Skip to content

Timeline: The Chinese Military’s Major Diplomatic Events Since 1949

[Editor’s Note: Xinhua published an article with a timeline of China’s major military diplomatic events since 1949, when the Communist regime was established. The following is a translation of the timeline.] [1]

• January 1949, China sent military attaches to the USSR and Eastern European countries.

• March 1951, the International Liaison Department of the Central Military Commission was established.

• February 1952, the first group of military students from foreign countries came to China to study.

• July 1953, the Korean Armistice Agreement was signed.

• June 1955, the 196th Army Division became the first military unit to be open to the outside world.

• April 1959, China’s Senior-level Military Delegation visited eight countries including Eastern European countries and
Mongolia by traveling through the USSR.

• January 1972, China sent a representative to the United Nations Military Staff Committee.

• November 1985, a PLA naval fleet made its first foreign visit (to Pakistan, Sri Lanka, and Bangladesh).

• April 1990, China sent military observers to the United Nations Truce Supervision Organization.

• April 1992, for the first time, China sent a peacekeeping unit in full establishment to the United Nations’ peacekeeping taskforce.

• November 1995, China published the government white book, “China: Arms Control and Disarmament.”

• February 1997, a PLA Naval fleet crossed the Atlantic Ocean for the first time to visit four countries on the American continent (including the U.S.).

• July 1998, China published its first defense white book.

• March 2002, the military participated in an international humanitarian aid mission for the first time.

• May 2002, a naval fleet conducted its first global tour.

• October 2002, China held its first joint military exercise with a foreign country.

• August 2003, for the first time, China opened its military exercise to military observers from multiple countries.

• September 2003, China held a joint military exercise on the seas with a foreign country.

• November 2004, China hosted the first Security Policy Meeting at the ASEAN Regional Forum.

• August 2005, China signed its first “Status of Forces Agreement” with a foreign country.

• August 2005, China and Russia held their first large-scale joint military exercise.

• May 2008, the Ministry of Defense formally started a press release system.

• December 2008, the first navy escort fleet was dispatched to the Gulf of Aden in Somali waters.

• April 2009, China held a celebration for the 60th anniversary of the establishment of the PLA Navy and invited naval forces from multiple countries to participate.

• November 2009, China held an international forum to celebrate the 60th anniversary of the establishment of the PLA’s Air Force.

• January 2010, for the first time, China sent an international rescue team in the military’s name.

[1] Xinhua, “News: Overview of New China’s Major Military Diplomatic Events,” February 27, 2011.