Ma Xiaotian visits three South Asian countries; Military leaders from Britain, Surinam, Uzbekistan, Sierra Leone visit China; Commander of the Royal Netherlands pays visit to China; Vietnamese army receives the PLAN’s guided-missile frigate Xiangfan;
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  • At the invitation of the armed forces of Singapore and the defense ministries of Vietnam and Thailand, Ma Xiaotian, Deputy Chief of General Staff of the Chinese People’s Liberation Army, went on three-nation visit to Singapore, Vietnam and Thailand.1 During this tour, General Ma Xiaotian, attended the closing ceremony of the 2nd security joint training of the Chinese and Singaporean armies, codenamed “Cooperation 2010” met with Teo Chee Hean, Deputy Prime Minister and Defense Minister of Singapore, on 24 November. During the meeting, the two leaders discussed the issues of common concern.2

    During his Thailand visit, Ma Xiaotian made the pledge at the 9th Defence and Security Consultations between the Chinese and Thai Defence ministries that the Chinese military would adopt a more open and cooperative attitude when developing friendly ties with Thailand’s armed forces. He, on behalf of the Chinese military, donated 20 transport speedboats to Thailand to support its fight against the current floods.3 Chinese and Vietnamese defense ministries organized their fourth defense and security consultation in Hanoi on 25 November. General Ma Xiaotian and Vietnamese Deputy Defense Minister Nguyen Tri Vinh chaired the consultation. The two sides exchanged views on regional security, bilateral relations and bilateral military ties, and other issues of mutual concern.4

    Chinese Defense Minister Liang Guanglie reiterated that China would like to work with Britain in stepping up military cooperation. Meeting with the visiting British Chief of the General Staff Peter Wall in Beijing on 26 November, Liang said that bilateral cooperation in fields such as trade, technology, culture and education between the two countries had been fruitful.5 The visiting Surinam’s Defense Minister Lamure Latour also met with Liang Guanglie in Beijing on December 2nd. During the discussion, Latour said that the Surinamese government attaches great importance to developing relations with China. He reiterated that Surinam would firmly adhere to the one-China policy. He further said that Surinam would continue to expand bilateral cooperation with China in defense and military affairs.6 The Chinese Defense Minister also received Uzbek Deputy Defense Minister Rustam Niyazov in Beijing on November 30. He reiterated that China hoped to work with Uzbekistan to promote bilateral relations and inter-military ties.7 During the period under review, General Liang Guanglie also held talks with the visiting Defense Minister of Sierra Leone Alfred Palo Conteh in Beijing on November 26.8

    Chinese Defense Minister Liang Guanglie met with the visiting Commander of the Royal Netherlands Navy Matthieu Borsboom on November 22. The two leaders pledged to strengthen the ties between the two navies. It was reported during Borsboom’s visit that he was the first commander of the Royal Netherlands Navy to visit China over the past 20 years. He was also the highest-ranking Dutch military official to visit Beijing in 10 years.9

    The Vietnamese army organized a welcome ceremony for the guided-missile frigate Xiangfan of the PLA Navy which arrived in Vietnam’s central Danang city on December 3 for a friendly visit after conducting a China-Vietnam joint naval patrol.10

    The “Peace Angel 2010” which is a Sino-Peruvian joint humanitarian medical rescue operation has been concluded on November 30. This joint exercise was held on the exercise ground of the 1st Special Operation Brigade of the Peruvian Army. Under this drill, the medical teams of the two countries carried out in-depth academic exchanges, organized trainings on equipment and medical treatment for the backbones of the Peruvian medical team, and staged a joint medical rescue exercise with the Peruvian side that went on for 10 days.11

    The PLA organized the 2010 Annual Conference of the Military Material and Economy Research Center & the 4th Academic Forum of Military Logistics. The theme of this conference was “building modern military logistics system and pushing forward the reform on military procurement system”. In this conference, more than 150 experts and scholars from ministries and commissions, leading bodies of the general headquarters/departments of the Chinese People’s Liberation Army (PLA), various major organizations of the PLA, military academies and scientific research institutions participated. They discussed as to how to build modern military logistics and advance military procurement reform, offer theoretic basis and technical support to the reform and development of China’s military logistics. The conference was concluded on November 21.12

    The Work Conference of the Chinese People’s Liberation Army (PLA) on the Party History and the PLA History was organized in Beijing on November 29. It had the approval of President Hu Jintao and the Central Military Commission (CMC).13 Meanwhile, the PLA organized a national defense education seminar attended by leaders at county and division level and above in Tianjin on November 24-25. This seminar which was approved by the State Council and the Central Military Commission (CMC), concentrated as to how to strengthen the national defense education among leaders and further promote the all-people national defense education.14

    The 12th Chinese peacekeeping contingent, comprising 218 officers, to Congo (K) has reached the Bukavu area of the South Kivu Province in the east part of Congo (K) on December 1. It will stay there for 8 months as part of the UN Peacekeeping mission.15

    In other developments, the Peace Ark, a Chinese naval hospital ship, finally returned on November 26 to China, concluding an 88-day overseas humanitarian mission. It had gone on a trip, known as “Mission Harmony-2010”. It toured the Gulf of Aden to offer medical services to the Chinese naval escort flotilla. It stopped in five countries – Djibouti, Kenya, Tanzania, Seychelles, and Bangladesh – to provide medical treatment to the poor patients. This was the first of its kind hospital ship sent by China to provide humanitarian medical services overseas. The hospital ship offered health checks to 2,127 people, received 12,806 outpatients, visited 1,858 patients and carried out 97 successful operations. The Peace Ark had set sail from Zhejiang Province on 31 August 2010 to start the mission. In fact, this is the first Chinese hospital ship that has a 10,000-tonnage capacity. It has 300 beds for patients and eight operating rooms.16