ATHENS – The People’s Liberation Army (PLA) is a strong force of stability and peace in China and across the globe, said Chinese Defense attache in Greece Li Jie and Greek officials during a reception hosted at the Chinese embassy here on Monday to mark the PLA’s 84th founding anniversary.
Addressing the event on China’s Army Day, in the presence of Greek Deputy Minister of National Defense Costas Spiliopoulos representing the Greek government, Greek Armed Forces officers, and other dignitaries, Li praised the PLA’s role since its establishment in realizing national independence, safeguarding sovereignty, security, territorial integrity and advancing China’ s economic and social development.
“Under the new historical conditions and adapting to changes both in times and security environment, the PLA is taking an active role in dealing with various security threats, safeguarding national security and development interests, playing an important role in maintaining world peace and promoting common development. The PLA is a strong force of stability and peace,” said Li.
Stressing the PLA’s international presence, he noted that as of December 2010, the PLA has dispatched 17,390 military personnel to 19 UN peace- keeping missions, with nine officers and men having lost their lives on duty.
He also referred to the PLA’s significant role over the past three years in escort operations in the Gulf of Aden and the waters off Somalia, in line with UN resolutions, to counter the piracy problem, which is of major concern to the world and Greece, as a leading country in shipping worldwide.
As of December 2010, the Chinese Navy has dispatched 18 ships, 16 helicopters and 490 Special Operation Force soldiers on such missions, protecting over 3,139 vessels sailing under Chinese and foreign flags, rescuing 29 ships from pirate attacks and recovering nine vessels released from captivity.
In regards to Sino- Greek relations in particular, Li stressed that the “friendly relations of cooperation between the two Armed Forces of China and Greece are developing rapidly and smoothly”.
Noting that exchanges in the recent two years between the two sides have increased significantly, he expressed confidence they will contribute to the overall bilateral relations.
Similar remarks regarding the PLA’s role in the world and Greece- China ties were made by Greek officials attending the reception.
“We wish the PLA and Chinese people all the best. On this occasion we are here to reiterate our strong belief that the excellent Greek-China relations can be further enhanced in the defense field, as well as all levels. Greek and Chinese people are linked with historical, close ties and I believe that a strengthened bilateral cooperation can be to the benefit of both people,” Spiliopoulos told Xinhua.
In his message to the PLA and Chinese people, Chief of Greek General Staff of Land Forces, Lieutenant General Frangos Frangoulis praised the PLA’s important role in maintaining national security within China and peace across the world, wishing all the best for the future and further enhancement of cooperation between Greek and Chinese Armed Forces.
“The PLA has played a very significant role in promoting security, stability and prosperity around the world. It is worth mentioning that China has taken part in many UN missions around the world and has offered probably the biggest number of soldiers for such missions .. I wish all the best to PLA,” added Major General Christos Vaitsis, Director of the Strategy and Policy Division of Greek National Defense General Staff.