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Home >> Opinion
UPDATED: 08:31, March 25, 2005
How there comes 'Chinese military threat' theory
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Since February this year, important American military persons have kept uttering words about "Chinese military threat", claiming that China's military modernization is breaking the balance across the Taiwan Straits; constituting threats to US armed forces stationed in this region. China is continually increasing its military expenditures, China's navy is developing gradually in the direction toward the deep sea, the size of the Chinese navy would surpass that of the United States in the coming 10 years, etc.

It is also on the ground of "Chinese military threat" that the United States and Japan spare no efforts to oppose the European Union (EU) lifting arms embargo on China.

China's military strength has experienced some growth in recent years in meeting the need of defense and in complying with the requirement of the trend of the world's new military revolution, but compared with the United States and Japan, China is still lagging far behind in this respect.

In terms of military spending, the US 2004 national defense budget stood at US$401.3 billion, this, plus the US$87 billion worth of additional allocations for the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, added up to a total of US$488.3 billion, more than one-half of the world's total military expenditures. Japan's 2004 national defense budget came to US$42.2 billion. China's 2004 national defense budget was 211.7 billion yuan, converted to about US$25.5 billion. China's national defense expenditure is only equivalent to 5.2 percent of that of the United States and 60.4 percent of that of Japan. China's per-capita national defense expenditure is about 20 US dollars, accounting for only one-77th of that of the United States.

In terms of the number of troops, US military, including reserve force and nonmilitary personnel, amounts to about 3 million, that of China is only 2.3 million after the reduction of staff this year.

Viewed from naval forces, the United States possesses 11 aircraft carriers battle groups, whereas China so far does not have a single large warship with displacement exceeding 8,000 tons. The goal of the Chinese navy is to defend territorial waters, whereas the aim of the United States is to dispose its forces in other regions.

Viewed from troops stationed overseas, the United States has troops stationed in well over 130 countries and regions and several hundred overseas military bases; while China does not have a single soldier stationed overseas.

In terms of the situation of military technology, the US Army has realized mature mechanization and has initially completed information-oriented transformation; while the Chinese Army is far from having gone through the road to mechanization, and it has just taken the first step toward information-oriented construction. According to the estimate made in a US report last year, there exists a military technology "epochal difference" of about 20 years between China and the United States.

Seen from the above data, who can believe in the saying that China constitutes military threats to the United States and Japan?

To judge whether a country really constitutes military threats to other nations, it is still necessary to see what kind of military strategy and national defense policy the country is actually pursuing.

Since it was founded in 1949, New China has always persisted in a military strategy of active defense and a defensive national defense policy. China has always pursued the policy of not being the first to use nuclear weapons, it has never participated in nuclear arms race, nor deployed nuclear weapons abroad.

On the contrary, the United States sticks to the strategic idea that "the best defense is effective offense", emphasizing the strategic principle of active offense and preemptive strike. The United States also pursues the strategy of active and initiative nuclear deterrent and containment and has expanded its targets of nuclear attack from nuclear to non-nuclear countries.

The Taiwan question is an important "basis" for the great clamor about "Chinese military threat". The Taiwan issue concerns the great cause of China's reunification, China has the right to conduct military readjustment within its own territory, the United States has no reason whatsoever to gesticulate in this regard.

Facts have proved that the Chinese Army is an important force defending regional stability and world peace. The United States frequently preaches the "China threat" theory, maybe the root cause of which lies in its ambition to seek world domination and its quest for the practice of power politics and containment of China.

China and the United States are both big significant countries in today's world, peace benefits while fight hurts both sides. The two countries should treat and tackle the disharmonious musical notes in bilateral relations from a strategic height and long-term angle. Only by doing so, is it possible to ensure realization of their respective national interests and jointly promote regional stability and world peace.

Carried on the front page of People's Daily (Overseas Edition) March 24, the above article is translated by People's Daily Online

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