II. National Defense Policy
China’s national defense policy for the new stage in the new century basically includes: upholding national security and unity, and ensuring the interests of national development; achieving the all-round, coordinated and sustainable development of China’s national defense and armed forces; enhancing the performance of the armed forces with informationization as the major measuring criterion; implementing the military strategy of active defense; pursuing a self-defensive nuclear strategy; and fostering a security environment conducive to China’s peaceful development.
According to the requirements of national security and the level of economic and social development, China pursues a three-step development strategy to modernize its national defense and armed forces step by step in a well-planned way. This strategic framework is defined as follows:
Promoting the informationization of China’s national defense and armed forces. Taking informationization as the goal of modernization of its national defense and armed forces and in light of its national and military conditions, China actively pushes forward the RMA with Chinese characteristics. It has formulated in a scientific way strategic plans for national defense and armed forces building and strategies for the development of the services and arms, according to which it will lay a solid foundation by 2010, basically accomplish mechanization and make major progress in informationization by 2020, and by and large reach the goal of modernization of national defense and armed forces by the mid-21st century.
Overall planning of economic development and national defense building. Sticking to the principle of coordinated development of economy and national defense, China makes overall plans for the use of its national resources and strikes a balance between enriching the country and strengthening the military, so as to ensure that its strategy for national defense and armed forces building is compatible with its strategy for national development. It makes national defense building an organic part of its social and economic development, endeavors to establish scientific mechanisms for the coordinated development of economy and national defense, and thus provides rich resources and sustainable driving force for the modernization of its national defense and armed forces. In national defense building, China makes it a point to take into consideration the needs of economic and social development and insists on having military and civilian purposes compatible with and beneficial to each other, so as to achieve more social benefits in the use of national defense resources in peacetime.
Deepening the reform of national defense and armed forces. China is working to adjust and reform the organization, structure and policies of the armed forces, and will advance step by step the modernization of the organizational form and pattern of the armed forces in order to develop by 2020 a complete set of scientific modes of organization, institutions and ways of operation both with Chinese characteristics and in conformity with the laws governing the building of modern armed forces. China strives to adjust and reform the systems of defense-related industry of science and technology and the procurement of weapons and equipment, and enhance its capacity for independent innovation in R&D of weapons and equipment with better quality and cost-effectiveness. China endeavors to establish and improve the systems of weaponry and equipment research and manufacturing, military personnel training and logistical support that integrate military with civilian purposes and combine military efforts with civilian support. In addition, China makes an effort to establish and improve a national defense mobilization system that is centralized and unified, well structured, rapid in reaction, and authoritative and efficient.
Taking the road of leapfrog development. Persisting in taking mechanization as the foundation and informationization as focus, China is stepping up the composite development of mechanization and informationization. Persisting in strengthening the military by means of science and technology, China is working to develop new and high-tech weaponry and equipment, carry out the strategic project of training talented people, conduct military training in conditions of informationization, and build a modern logistics system in an all-round way, so as to change the mode of formation of war-fighting capabilities. Persisting in laying stress on priorities, China distinguishes between the primary and the secondary, and refrains from doing certain things, striving to achieve leapfrog development in key areas. China persists in building the armed forces through diligence and thrift, attaching importance to scientific management, in order to make the fullest use of its limited defense resources.
China implements a military strategy of active defense. Strategically, it adheres to the principle of featuring defensive operations, self-defense and striking and getting the better of the enemy only after the enemy has started an attack. In response to the new trends in world military developments and the requirements of the national security and development strategy, China has formulated a military strategic guideline of active defense for the new period.
This guideline aims at winning local wars in conditions of informationization. It takes into overall consideration the evolution of modern warfare and the major security threats facing China, and prepares for defensive operations under the most difficult and complex circumstances. Meeting the requirements of confrontation between war systems in modern warfare and taking integrated joint operations as the basic approach, it is designed to bring the operational strengths of different services and arms into full play, combine offensive operations with defensive operations, give priority to the flexible application of strategies and tactics, seek advantages and avoid disadvantages, and make the best use of our strong points to attack the enemy’s weak points. It endeavors to refine the command system for joint operations, the joint training system and the joint support system, optimize the structure and composition of forces, and speed up the building of a combat force structure suitable for winning local wars in conditions of informationization.
This guideline lays stress on deterring crises and wars. It works for close coordination between military struggle and political, diplomatic, economic, cultural and legal endeavors, strives to foster a favorable security environment, and takes the initiative to prevent and defuse crises, and deter conflicts and wars. It strictly adheres to a position of self-defense, exercises prudence in the use of force, seeks to effectively control war situations, and strives to reduce the risks and costs of war. It calls for the building of a lean and effective deterrent force and the flexible use of different means of deterrence. China remains committed to the policy of no first use of nuclear weapons, pursues a self-defensive nuclear strategy, and will never enter into a nuclear arms race with any other country.
This guideline focuses on enhancing the capabilities of the armed forces in countering various security threats and accomplishing diversified military tasks. With the focus of attention on performing the historical missions of the armed forces for the new stage in the new century and with raising the capability to win local wars in conditions of informationization at the core, it works to increase the country’s capabilities to maintain maritime, space and electromagnetic space security and to carry out the tasks of counter-terrorism, stability maintenance, emergency rescue and international peacekeeping. It takes military operations other than war (MOOTW) as an important form of applying national military forces, and scientifically makes and executes plans for the development of MOOTW capabilities. China participates in international security cooperation, conducts various forms of military exchanges and promotes the establishment of military confidence-building mechanisms in accordance with this guideline.
This guideline adheres to and carries forward the strategic concept of people’s war. In accordance with this guideline, China always relies on the people to build national defense and the armed forces, combines a lean standing force with a powerful reserve force, and endeavors to reinforce its national war potential and defense strength. China is working to set up a mechanism for unified and efficient national defense mobilization, stepping up the mobilization of economy, science and technology, information and transportation, and making improvements in the building of the reserve force. China is striving to make innovations in the content and forms of people’s war, exploring new approaches of the people in participating in warfare and support for the front, and developing new strategies and tactics for people’s war in conditions of informationization. Moreover, the People’s Liberation Army (PLA) subordinates its development to the overall national construction, supports local economic and social development, and consolidates the unity between the PLA and the government, and between the PLA and the people.
Information Office of the State Council of the People’s Republic of China