PLA eyes complex threats around China

09:34, April 01, 2011      

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Spokesman with China's Ministry of National Defense Geng Yansheng shows the white paper on China's national defense at a press conference in Beijing, capital of China, March 30, 2011. The Chinese government issued the white paper on national defense in 2010 on Thursday, which reiterates China's insistence on peaceful development and pursuit of a national defense policy that is defensive in nature. (Xinhua Photo)

Beijing's process of modernizing its army and upgrading its arsenal comes in response to an increasingly volatile security situation, both at home and abroad, according to a defense white paper released Thursday.

This report, the seventh of its kind since 1998, provides an overview of China's national defense, ranging from its security environment to the national defense policy, as well as to defense expenditure and arms control.

On the regional front, Asia-Pacific security has become more intricate and volatile, the paper said, noting the US' tightening of its traditional regional military alliances and closer involvement in security affairs.

"Suspicion about China, interference and moves against China from the outside are on the increase," the report said.

The white paper also stressed that separatists still operate within China's borders to try and disturb the country's territorial integrity.

"The regional environment around China in 2010 noticeably deteriorated with rising occurrences of maritime disputes. The regional climate became graver for China as the US announced its intention to refocus on Asia," said Liu Yong, a security expert.

Speculation surrounding the building of China's first aircraft carrier and its possible launch this very year was downplayed Thursday, as Colonel Geng Yansheng said there was no relevant information on the subject, when the white paper was unveiled to the media Thursday.

Xu Weidi, a senior research fellow at the National Defense University, told the Global Times that an aircraft carrier is needed, as "there is an increasing demand to protect the safety of Chinese citizens and national interests abroad, as demonstrated in missions such as the evacuation of Chinese from Libya and safeguarding Chinese ships sailing in the Gulf of Aden."

Constant endeavors by the PLA to develop its military equipment are to stave off aggression, but also to enable the country to devote itself to the cause of world peace, Xu said.

Major technological advancements that sent broad shockwaves around the world were also rolled out recently.

Last year, China debuted its first stealth fighter, the J-20, that has been widely compared to the US F-22, due to their similar radar-avoiding technology.

In February, China announced that a new type of conventional missile, with a traveling distance of up to 4,000 kilometers, would enter active service by 2015.

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Source: Global Times
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