China’s National Defense in the New Era
The State Council Information Office of the People’s Republic of China
I. International Security Situation
II. China’s Defensive National Defense Policy in the New Era
III. Fulfilling the Missions and Tasks of China’s Armed Forces in the New Era
IV. Reform in China’s National Defense and Armed Forces
V. Reasonable and Appropriate Defense Expenditure
VI. Actively Contributing to Building a Community with a Shared Future for Mankind
Today, with their interests and security intertwined, people across the world are becoming members of a community with a shared future. China is at a critical stage of completing the building of a moderately prosperous society in all respects and embarking on the new journey of building a modernized socialist country in an all-round way. Socialism with Chinese characteristics has entered a new era.
The Chinese government is issuing China’s National Defense in the New Era to expound on China’s defensive national defense policy and explain the practice, purposes and significance of China’s efforts to build a fortified national defense and a strong military, with a view to helping the international community better understand China’s national defense.
I. International Security Situation
The world today is undergoing profound changes unseen in a century. As economic globalization, the information society, and cultural diversification develop in an increasingly multi-polar world, peace, development and win-win cooperation remain the irreversible trends of the times. Nonetheless, there are prominent destabilizing factors and uncertainties in international security. The world is not yet a tranquil place.
The International Strategic Landscape Is Going Through Profound Changes
As the realignment of international powers accelerates and the strength of emerging markets and developing countries keeps growing, the configuration of strategic power is becoming more balanced. The pursuit of peace, stability and development has become a universal aspiration of the international community with forces for peace predominating over elements of war. However, international security system and order are undermined by growing hegemonism, power politics, unilateralism and constant regional conflicts and wars.
International strategic competition is on the rise. The US has adjusted its national security and defense strategies, and adopted unilateral policies. It has provoked and intensified competition among major countries, significantly increased its defense expenditure, pushed for additional capacity in nuclear, outer space, cyber and missile defense, and undermined global strategic stability. NATO has continued its enlargement, stepped up military deployment in Central and Eastern Europe, and conducted frequent military exercises. Russia is strengthening its nuclear and non-nuclear capabilities for strategic containment, and striving to safeguard its strategic security space and interests. The European Union (EU) is accelerating its security and defense integration to be more independent in its own security.
Global and regional security issues are on the increase. International arms control and disarmament efforts have suffered setbacks, with growing signs of arms races. The non-proliferation of weapons of mass destruction remains problematic. The international non-proliferation regime is compromised by pragmatism and double standards, and hence faces new challenges. Extremism and terrorism keep spreading. Non-traditional security threats involving cyber security, bio-security and piracy are becoming more pronounced. The Iranian nuclear issue has taken an unexpected turn, and there is no easy political solution to the Syrian issue. The security of individual countries is becoming increasingly intertwined, interlinked and interactive. No country can respond alone or stand aloof.
The Asia-Pacific Security Situation Remains Generally Stable
Asia-Pacific countries are increasingly aware that they are members of a community with shared destiny. Addressing differences and disputes through dialogue and consultation has become a preferred policy option for regional countries, making the region a stable part of the global landscape. The Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO) is forging a constructive partnership of non-alliance and non-confrontation that targets no third party, expanding security and defense cooperation and creating a new model for regional security cooperation. The China-ASEAN Defense Ministers’ Informal Meeting and the ASEAN Defense Ministers’ Meeting Plus (ADMM-Plus) play positive roles in enhancing trust among regional countries through military exchanges and cooperation. The situation of the South China Sea is generally stable and improving as regional countries are properly managing risks and differences. Steady progress has been made in building a coordinated counter-terrorism mechanism among the militaries of the regional countries. A balanced, stable, open and inclusive Asian security architecture continues to develop.
As the world economic and strategic center continues to shift towards the Asia-Pacific, the region has become a focus of major country competition, bringing uncertainties to regional security. The US is strengthening its Asia-Pacific military alliances and reinforcing military deployment and intervention, adding complexity to regional security. The deployment of the Terminal High Altitude Area Defense (THAAD) system in the Republic of Korea (ROK) by the US has severely undermined the regional strategic balance and the strategic security interests of regional countries. In an attempt to circumvent the post-war mechanism, Japan has adjusted its military and security policies and increased input accordingly, thus becoming more outward-looking in its military endeavors. Australia continues to strengthen its military alliance with the US and its military engagement in the Asia-Pacific, seeking a bigger role in security affairs.
Regional hotspots and disputes are yet to be resolved. Despite positive progress, the Korean Peninsula still faces uncertainty. South Asia is generally stable while conflicts between India and Pakistan flare up from time to time. Political reconciliation and reconstruction in Afghanistan is making progress in the face of difficulties. Problems still exist among regional countries, including disputes over territorial and maritime rights and interests, as well as discord for ethnic and religious reasons. Security hotspots rise from time to time in the region.
China’s Security Risks and Challenges Should Not Be Overlooked
China continues to enjoy political stability, ethnic unity and social stability. There has been a notable increase in China’s overall national strength, global influence, and resilience to risks. China is still in an important period of strategic opportunity for development. Nevertheless, it also faces diverse and complex security threats and challenges.
The fight against separatists is becoming more acute. The Taiwan authorities, led by the Democratic Progressive Party (DPP), stubbornly stick to “Taiwan independence” and refuse to recognize the 1992 Consensus, which embodies the one-China principle. They have gone further down the path of separatism by stepping up efforts to sever the connection with the mainland in favor of gradual independence, pushing for de jure independence, intensifying hostility and confrontation, and borrowing the strength of foreign influence. The “Taiwan independence” separatist forces and their actions remain the gravest immediate threat to peace and stability in the Taiwan Strait and the biggest barrier hindering the peaceful reunification of the country. External separatist forces for “Tibet independence” and the creation of “East Turkistan” launch frequent actions, posing threats to China’s national security and social stability.
China’s homeland security still faces threats. Land territorial disputes are yet to be completely resolved. Disputes still exist over the territorial sovereignty of some islands and reefs, as well as maritime demarcation. Countries from outside the region conduct frequent close-in reconnaissance on China by air and sea, and illegally enter China’s territorial waters and the waters and airspace near China’s islands and reefs, undermining China’s national security.
China’s overseas interests are endangered by immediate threats such as international and regional turmoil, terrorism, and piracy. Chinese diplomatic missions, enterprises and personnel around the world have been attacked on multiple occasions. Threats to outer space and cyber security loom large and the threat of non-traditional security issues posed by natural disasters and major epidemics is on the rise.
Global Military Competition Is Intensifying
Major countries around the world are readjusting their security and military strategies and military organizational structures. They are developing new types of combat forces to seize the strategic commanding heights in military competition. The US is engaging in technological and institutional innovation in pursuit of absolute military superiority. Russia is advancing its New Look military reform. Meanwhile, the UK, France, Germany, Japan and India are rebalancing and optimizing the structure of their military forces.
Driven by the new round of technological and industrial revolution, the application of cutting-edge technologies such as artificial intelligence (AI), quantum information, big data, cloud computing and the Internet of Things is gathering pace in the military field. International military competition is undergoing historic changes. New and high-tech military technologies based on IT are developing rapidly. There is a prevailing trend to develop long-range precision, intelligent, stealthy or unmanned weaponry and equipment. War is evolving in form towards informationized warfare, and intelligent warfare is on the horizon.
Great progress has been made in the Revolution in Military Affairs (RMA) with Chinese characteristics. However, the People’s Liberation Army (PLA) has yet to complete the task of mechanization, and is in urgent need of improving its informationization. China’s military security is confronted by risks from technology surprise and growing technological generation gap. Greater efforts have to be invested in military modernization to meet national security demands. The PLA still lags far behind the world’s leading militaries.