We will not take the first shot: Chinese envoy

“China adopts a military strategy of active defense which adheres to the principle of defense, self-defense and post-strike response. Meaning we will not take the first shot,” Chinese Ambassador Zhao Jianhua said in his speech during a reception dinner for the 92nd anniversary of Chinese People’s Liberation Army (PLA) at the Makati Shangrila Hotel on July 29 attended by National Defense Secretary Delfin Lorenzana and Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) General Benjamin Madrigal Jr..

He also said that no matter how strong China may become, China will never seek hegemony nor establish spheres of influence.

He also noted that “China-Philippines relations have achieved positive turnaround, consolidation and elevation over the past three years, and have entered a new stage of development.”

He said that Chinese and Philippine militaries have increased contacts and exchanges.

“PLA stands ready to deepen the mutual understanding, mutual trust and mutual confidence with our Filipino counterparts, and to jointly safeguard regional peace and stability,”  he added.

He also reiterated that “China respects and upholds the freedom of navigation and overflight enjoyed by all states under international law in the South China Sea, and stays ready to work with other coastal states and the international community to ensure the safety of and the unimpeded access to the international shipping lanes in the South China Sea.”

“China is more than willing to join hands with our Filipino friends to achieve common progress in the spirit of win-win, so as to bring tangible benefits to our respective peoples to promote peace and stability in our region,” he said.

“We cannot let the 1% differences to hold the 99% of friendship and cooperation as hostage. This is what I call [a] realistic and pragmatic approach,” he added.