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Home > Struggle for Tamil Eelam > International Frame & the Tamil Eelam Struggle for Freedom > China > Chinese Defence Policy: Building International Stability
Chinese Defence Policy: Building International Stability
Lt Gen Zhang Qinsheng,
Speech from English transcript
Thank you, Dr Chipman, distinguished guests, ladies and gentlemen, dear friends. I want to thank IISS. It is due to its hard work that we have made our way to this Shangri-La dialogue. Yesterday evening Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong made a keynote speech on the Asia Pacific regional security situation. I appreciate his in-depth, insightful and objective analysis.
The Shangri-La dialogue offers the defence and military leaders, Government officials, and actor missions in the region, a platform to exchange ideas. I am pleased to use this platform to exchange views with you on the following issues.
Asia Pacific Security Situation - a Chinese Perspective
The Asia Pacific is the beautiful home of all the participating countries at this dialogue, and the most dynamic region in the world. We are encouraged to see that peace, development and cooperation are the mainstream in the region.
International relations in the region are generally stable. Regional cooperation continues to deepen. Economic cooperation and trade is more active than ever. Multiple cultures prosper side by side. Security dialogues are increasingly pragmatic to maintain peace, avoid confrontation and promote development have become shared goals of the Asia-Pacific countries.
Such a favourable situation attributes to the following factors:
Asia-Pacific countries mutually respect the right of others to
independently choose their political model and manage to maintain internal
harmony and stability; Asia Pacific countries actively promote liberalisation of
trade and investment and make efforts to shape a fair and square rational and
open international trade environment; in order to maintain their shared
interests and in the spirit of mutual understanding and mutual accommodation,
Asia Pacific countries tend to settle frictions and disputes peacefully; and,
Regional security also faces threats. Traditional disputes over territorial and maritime rights and interests, ethnic and religious clashes are yet to be addressed fairly. Terrorism, secessionism and extremism remain grave threats.
As the situation changes the hot
spot issues in the region make new developments. At the same time strategic
mutual confidence, regional security dialogue and a cooperation mechanism is
comparatively fragile. And the regional capability to jointly withstand
traditional and non-traditional security risks is limited.
Peaceful Development in China
China is different from the rising powers in the history as it has chosen the path of peaceful development. The soul of this policy is that China strives for a peaceful international environment to develop and, at the same time, develops itself to better contribute to world peace. Peaceful development is not a makeshift, but a serious choice and pledge of the Chinese Government and people.
China, all along, adheres to a defence policy which is defensive in nature. The fundamentals of the policy are: to maintain sovereignty and territorial integrity and ensure the nation prosper in a peaceful environment; to perform homeland defence and resist a foreign invasion; to moderately enhance defence capabilities to deal with the multiple security threats, and cope with crisis, maintain peace, deter and, if necessary, win the war.
Characters of the Chinese Defence Policy
The Chinese defence policy is characterised as the following: first, it is for self-defence. Strategically we adhere to defence, self-defence and would win by striking only after the enemy has struck. China shall never fire the first shot. Such an approach is consistent with the ancient Chinese thought to use caution before getting into a war - use force only for a just cause, put people first, and cherish life.
Second, it aims for independent defence. We would secure the country with our own capabilities, without joining any form of military alliance with any countries. We independently develop national defence industries, and the defence science and technology sector. We independently handle military-to-military affairs while balancing national interests, regional interests and global interests.
Limited Military Power
Third, it is aimed to achieve limited military power. We always put national sovereignty and territory integrity first, but not seek absolute military dominance. We are committed to developing a smaller but highly capably military force in a unique Chinese way and to promote all-round balanced and sustainable defence and military development. We continue to embrace the longstanding nuclear policy of no first use, will not use or threaten to use nuclear weapons against nuclear weapon-free countries and zones.
A Peace Policy
Fourth, it is a peace policy. We make regional and world peace one of the objectives of the Chinese defence policy, and handle the military-to-military relations in light of the principles of mutual respect, equal consultation, mutual benefit, reciprocity, cooperation and win-win. We would seek common ground while shelving differences and promote harmony and amity with all countries. We are committed to developing non-alignment, non-confrontational mutual cooperation, which does not direct against a third party.
An Active Contributor to Asia Pacific Security and Stability
A Prosperous Asia Pacific
The development of China is impossible without a prosperous and stable Asia Pacific region, and Asia Pacific prosperity and stability need a developing China. China wants to build good neighbourly relations and partnerships with its neighbours, maintain peace and security, facilitate dialogue and cooperation, and advocate harmony and common prosperity; thus, contributing to the security and stability in Asia Pacific.
Regional Security Dialogue
First, China is actively involved in regional security dialogue and cooperation. China facilitates the deepening and expansion of pragmatic cooperation, amongst high cooperation organisation members in political, economic, security, cultural and other fields. China values the ASEAN regional forum, [inaudible] aided the ARF security policy conference, co-sponsored the seminars on non-proliferation and international relief efforts, and proposed to enhance mutual confidence and cooperation with ASEAN.
China also makes efforts to strengthen the China/Japan ROK cooperation, and other cooperation, where the 10 plus 3 and 10 plus 1 frameworks. We have also launched dialogue and cooperation with SAC. Besides China's constructive work at the Six Party talks, makes sure that Korean nuclear issue is to be settled peacefully through dialogue.
Second, China actively engages the regional countries to enhance, exchange cooperation in non-traditional security field. China participated in a number of regional humanitarian operations and have donated considerable amount of relief materials and funds as the Tsunami and the major earthquake in South Asia happened. Many uniformed men and women joined the Chinese international relief teams to deliver assistance to the disaster stricken countries.
Mutual Security Confidence
Third, China is committed to enhancing mutual confidence in the security field. The Chinese military force is increasing people-to-people contact, functional exchange and training cooperation with other militaries in the region. We sponsored different forms of defence forums, and established security and defence consultations with the United States, Russia, Japan, Australia, Indonesia, Vietnam, the Philippines, Thailand, Pakistan and some other countries.
We opened many of our military exercises to foreign military observers, and since 2002 China has participated in 16 bilateral or multilateral military exercises with 11 countries. China has issued several defence white papers, which well and truly update the international community with the Chinese national security strategy, nuclear strategy, service development strategy et cetera, as well as the latest progress in defence and military modernisation. The content of the white papers is underpins our sincere wish to achieve greater openness.
The Chinese Defence Budget
Strict Legal Procedures
Here I would comment on the suspicion over the Chinese military transparency and defence budget. Regarding the defence budget, I have three comments to offer. First, in China defence budgeting follows a set of highly strict legal procedures, and the published defence budget is true and authentic.
Relatively Small Expenditure
Third, given the multiple security threats we face, the geopolitical environment, the size of the territory and the per capita expense, the Chinese defence expenditure is fairly small by all judgments.
Regarding military transparency, I think that due to differences in history, culture, social system and ideology, countries naturally disagree on what transparency means, and how to achieve it. Nothing in this world is absolute. Transparency is a relative concept too. More importantly, the growth of a country's military power is a dynamic process full of changeable factors, which is difficult to be valued precisely so it takes time to achieve transparency.
Anyhow, it is obvious to all that China is gradually making progress in military transparency, in light of the principles of trust, responsibility, security, and quality.
At the APEC Summit meeting last year, Chinese President Hu Jintao, on behalf of the Chinese Government and people, appealed to build a harmonious Asia Pacific of lasting peace and common prosperity. A harmonious Asia Pacific is a region in which countries promote economic growth and social progress in a coordinated matter; make efforts to narrow the north-south gap to achieve common prosperity; deepen pragmatic cooperation to jointly cope with new threats and challenges; and work towards common security; promote dialogue amongst cultures and religious beliefs and among different social systems and development in most in order to achieve common development.
Propositions for Advancement
Further Mutual Confidence on a Strategic Level
To that end I have the following three propositions. I think mutual confidence is the basis of cooperation. The Asia Pacific countries share the mission to promote development and maintain peace, and have many interests in common.
We propose countries in the region manage international relations from the perspective of maintaining lasting peace, prosperity and development in the region; enhance mutual understanding through increased exchange and communication; expand common ground and reduce suspicion so as to nurture an atmosphere of mutual trust.
When countries disagree or have problems, they should try to diminish the suspicion and build confidence through bilateral or multilateral dialogue, reduce disputes through friendly talks, and settle problems through equal consultation.
Adhere to Open Multilateralism
Diversity is a notable feature of the Asia Pacific. Countries in the region vary in history and culture, and in their face, approach and model of economic development. Given this, we propose countries demonstrate the spirit of openness and accommodation, support the existing regional and sub-regional cooperation programs to advance side by side, and strive for an open inclusive Asia Pacific cooperation framework in which all countries benefit from reciprocity.
Further Strengthen Security Cooperation
It is hard for any country to stand up to the multiple traditional and non-traditional threats alone. Joint efforts and cooperation are the only solution. We expect that countries in the region, in the spirit of consensus, gradual progress and willingness push forward regional security cooperation, gradually establish and perfect regional security magnetisms and cooperate to counter-terror and in peace missions and relief operations.
We propose countries strengthen information sharing and intelligence cooperation, establish an early warning system for crisis and emergencies; enhance coordination and cooperation among functional organisations; facilitate visits, academic exchange, joint training and exercise among the military forces so as to enhance mutual understanding and trust; and strengthen their capabilities to jointly deal with new threats and challenges.
Peace is a precondition of Asia Pacific development, a fundamental interest of the people in this region. I love the idea of the human society and, therefore, the ultimate pursuit of all of us in uniform, as long as the Asia Pacific countries are committed to better welfare of their peoples, and committed to regional people and development we will be able to bring lasting peace and common prosperity to the region. China has every confidence to make this dream come true.