to make suggestions in three aspects:

  First, to improve the emergency aid mechanism. The West Pacific region is haunted by frequent sea disasters. The flight MH370 of Malaysia Airlines which lost contact on March 8, 2014 and the wreckage of Korean ship on April 16, 2014 raised an important issue for the navies once again on how to carry out joint naval rescue. Especially after the disappearance of the Malaysian plane, the relevant countries in the West Pacific region assembled naval forces rapidly to carry out the air-sea joint search, displaying the lofty humanism and international cooperation spirit. However, the inefficient information sharing and collaboration still hold us back. Therefore, we have to improve the emergency aid mechanism for marine disasters and explore the way of integrating all information available so as to realize the coordinated operation of all strength. Meanwhile, the cooperative program of humanitarian rescue should be launched, issues on the navy rescue operation such as forces admittance, command and coordination, supplies delivery, health care and epidemic prevention should be discussed in depth, and the multinational actual-troop drills should be positively carried out, so as to lay a solid foundation for the joint operation of all parties.

  Second, to widen the range of specialized cooperation. Driven by the joint efforts of the WPNS member countries, the symposium has been enriched with new contents in recent years, with the topics covering anti-torpedo, diving, exchanges among the high-level non-commissioned officers and naval medicine. We should further tap into the potential for the cooperation and touch upon more naval areas in the symposium on the current basis. Next, it is advised that the exchanges among naval academies and institutes, anti-terrorism and anti-piracy joint drills on the sea and survey on marine environment be incorporated in the symposium. The Chinese Navy will be committed to participate in various communication and cooperation under the frame of the symposium, thus contributing more to the development of the WPNS.

  Third, keep expanding the strategic influence of the symposium. Since its establishment of 27 years ago, the structure of the symposium has been increasingly improved and its influence has gone beyond the West Pacific region and expanded to the whole Pacific region, making it a model of the regional naval cooperation. Therefore, we should ride the tide and make the symposium bigger and stronger. For example, we can change the symposium’s name into “Pacific Naval Symposium”, admit new members and attract more countries to participate in the symposium’s activities. At the same time, with a broader mind, we should bring the influence of the WPNS to a larger area by strengthening the interaction and communication with other symposiums such as the Indian Ocean Naval Symposium and the African Countries Naval Symposium and symposiums in other regions.

  Wu Shengli indicated that trust is the key to open each other’s heart and sincere is a bridge to connect the souls. The different cultures and varied development levels in the West Pacific result in the diversity of naval relationships. We have to build trust with every country in the region. What we advocate is not the “zero-sum” mindset, but to treat each other sincerely, promote the mutual tolerance and learning, and live together in amity.

  First, high-level strategic communication should be strengthened. The strategic mutual trust is the important premise for peaceful coexistence and friendly exchanges. We should respect each others’ choices in social systems and development roads, face up to history lessons and disputes, correctly treat the reasonable development of the maritime strength of various countries and make exchange in an open and frank way. It is necessary to further strengthen the exchanges among high-level leaders of various navies so as to deepen the friendship and trust of various countries, avoid strategic misjudgment, effectively manage differences, hold dialogues among naval policymakers and think tanks of various countries so as to better understand each others’ strategic idea, policy development trend and major concerns, so as to lay a solid foundation for the strategic mutual trust.

  Second, maritime positive interaction should be strengthened. Trust comes from the bottom of the heart and is reflected in actions. The trust among the navies of various countries is eventually embodied in the actions of the frontline troops. The Regulations on Maritime Encounter (hereinafter referred to as the Regulations) approved this morning is a document with milestone significance in the history of the WPNS, which will play a very important role in strengthening communication and exchanges as well as reduce misunderstanding and misjudgment among the navies in the region. We should take this opportunity to encourage the frontline navies and air forces of various countries to carry out communication and liaison, demonstrate excellent seamanship and goodwill, and further standardize the marine military behavior. We should also encourage the WPNS member countries to carry out targeted bilateral dialogues based on their conditions so as to constantly improve the Regulations and effectively avoid sea and air incidents.

  Third, the foundation for mutual trusts should be reinforced. Trust is like a seed. Only by dedicated care can it take roots, sprout and grow into a flourishing tree. Similarly, the trust between navies also requires the joint efforts and continued inheritance of naval servicemen from various countries. We shall, under the framework of the symposium and based on other platforms, enhance the exchanges and communications among taskforce commanders, captains and staff officers, proactively organize international and regional forums for young officers, normalize aboard-warship trainings and exchanges for young officers, nurture officers with global vision and cooperative views, and sow the seeds of friendship and consolidate the root of trust.

  Wu Shengli said the ocean is common wealth of human beings. Only with a peaceful, flourishing and harmonious sea can we share the achievements of maritime civilization. In the Pacific region, the security and development of various countries are tied together and we accompany each other in rises and falls and share weal or woe. The win-win situation we expect means to firmly establish the awareness of common interests so as to jointly promote the peace cause, jointly bear the responsibility and jointly explore the future.

  First, jointly promote peace so as to achieve a win-win situation. Peace is the biggest bonus from development shared by various countries in the region, and a right course for human beings repeatedly proven in history.

  Every time when I read the miserable histories of the World War II and especially the Pacific War, and every time when I see the gray-haired veterans of the World War II, I feel that peace is hard won. The present peace is so precious and we must respect the history and draw lessons from the history: we must negotiate and resolve maritime conflicts and disputes through peaceful means and avoid taking extreme actions that will harm regional security and stability. China has always been a country who loves peace. The famous Chinese navigator Zheng He led fleets to what was then called the "West Sea" seven times in the 15th century and reached over 30 countries and regions. What he took to the visited countries was friendship rather than colonization or invasion. The Chinese Navy will stick to the peaceful development and take it as a guideline for our actions. We sincerely hope to work with navies of various countries in safeguarding regional peace and stability.

  Second, take shared responsibility to achieve a win-win situation. The navy force of every country, regardless of its size, is an indispensable part of the regional security system and has its role to play.

  We should deeply understand the substantial connection of maritime interests and adhere to mutual help, solidarity and coordination and jointly assume the historical responsibility.

  In recent years, the Chinese Navy has actively fulfilled its international obligations — we have sent 17 batches of taskforces to waters of the Gulf of Aden in Somalia to carry out anti-piracy escort missions. We sent the hospital ships for medical aid missions and participated in the disaster relief operation in districts hit by Typhoon Haiyan in the Philippines. We have escorted vessels in the destruction of Syria’s chemical weapons. In the search and rescue mission of the missing Malaysia Airlines MH370 aircraft, we sent nine ships and six helicopters. In the future, the Chinese Navy will play a more active role as a responsible power, and take more responsibility and obligation in the drive to build a harmonious ocean.

  Third, create a prosperous future and achieve a win-win situation. Creating a prosperous Pacific meets the common interests of people living in the region. The Chinese government always adheres to the path of peaceful development. To solve global and regional affairs, China always stands for peace and against wars, for dialogue and against conflict, and for win-win cooperation and against zero-sum game. The Chinese Navy is also devoted to building a harmonious and inclusive ocean.

  The navy of every country should go with the tide by creating a new security concept featuring common security, cooperative security and comprehensive security, strengthening consultation and coordination, deepening strategic link, improving cooperative action, and creating a prosperous Pacific region.