China's armed forces, including the People's Liberation Army (PLA) Navy, will always be an important force in safeguarding world peace and development, and China will never be a threat to other nations, Chinese President Hu Jintao said on Thursday.
China would never seek hegemony, nor would it turn to military expansion or arms races with other nations, President Hu, also the Chairman of the Central Military Commission, said during a meeting with heads of 29 foreign navy delegations.
The delegations were here to participate in celebrations for the 60th anniversary of the founding of the PLA Navy.
Hu said China will unswervingly stick to the road of peaceful development, which demands China to adhere to its defensive national defense policy.
The road of peaceful development is a strategic choice made by the Chinese government and people in the line of the nation's peace-loving traditional culture, the trend of our times and the fundamental interests of China, Hu said.
He noted that cooperation and exchanges between naval forces of different countries are key to build a "harmonious ocean," which is the theme of the anniversary celebrations.
The PLA Navy had carried out a series of cooperation and exchange missions with its foreign counterparts and enhanced friendship and mutual understanding since China began its reform and opening up drive, Hu said.
The PLA Navy will be more open and practical in international maritime security cooperation in the future and unremittingly work towards the goal of building an harmonious ocean, Hu continued.
International maritime security cooperation must observe the principals of international relations established by the United Nations Charter and the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea, he said.
Hu urged the nations to respect each other's sovereignty and interests and to seek mutual development while combating conventional and unconventional threats in the oceans and protecting maritime safety.
Speaking for the foreign navy delegations, Admiral Julio Soaresde Moura Neto, commander of the Brazilian navy, thanked Hu for his meeting and congratulated the PLA Navy for its 60th anniversary.
He also expressed his appreciation of the efforts by the Chinese government and the PLA Navy in building a harmonious ocean.
Vice chairmen of the Central Military Commission Guo Boxiong, Chinese Defense Minister Liang Guanglie, PLA Navy Commander Admiral Wu Shengli and Chen Bingde, Chief of the General Staff of PLA, attended the meeting.
(Xinhua News Agency April 23, 2009)