13:06 GMT, November 20, 2009 As China's state-run Xinhua press agency reports, Huang Xueping, spokesman of the Ministry of National Defense of the People’s Republic of China, said in Beijing on November 19 that the year 2009 sees China conduct quite active military diplomacy which shows four major characteristics. When answering the reporters’ questions, Huang Xueping said that China made great achievements in 2009 through developing foreign military relations in an all-round way and constantly deepening the pragmatic exchanges and co-operation. According to Huang Xueping, the first characteristic of China’s military diplomacy in 2009 is reflected in the active high-level contact and defense consultations and the improved overall arrangement of military diplomacy. Leaders of the Central Military Commission (CMC) level and above visited 20-plus countries including the U.S., Russia and Australia and held 10-odd defense consultations with such countries as the U.S., Germany and Vietnam, strengthening military ties between China and the relevant countries. The second characteristic is shown in the intensified endeavor devoted to joint military exercises and drills. A total of 7 Sino-foreign joint military exercises or drills were organized in the year among which the joint exercises in such fields as security and guard, peacekeeping, medical support and ship escort were held for the first time in the history of the Chinese military. The third characteristic is reflected in the fact that multi-lateral military diplomatic activities were carried out on the 60th anniversary of the founding of People’s Republic of China to fully present Chinese military’s image of peace-loving, openness and readiness for cooperation. In addition, on the occasions of the respective 60th anniversaries of the establishment of the Navy and the Air Force of the Chinese People’s Liberation Army (PLA), the naval and air force commanders or their deputies from dozens of foreign countries were invited to attend the celebrations and delve into the fields and the methods of further cooperation between Chinese Navy and Air Force and their international counterparts. The fourth characteristic can be seen in the further expansion of the military co-operation in the non-traditional security field. Since the Chinese government sent its naval escort taskforce to perform tasks in the sea area off the Somali coast, the Chinese escort taskforce has carried out various activities of escort cooperation such as commanders’ meeting, joint escort and joint exercise with its counterparts from a multiple of escort fleets of other countries and international organizations and put forward the proposal to escort merchant ships in partitioned area of responsibility in the Gulf of Aden, winning appreciation and support of most of the relevant countries.