China Committed to Both Stronger Military and Relationship with Japan: Envoy

Friday, July 27, 2018

Ambassador Cheng Yonghua

Tokyo - (PanOrient News) The Chinese ambassador to Japan, Cheng Yonghua, emphasized the importance of robust China-Japan relations, but also a stronger Chinese military, at a reception honoring the anniversary of the Chinese People’s Liberation Army in Tokyo on July 26.

“China and Japan are crucial neighbors,” said Cheng, who noted that last year marked the 45th anniversary of the normalization of Chinese-Japanese relations. He added that it was in the interest of both countries’ peoples and regional stability “to develop and maintain a long-term healthy and stable mutual relationship.”

While Cheng affirmed China’s commitment to world peace and enhancing mutual trust with Japan, he also stated that China was committed to upgrading and strengthening its military forces.

“We will make it our mission to see that by 2035, the modernization of our national defenses and our forces is basically complete,” said Cheng, adding that a stronger People’s Liberation Army would be in line with China’s international status.

The event was attended by military attaches from various embassies stationed in Japan, as well as by the Japanese administrative vice-minister of defense, Katashi Toyota.

Also speaking at the reception was Maj. Gen. Xu Xinhua, China’s defense attache, who said that the basis for China’s planned military strengthening had been laid out by President Xi Jinping at the 19th National Congress in 2017, when the party constitution was famously amended to include Xi’s political thought.

Maj. Gen. Xu Xinhua

Xu also said that China plans to enhance exchanges with the armed forces of other nations and that China firmly supports and participates in UN peacekeeping efforts.

Concerning Japan, Xu said that “China and Japan are important neighbors” and that he was glad defense exchanges between the two countries have been revived.

After a decade of negotiations, a communication mechanism was launched in May between China and Japan that aims to avoid accidental clashes at sea and in the air. The mechanism also called for meetings to be held at the end of the year between the powers at the levels of expert and director-general.

Additionally, Xu said that China would be receiving a Japan Self-Defense Forces delegation in September, following a similar visit by a Chinese delegation to Japan in April.

“In the near future, we sincerely look forward to working closely with our Japanese colleagues, in the spirit of drawing lessons from the history and facing up to the future,” said Xu.

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