A day before Chinese and US military officials started military talks in Beijing, Chinese President Hu Jintao told it's navy to accelerate modernisation and prepare for war.Peaceful rise? Well, here's a little background in an interesting read from Eurasiareview, "PLA And China's Peaceful Development - Analysis":
Speaking to military officials on Tuesday, Xinhua, China's official media agency quoted President Hu as commanding the Party congress of People's Liberation Army Navy to "make extended preparations for warfare in order to make greater contributions to safeguarding national security and world peace."
Many observers believe that President Hu's blunt comments are in stark contradiction to his often repeated claims of China's "peaceful rise".
For those interested, the white paper "China's National Defense 2010" is available here. A highlight discussing China's role in counter-Somali pirate operations:
The PLA Navy hospital ship Peace Ark sailed for the Indian Ocean from China on 31 August 2010 on a 90 day ‘Mission Harmony-2010’. The ship operated in the Gulf of Aden for some time with the sixth task force and then called on ports in Djibouti, Kenya, Tanzania, Seychelles and Bangladesh. The ship’s medical teams provided free health services, diagnostics and treatment to the local public and military personnel. This achieved much more international mileage for China in spreading the message of ‘Peaceful Development’ than what mere words on White Papers and rhetorical statements from back home could do.
In line with relevant UN resolutions, China dispatched naval ships to conduct escort operations in the Gulf of Aden and waters off Somalia on December 26, 2008. They are mainly charged with safeguarding the security of Chinese ships and personnel passing through the Gulf of Aden and Somali waters, and the security of ships delivering humanitarian supplies for the World Food Program and other international organizations, and shelter pass-by foreign vessels as much as possible. As of December 2010, the Chinese Navy has dispatched, in seven sorties, 18 ship deployments, 16 helicopters, and 490 Special Operation Force (SOF) soldiers on escort missions. Through accompanying escort, area patrol, and onboard escort, the Chinese Navy has provided protection for 3,139 ships sailing under Chinese and foreign flags, rescued 29 ships from pirate attacks, and recovered nine ships released from captivity.All hearts, roses and sweetness. Ignore those carrier killing missiles, ignore bullying in the South China Sea - really, we're just a growing power that only means well.
A classic negotiating ploy in dealing with weak-kneed opponents is to rattle the saber and put pressure on your opposition to make more concessions than they should. I don't think it speaks highly of the degree of respect held by the Chinese of the current administration that they choose to play their hand this way.