BEIJING, April 24 (Xinhua) -- The People's Liberation Army (PLA) Navy should comprehensively push forward its modernization to constantly enhance its capability to carry out its missions in the new century and new phase, Chinese President Hu Jintao said here Friday.
Hu, also chairman of the Central Military Commission, made the remarks when meeting with veteran officers and model soldiers of the PLA Navy Friday night, a day after the 60th anniversary of the founding of the PLA naval force.
Hu first paid respects to the veteran officers and model soldiers for their contributions to the development of the navy and extended regards to all members of the navy.
He expressed his hope that these officers and soldiers would continue to play a leading role in contributing wisdom and strength to the navy's development.
Through six decades of development, a relatively modern naval force consisting of combined arms had taken shape thanks to the leadership of the Communist Party of China Central Committee, the Central Military Commission, the support of the people, and unremitting efforts by naval officers and soldiers, Hu said.
The navy had played an important role in protecting China's sovereignty, national security and territorial integrity, promoting the reform and opening up drive and socialist modernization, and safeguarding world peace and development, he said.
The president expressed hope that the navy would achieve further development.
Thursday morning, Hu reiterated that the country's military build-up was purely defense-oriented.
In a meeting with heads of 29 foreign navy delegations gathered for the PLA Navy's anniversary celebration, Hu pledged that China's armed forces, including the navy, would never be a threat to other nations.
China would always be an important force in safeguarding world peace and development, he said.
"For now and in the future, China would never seek hegemony, nor would it turn to military expansion or arms races with other nations," he said.