Chinese leader Xi Jinping said on January 29th that, as part of its overall foreign diplomacy, China will pay more attention to its military diplomacy. Xi’s remarks were made at a meeting with the military attaché and other military diplomats.
China Review News (中国评论通讯社), a Hong Kong based and Beijing backed Chinese language news organization, lists three goals of China’s military diplomacy.
First, Beijing’s military diplomacy certainly includes deterrence. When Xi advocated the expansion of military diplomacy, he also called for military officers "to make new and greater contributions to the China dream and dream of a strong army." Instead of showcasing military might, it is perhaps more important for China to become a military leader – not only technically but also ideologically. In other words, Beijing’s military diplomacy is a natural consequence of the ever growing role of leadership it has been playing in the international arena.
In addition to showcasing its military strength, agenda setting is an equally important goal. For this reason, Beijing has been attempting to upgrade the Xiangshan Forum (香山论坛) to a channel equivalent to the Shangri-La Dialogue as the primary platform for regional security issues. The official media have listed the upgrading of the Xiangshan Forum as one of the top ten "breakthroughs" in military diplomacy.
A third goal is to eliminate the "China threat" theory and to dispel the outside suspicions of the People’s Liberation Army’s intentions and strategies. By letting its military communicate with the outside world, China’s ultimate hope is to convince its neighbors (and potential opponents) that its "peaceful rise" is sincere.
Source: China Review News, February 2, 2015