Asien — China’s National Defense in 2008

I. The Secu­ri­ty Situation

With the advent of the new cen­tu­ry, the world is under­go­ing tremen­dous changes and adjust­ments. Peace and devel­op­ment remain the prin­ci­pal themes of the times, and the pur­suit of peace, devel­op­ment and coop­er­a­tion has become an irre­sistible trend of the times. How­ev­er, glob­al chal­lenges are on the increase, and new secu­ri­ty threats keep emerging. 

Eco­nom­ic glob­al­iza­tion and world mul­ti-polar­iza­tion are gain­ing momen­tum. The progress toward indus­tri­al­iza­tion and infor­ma­tion­iza­tion through­out the globe is accel­er­at­ing and eco­nom­ic coop­er­a­tion is in full swing, lead­ing to increas­ing eco­nom­ic inter­de­pen­dence, inter­con­nec­tiv­i­ty and inter­ac­tiv­i­ty among coun­tries. The rise and decline of inter­na­tion­al strate­gic forces is quick­en­ing, major pow­ers are step­ping up their efforts to coop­er­ate with each oth­er and draw on each other’s strengths. They con­tin­ue to com­pete with and hold each oth­er in check, and groups of new emerg­ing devel­op­ing pow­ers are aris­ing. There­fore, a pro­found read­just­ment is brew­ing in the inter­na­tion­al sys­tem. In addi­tion, fac­tors con­ducive to main­tain­ing peace and con­tain­ing war are on the rise, and the com­mon inter­ests of coun­tries in the secu­ri­ty field have increased, and their will­ing­ness to coop­er­ate is enhanced, there­by keep­ing low the risk of world­wide, all-out and large-scale wars for a rel­a­tive­ly long peri­od of time. 

World peace and devel­op­ment are faced with mul­ti­ple dif­fi­cul­ties and chal­lenges. Strug­gles for strate­gic resources, strate­gic loca­tions and strate­gic dom­i­nance have inten­si­fied. Mean­while, hege­monism and pow­er pol­i­tics still exist, region­al tur­moil keeps spilling over, hotspot issues are increas­ing, and local con­flicts and wars keep emerg­ing. The impact of the finan­cial cri­sis trig­gered by the US sub­prime mort­gage cri­sis is snow­balling. In the aspect of world eco­nom­ic devel­op­ment, issues such as ener­gy and food are becom­ing more seri­ous, high­light­ing deep-seat­ed con­tra­dic­tions. Eco­nom­ic risks are man­i­fest­ing a more inter­con­nect­ed, sys­tem­at­ic and glob­al nature. Issues such as ter­ror­ism, envi­ron­men­tal dis­as­ters, cli­mate change, seri­ous epi­demics, transna­tion­al crime and pirates are becom­ing increas­ing­ly prominent. 

The influ­ence of mil­i­tary secu­ri­ty fac­tors on inter­na­tion­al rela­tions is mount­ing. Dri­ven by com­pe­ti­tion in over­all nation­al strength and the devel­op­ment of sci­ence and tech­nol­o­gy, inter­na­tion­al mil­i­tary com­pe­ti­tion is becom­ing increas­ing­ly intense, and the world­wide rev­o­lu­tion in mil­i­tary affairs (RMA) is reach­ing a new stage of devel­op­ment. Some major pow­ers are realign­ing their secu­ri­ty and mil­i­tary strate­gies, increas­ing their defense invest­ment, speed­ing up the trans­for­ma­tion of armed forces, and devel­op­ing advanced mil­i­tary tech­nol­o­gy, weapons and equip­ment. Strate­gic nuclear forces, mil­i­tary astro­nau­tics, mis­sile defense sys­tems, and glob­al and bat­tle­field recon­nais­sance and sur­veil­lance have become top pri­or­i­ties in their efforts to strength­en armed forces. Some devel­op­ing coun­tries are also active­ly seek­ing to acquire advanced weapons and equip­ment to increase their mil­i­tary pow­er. All coun­tries are attach­ing more impor­tance to sup­port­ing diplo­mat­ic strug­gles with mil­i­tary means. As a result, arms races in some regions are heat­ing up, pos­ing grave chal­lenges to the inter­na­tion­al arms con­trol and non-pro­lif­er­a­tion regime. 

The Asia-Pacif­ic secu­ri­ty sit­u­a­tion is sta­ble on the whole. The region­al econ­o­my is brim­ming with vig­or, mech­a­nisms for region­al and sub-region­al eco­nom­ic and secu­ri­ty coop­er­a­tion main­tain their devel­op­ment momen­tum, and it has become the pol­i­cy ori­en­ta­tion of all coun­tries to set­tle dif­fer­ences and hotspot issues peace­ful­ly through dia­logue. The mem­ber states of the Shang­hai Coop­er­a­tion Orga­ni­za­tion (SCO) have signed the Treaty on Long-Term Good-Neigh­bor­ly Rela­tions, Friend­ship and Coop­er­a­tion, and prac­ti­cal coop­er­a­tion has made progress in such fields as secu­ri­ty and econ­o­my. The con­clu­sion of the ASEAN Char­ter has enabled a new step to be tak­en toward ASEAN inte­gra­tion. Remark­able achieve­ments have been made in coop­er­a­tion between Chi­na and ASEAN, as well as between ASEAN and Chi­na, Japan and the Repub­lic of Korea. Coop­er­a­tion with­in the frame­work of the East Asia Sum­mit (EAS) and the South Asian Asso­ci­a­tion for Region­al Coop­er­a­tion (SAARC) con­tin­ues to make progress. The Six-Par­ty Talks on the Kore­an nuclear issue have scored suc­ces­sive achieve­ments, and the ten­sion in North­east Asia is much released. 

How­ev­er, there still exist many fac­tors of uncer­tain­ty in Asia-Pacif­ic secu­ri­ty. The dras­tic fluc­tu­a­tions in the world econ­o­my impact heav­i­ly on region­al eco­nom­ic devel­op­ment, and polit­i­cal tur­bu­lence per­sists in some coun­tries under­go­ing eco­nom­ic and social tran­si­tion. Eth­nic and reli­gious dis­cords, and con­flict­ing claims over ter­ri­to­r­i­al and mar­itime rights and inter­ests remain seri­ous, region­al hotspots are com­plex. At the same time, the US has increased its strate­gic atten­tion to and input in the Asia-Pacif­ic region, fur­ther con­sol­i­dat­ing its mil­i­tary alliances, adjust­ing its mil­i­tary deploy­ment and enhanc­ing its mil­i­tary capa­bil­i­ties. In addi­tion, ter­ror­ist, sep­a­ratist and extrem­ist forces are run­ning ram­pant, and non-tra­di­tion­al secu­ri­ty issues such as seri­ous nat­ur­al dis­as­ters crop up fre­quent­ly. The mech­a­nisms for secu­ri­ty coop­er­a­tion between coun­tries and regions are yet to be enhanced, and the capa­bil­i­ty for cop­ing with region­al secu­ri­ty threats in a coor­di­nat­ed way has to be improved. 

China’s secu­ri­ty sit­u­a­tion has improved steadi­ly. The achieve­ments made in China’s mod­ern­iza­tion dri­ve have drawn world­wide atten­tion. China’s over­all nation­al strength has increased sub­stan­tial­ly, its people’s liv­ing stan­dards have kept improv­ing, the soci­ety remains sta­ble and uni­fied, and the capa­bil­i­ty for uphold­ing nation­al secu­ri­ty has been fur­ther enhanced. The attempts of the sep­a­ratist forces for “Tai­wan inde­pen­dence” to seek “de jure Tai­wan inde­pen­dence” have been thwart­ed, and the sit­u­a­tion across the Tai­wan Straits has tak­en a sig­nif­i­cant­ly pos­i­tive turn. The two sides have resumed and made progress in con­sul­ta­tions on the com­mon polit­i­cal basis of the “1992 Con­sen­sus,” and con­se­quent­ly cross-Straits rela­tions have improved. Mean­while, Chi­na has made steady progress in its rela­tions with the devel­oped coun­tries, strength­ened in all respects the good-neigh­bor­ly friend­ship with its neigh­bor­ing coun­tries, and kept deep­en­ing its tra­di­tion­al friend­ship with the devel­op­ing coun­tries. Chi­na is play­ing an active and con­struc­tive role in mul­ti­lat­er­al affairs, thus notably ele­vat­ing its inter­na­tion­al posi­tion and influence. 

Chi­na is still con­front­ed with long-term, com­pli­cat­ed, and diverse secu­ri­ty threats and chal­lenges. Issues of exis­tence secu­ri­ty and devel­op­ment secu­ri­ty, tra­di­tion­al secu­ri­ty threats and non-tra­di­tion­al secu­ri­ty threats, and domes­tic secu­ri­ty and inter­na­tion­al secu­ri­ty are inter­wo­ven and inter­ac­tive. Chi­na is faced with the supe­ri­or­i­ty of the devel­oped coun­tries in econ­o­my, sci­ence and tech­nol­o­gy, as well as mil­i­tary affairs. It also faces strate­gic maneu­vers and con­tain­ment from the out­side while hav­ing to face dis­rup­tion and sab­o­tage by sep­a­ratist and hos­tile forces from the inside. Being in a stage of eco­nom­ic and social tran­si­tion, Chi­na is encoun­ter­ing many new cir­cum­stances and new issues in main­tain­ing social sta­bil­i­ty. Sep­a­ratist forces work­ing for “Tai­wan inde­pen­dence,” “East Turk­istan inde­pen­dence” and “Tibet inde­pen­dence” pose threats to China’s uni­ty and secu­ri­ty. Dam­ages caused by non-tra­di­tion­al secu­ri­ty threats like ter­ror­ism, nat­ur­al dis­as­ters, eco­nom­ic inse­cu­ri­ty, and infor­ma­tion inse­cu­ri­ty are on the rise. Impact of uncer­tain­ties and desta­bi­liz­ing fac­tors in China’s out­side secu­ri­ty envi­ron­ment on nation­al secu­ri­ty and devel­op­ment is grow­ing. In par­tic­u­lar, the Unit­ed States con­tin­ues to sell arms to Tai­wan in vio­la­tion of the prin­ci­ples estab­lished in the three Sino-US joint com­mu­niqués, caus­ing seri­ous harm to Sino-US rela­tions as well as peace and sta­bil­i­ty across the Tai­wan Straits. 

In the face of unprece­dent­ed oppor­tu­ni­ties and chal­lenges, Chi­na will hold high the ban­ner of peace, devel­op­ment and coop­er­a­tion, per­sist in tak­ing the road of peace­ful devel­op­ment, pur­sue the open­ing-up strat­e­gy of mutu­al ben­e­fit, and pro­mote the build­ing of a har­mo­nious world with endur­ing peace and com­mon pros­per­i­ty; and it will per­sist in imple­ment­ing the Sci­en­tif­ic Out­look on Devel­op­ment in a bid to achieve inte­gra­tion of devel­op­ment with secu­ri­ty, per­sist in giv­ing due con­sid­er­a­tion to both tra­di­tion­al and non-tra­di­tion­al secu­ri­ty issues, enhanc­ing nation­al strate­gic capa­bil­i­ties, and per­fect­ing the nation­al emer­gency man­age­ment sys­tem. At the same time, it will per­sist in pur­su­ing the new secu­ri­ty con­cept fea­tur­ing mutu­al trust, mutu­al ben­e­fit, equal­i­ty and coor­di­na­tion, and advo­cat­ing the set­tle­ment of inter­na­tion­al dis­putes and hotspot issues by peace­ful means. It will encour­age the advance­ment of secu­ri­ty dia­logues and coop­er­a­tion with oth­er coun­tries, oppose the enlarge­ment of mil­i­tary alliances, and acts of aggres­sion and expan­sion. Chi­na will nev­er seek hege­mo­ny or engage in mil­i­tary expan­sion now or in the future, no mat­ter how devel­oped it becomes. 

Infor­ma­tion Office of the State Coun­cil of the People’s Repub­lic of China 

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