Peres Gantz China 311 (dont republish).
(photo credit: Yossi Zamir/Flash 90)
“Your visit can be a message,” President Shimon Peres told General Chen Bingde,
chief of the general staff of the People’s Liberation Army of the People’s
Republic of China. The general, along with a high ranking military delegation,
his Israeli counterpart, Lt.-Gen.
Benny Gantz and high ranking members of
the IDF met with the president on Tuesday to discuss diplomatic and security
A long-time admirer of China, Peres spoke warmly of the
example that China has set for the world at large and the Middle East in
particular by developing – in a span of 50 years – from one of the most
poverty-ridden countries in the world to a leading economy, purely through the
unity and determination of its people and without the help of the US dollar or
the Russian ruble.
“It is very important to explain to everyone that the
greatest wealth is not money but people,” he said, adding that the only way to
change a situation is to mobilize the people.
The other important lesson
that can be learned from China, said Peres, is patience. Although China has
sufficient military forces to conquer whatever it wants, its military and
political leaders decided to be patient and waited 50 years for Hong Kong, which
had been controlled by the British, to return to Chinese rule, the president
Likewise, although the Portuguese returned Macau to the Chinese in
December 1999, the agreement stipulates that Macau will be largely autonomous
The Chinese have the patience to wait. In this context, Peres
also mentioned Taiwan.
Patience, he said, is also a military advantage,
putting China in the position of being able to say to others: “Look what we have
The president praised China’s antique and unique military
strategy which continues to play a role in the country’s peaceful development
This strategy, he said, brings together military, economic,
political and psychological considerations.
“We look at this strategy
with great admiration, because you can defeat the enemy through strategy rather
than force,” he said.
He also congratulated Chen on the successful tests
that were recently carried out by China’s first aircraft carrier, though Chen
said that it would not be operational for some years to come.
only has a huge and powerful army, but a very disciplined and educated army,
said Peres, who made the point that Gantz is also interested in upgrading the
level of education of soldiers in the IDF and wants all of them to leave with at
least a BA.
It is a matter of singular importance to have a welleducated
army he stressed, because the army is also a leader in technology. China would
never have reached the heights of economy that it has attained without the
contribution of the army, Peres opined.
Chen said that the army had been
upgraded since the introduction of economic reforms by Deng Xiaoping in the late
1970s. It had been somewhat behind before that, but with the development of the
Chinese economy to which the People’s Liberation Army contributes, more has been
invested in the army, he said.
Despite its size, the budget of the
Chinese army is onesixth of that of the US army, said Chen, who attributed the
huge difference to the fact that other than the troops dispatched abroad for
United Nations peace-keeping purposes, no other soldiers are stationed outside
China, whereas the US deploys units around the world at great cost. China’s
military strategy has been modernized somewhat, a factor that Chen attributed to
Mao Tse Tung.
As for current policy, Chen said that it was a requirement
for the army not to pose a threat to other countries, but to safeguard and
defend China’s territorial integrity, and to contribute to world peace, security
and stability within the framework of its strategy of integration and its
membership in the UN.