Despite the recent controversy over the release of detained Chinese fishermen, Chinese defense minister, Liang Guanglie, said China is focusing on peaceful development with Sri Lanka. Liang’s reiteration of China’s national defense policy comes amid tensions in the South China Sea and the Diaoyu Islands. From Xinhua:
“On this point, the Chinese government issued a whitepaper China’s Peaceful Development in 2011, solemnly declaring to the world that China will unswervingly follow the path of peaceful development. The core idea of this path is that China will develop itself through upholding world peace and contribute to world peace through its own development,” Liang, China’s the first defense minister to Sri Lanka, said on Thursday.
He said in the Sri Lanka National Museum stands a stone tablet carved in 1409, which was gifted by Zhenghe, the famous navigator in ancient China during his stopover in Sri Lanka, as a commemoration for his donation to a local Buddhist temple. “The three languages carved on the stone tablet, namely, Chinese, Persian and Tamil, expressed respect for Buddhism, Islam and Brahmanism. This shows the inclusiveness of the Chinese people towards different religions, and the respect for the harmonious co- existence of multiple cultures. Such a historical culture and tradition that values peace above all has exerted profound influence on China’s choice of a peaceful development path.”
He said China exercises a military strategy of active defence, with the basic principle of adhering to a self-defence position that not to take the initiative to offend others, stand for non- military means to solve disputes, take defensive posture strategically, conduct self-defence and attack only after being attacked. “Take the recent Huangyan Island incident as an example, it is obvious that China’s military strength is stronger than that of the Philippines, but we didn’t use force or threat to use force, on the contrary, we have been committed to seeking solution of the dispute through diplomatic means.”
He said China sticks to improving the quality of its military with informationalization as the main objective and it firmly upholds world peace and stability.
Aside from China’s defense policy, Liang also pledged to 1.5bil rupees towards the construction of an auditorium in Sri Lanka’s military academy, The Times of India reports:
Visiting Chinese defence minister General Liang Guanglie pledged Yuan 75 million towards the project in the central district of Diyatalawa.
Guanglie said that Chinese military cooperation with South Asian states is Intended for “maintaining regional security and stability and not targeted at any third party”.
The visit came as China had pledged to provide Sri Lanka with USD 100 million assistance for Army welfare projects initiated by the Sri Lankan ministry of defence.
China will also grant USD 1.5 million dollars towards the modernisation of the Defence Services College for children of troops.
Liang’s comments come after Beijing’s claim of reaching out to other South East Asian countries, such as Indonesia. According to AFP, Liang also is scheduled to stay in India:
Chinese Defence Minister Liang Guanglie was due to start a four-day visit to India on Sunday with concerns over competing influence across South Asia likely to be high on the agenda.
The visit is the first by a Chinese defence minister in eight years, and comes amid India’s fears about Chinese activity in nations such as Sri Lanka and Bangladesh that India sees as within its sphere of influence.
While in Sri Lanka, Liang stressed China sought only “harmonious co-existence” with other countries.
A build-up of Chinese military infrastructure along the border has been a major source of concern for India, which increasingly sees Beijing as a longer-term threat to its security to traditional rival Pakistan.