Ten highlights of China's military diplomacy in 2018

China Military Online
Huang Panyue

NO.1: SCO defense cooperation reaches a new level

Event replay: On April 23, 2018, Chinese President Xi Jinping met with the defense ministers from member states of the Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO). On April 24, the first formal meeting of SCO defense ministers after the expansion of the SCO was held in Beijing. From August 22 to 29, 2018, the “Peace Mission-2018” joint anti-terrorism military exercise of the SCO member states was held in Russia, with a total participating strength of more than 3,000 personnel.

Reason for listing: After the expansion of the SCO, the space for pragmatic cooperation in the field of defense and security has been further expanded. “Peace Mission-2018” was the joint exercise with the most troops, the most equipment, and the most new types of combat forces to be put into use compared with all previous SCO exercises. It was also the first time that both India and Pakistan simultaneously participated in a military exercise after their independence.

NO.2: Beijing Xiangshan Forum opens new perspectives

Event replay: From October 2th to 26th, the 8th Beijing Xiangshan Forum, co-hosted by the China Association for Military Science (CAMS) and the China Institute for International Strategic Studies (CIISS), was held in Beijing. Chinese President Xi Jinping sent a congratulatory message to the forum. Representatives at the meeting exchanged ideas and discussed various topics under the theme of “Building a New Type of Security Partnership of Equality, Mutual Trust, Win-Win Cooperation .”

Reason for listing: The forum was the first time to be titled with “Beijing”, and the scale of foreign official delegations and the number of high-ranking officials participating in the meeting hit new heights.

NO.3: China's first participation in Russian strategic military drills

Event replay: From September 11st to 15th, the Chinese troops participated in the Russian “Vostok-2018” strategic military drills at the Tsugol training range in Russia’s Trans-Baikal Region, the largest strategic exercise organized by the Russian military in recent years. They also jointly held joint operational exercises.

Reason for listing: This is the first time that the Chinese troops have participated in the Russian strategic military drills. It was also the largest outbound performance in the history of the Chinese military. The Chinese side sent a military force of about 3,200 troops, as well as more than 900 weaponry equipment and 30 fixed-wing aircraft and helicopters.

NO.4: China-US military relations play an active role in the stability of bilateral ties

Event replay: On November 9th, Chinese State Councilor and Defense Minister General Wei Fenghe attended the second round of the China-US Diplomatic and Security Dialogue in Washington, DC, US, and held talks with the US Secretary of Defense James Mattis, which was the third meeting of the two defense ministers in five months. From November 12nd to 19th, Chinese and US militaries held the US-China Disaster Management Exchange 2018 in Nanjing, capital of Jiangsu Province of China.

Reason for listing: In the context of the complex and sensitive relationship between China and the United States, the Chinese and US militaries have kept strategic communication, strengthened institutional dialogues and exchanges, promoted pragmatic cooperation at all levels, and worked hard to maintain constant relations between the two militaries in accordance with the important consensus reached by the two heads of state. This has added positive energy to the relationship between the two countries.

NO.5: China-ASEAN defense and security cooperation brings forth fruitful achievements

Event replay: From October 19th to 20th, Chinese State Councilor and Defense Minister General Wei Fenghe attended the 9th ASEAN-China Defense Ministers’ Informal Meeting and the 5th Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) Defense Ministers' Meeting (ADMM)-Plus. From October 20th to 29th, the China-Malaysia-Thailand “Peace and Friendship 2018” joint military drill was held in Malaysia. From October 22nd to 28th, the China-ASEAN Joint Maritime Exercise-2018 was held in Zhanjiang city of south China’s Guangdong Province.

Reason for listing: The first joint military drill of China, Malaysia and Thailand, and also the first maritime joint exercise between China and ASEAN countries, fully reflected the effective implementation of the Declaration on the Conduct of Parties in the South China Sea (DoC).

NO.6: Chinese “Peace Train 2018” medical team delivers emergency assistance to Laos

Event replay: From July 22nd to August 7th, Chinese military “Peace Train” medical team went to Vientiane, Laos, and took part in the "Peace Train 2018" China-Laos humanitarian and medical joint rescue exercise with the Laotian military medical team and delivered medical services to local people.

Reason for listing: The Chinese "Peace Train" medical team already went to Laos to carry out a medical service mission in 2017, but this was the first time it took part in a joint training combining the two military medical units. The Chinese medical team was entrusted with the mission at a critical moment this time and was directly transferred from the joint training to the in-situ rescue.

NO.7: China achieves splendid results in the International Army Games (IAG) 2018

Event replay: From July 28th to August 11th, the International Army Games (IAG) 2018 was held. The Chinese troops went abroad to participate in 18 competition events and hosted 4 competitions in China, winning a total of 4 first prizes, 15 second prizes, and 2 third prizes on the team games.

Reason for listing: This is the fifth consecutive year of Chinese troops' participation in and the second year of its hosting of the competitions. It is also the first time the Chinese People's Liberation Army (PLA) Navy has hosted the "Seaborne Assault" competition. Chinese participating officers and soldiers made progress after every game, and meanwhile effectively tested and improved their levels of actual combat training in competing with their foreign counterparts.

NO.8: First China-Africa Defense and Security Forum helps China-Africa cooperation

Event replay: From June 26th to July 10th, the first China-Africa Defense and Security Forum hosted by the Chinese Ministry of National Defense was held with the theme of "Working Together, Helping Each Other." Fifty African countries as well as African Union (AU) defense departments and military representatives attended the forum.

Reason for listing: The success of the first forum has set a good start for China-Africa defense and security cooperation in the new era, enhanced and deepened China-Africa comprehensive strategic partnership, and demonstrated the broad prospects for strengthening China-Africa defense and security cooperation.

NO.9: SCO member states’ military bands take part in "Fanfare for Peace"

Event replay: From April 24th to 25th, the 5th "Fanfare for Peace" Military Tattoo of the Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO) was held at the Juyongguan Pass of the Great Wall in Beijing. Military bands from eight SCO member countries participated in the Military Tattoo.

Reason for listing: This military band festival was held for the first time after the expansion of the SCO. Both India and Pakistan sent military bands to play the clarion call for peace and friendship with the other six SCO members' military bands.

NO.10: 10 years of Chinese PLA Naval escort missions

Event replay: On December 9th, the 31st Chinese naval escort taskforce departed from a military port in Zhanjiang city of south China and headed to the Gulf of Aden and the waters of Somali to carry out escort missions.

Reason for listing: Since December 26th, 2008, the Chinese PLA navy has begun to send taskforces to the Gulf of Aden and the Somali waters to carry out escort missions. Over the past decade, they have escorted nearly 1,200 batches of about 6,600 Chinese and foreign vessels, and rescued more than 60 ships in distress. And they have kept a "two 100-percent safety" record both for the rescued vessels and for the taskforces themselves.


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