In a policy document issued by the State Council on 26 May 2015, the Communist-ruled country’s cabinet, vowed to increase its “open seas protection”, switching from air defense to both offence and defense, and criticized neighbors who take “provocative actions” on its reefs and islands.
The white paper, “China’s Military Strategy”, issued by the State Council Information Office, outlined a strategy that adheres to the unity of strategic defense and operational and tactical offense.
The nearly 9,000-word paper also underscored “the principles of defense, self-defense and post-emptive strike,” adding that China “will not attack unless [it is] attacked, but will counterattack.”
In response to the evolving form of modern warfare and national security requirements, more focus will be placed on “winning informationized local wars”.
The armed forces will strengthen international security cooperation in areas crucially related to overseas interests.
The paper goes on to highlight four “critical security domains”, including the ocean, outer space, cyberspace and nuclear force.
The paper said modernizing and strengthening maritime military forces were critical to national security and overseas interests. The PLA Navy will gradually shift its focus from the sole strategy of “offshore waters defense” to the combined one of “offshore waters defense [and] open seas protection.”
“China faces many complex maritime security threats and challenges and requires a navy that can carry out multifaceted missions and protect its sovereignty,” Wang Jin, a senior colonel, told reporters.
The paper also cited “grave threats” to China’s cyber infrastructure, adding that China would hasten development of a cyber military force.
China opposes weaponization and arms race in outer space and vowed to secure its space assets. The paper also underscored that China will never enter into a nuclear arms race with any other country.
China also pledged to continue to contribute to world peace.
This is the ninth white paper issued since 1998.
Compared with the previous documents, this one focuses on the core and most sensitive questions concerning China’s military and security policy, said Wen Bing, a researcher with the Academy of Military Science (AMS) of the Chinese People’s Liberation Army (PLA).
The essence of China’s military strategy is “defense” and it highlights an “active” state, Wen said. China’s socialist nature, fundamental national interests and the objective requirement of peaceful development all demand adherence to active defense, the paper says.
It’s because of adherance to this strategy that China could enjoy a relatively stable environment for development and win international respect, said Chen Zhou, director of national defense policy research center under the AMS.
No matter how strong China becomes, it will never deviate from this strategy and will not pursue military expansion, Chen said. China opposes hegemonism and power politics in all forms and will never seek hegemony or expansion, according to the paper.
A world war is unlikely in the foreseeable future and the international situation is expected to remain generally peaceful, according to the paper.
It, however, notes the outside threats of hegemonism, power politics and neo-interventionism.
Small-scale wars, conflicts and crises are recurrent in some regions. Therefore, the world still faces both immediate and potential threats of localized wars, it says.
China remains in a period of strategic opportunities for development, but it also faces multiple and complex security threats, as well as increasing external challenges. This means China still has the arduous task of safeguarding national unification, territorial integrity and development interests, according to the paper.
The paper also warned of threats to China’s maritime rights and interests. It mentioned the provocative actions of certain offshore neighbors, including reinforced, and illegal, military presence on China’s territory, and outside parties involving themselves in South China Sea affairs.