BEIJING, April 23 (Xinhua) -- The 70th founding anniversary of the People's Liberation Army (PLA) Navy is an occasion for China to show it is a defender of world peace, not a threat.
Maritime peace and tranquility concern the security and interests of all countries and need to be jointly maintained and cherished, President Xi Jinping said Tuesday during multinational naval events for the Chinese navy's anniversary celebration.
He called for concerted efforts to build a maritime community with a shared future when meeting with heads of foreign delegations before a grand naval parade was held in waters off eastern Chinese city of Qingdao, which was attended by 18 visiting naval ships from 13 countries, in addition to China's own vessels and aircraft.
A strong navy is essential for a country to safeguard its national security. From 1840 to 1949, China was invaded by foreign powers more than 470 times from the sea, which brought untold suffering to its people.
Peace, like air and sunshine, is hardly noticed when people are benefiting from it. But none of us can live without it. As a country that once endured bitter memories of foreign assaults, China might know this better than any other country in the world.
With China's increasing role as a responsible stakeholder in global and regional affairs, a strong Chinese navy is indispensable for promoting regional and world peace.
Since 2008, the PLA Navy has sent 32 escort fleets, 103 vessels, 69 helicopters, and more than 27,000 officers and soldiers to escort over 6,600 vessels, more than a half of which were foreign ships.
In 2014, the Chinese and Russian navy vessels jointly escorted the shipments of Syrian chemical weapons set to be destroyed, working together to safeguard international and regional security.
China pursues a national defense policy that is defensive in nature. The Chinese military is committed to creating a security environment featuring equality, mutual trust, fairness and justice, joint participation and shared benefits.
There are good reasons to build a maritime community with a shared future. The concept and proposal will promote cooperation among navies and contribute to maritime peace and prosperity.