The Chinese People's Liberation Army (PLA) has so far dispatched a total of 22,000 persons/times of peacekeeping officers and men since joining the United Nations Peacekeeping Operation in early 1990s, marking China a permanent member of the UN Security Council with the highest number of dispatched peacekeepers. The PLA has dispatched 14 consecutive escort forces to the Gulf of Aden and the waters off the Somali coast since the end of 2008.
"Through the exchanges with the navies from the U.S., Russia and other countries in the Gulf of Aden, Chinese officers and men have achieved a lot in becoming international military talents," thus PLA deputy Du Benyin commented on the results that the PLA escort forces have achieved. According to Dai Shao'an, the PLA deputy to the NPC and the former military attaché of the Chinese Embassy in Egypt, modern servicemen are required to have very strong comprehensive qualities, among which the communication skill is extremely important. It is through exchanges that advanced experience of foreign militaries can be studied and learned from.
Sheng Bin, PLA deputy to the NPC and commander of the Heilongjiang Provincial Military Command (PMC) of the PLA, was a participant in the "Peace Mission—2009" China-Russia joint anti-terrorism military exercise. He said that when competing with the Russian soldiers on the same training ground and living with them at the same barracks, what impressed him most was the Russian military's actual combat training, where the Russian commander wore the steel helmet and bullet-proof vest, regarding the exercise totally as an actual combat. They were very serious and meticulous, paying attention to the data analysis of the battle ground, which really benefited us a lot.
In this regard, Du Benyin fully agreed and said that the Gulf of Aden pooled 50-odd warships from many countries, with which the naval escort taskforces of the Chinese PLA Navy conducted extensive and in-depth cooperation and exchange. Since the beginning of the escort mission, the naval escort taskforces of the Chinese PLA Navy received situation briefings sent by the foreign naval ships and aircraft on daily basis, and our naval escort taskforces also shared with them the information of those suspicious ships we held. Through competing with and learning from foreign militaries on the same platform, the comprehensive qualities of our officers and men have greatly improved. Du Benyin said, "It is imperative for us to go abroad in order to safeguard China's national interests. Our military development also requires us to go abroad. ‘Going abroad does make a difference', that is what many officers and men strongly felt."
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