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China's solemn commitment to military transparency
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15:50, September 07, 2007

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Chinese Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Jiang Yu said last Sunday, or on September 2 that China has decided to participate in the United Nations Military Expenditure Transparency Mechanism and restore its participation in the UN Register of Conventional Arms, and provided data required by the Register each year. This contains two major policy decisions made by the Chinese government in the military transparency sphere.

This move, designed to further increase the international transparency of Chinese military, constitutes a giant, substantial step forward for the Chinese military towards its active opening-up to the world, and it will surely have a positive impact on promoting the United Nation's development and improvement of disarmament and a military trust mechanism.

Military transparency here refers to arms control spurred by the United Nations and systematic arrangements with wide-ranging contents, and also represents a vital measure crucial for the establishment of the international military mutual trust. The UN Military Expenditure Transparency Mechanism and the UN Register of Conventional Arms are two vital, crucial mechanisms for military transparency.

China had made immense contributions in establishing and developing the UN register of conventional arms with its 1994 participation in the register of conventional arms but, two years later, or in 1996, it suspended its participation for certain reasons. The current resumption of its participation is of positive significance to encouraging the UN member nations to limit the arms imports by their own and help to contain regional arms races.

Meanwhile, it should be acknowledged that military transparency is not only a wide-ranging military issue, but a very complicated political matter. The absolute, unconditional military transparency, however, is nonexistent in reality.

This move of China's poses a solemn commitment of a responsible nation. Along with its fast development and rapid rise in its international status, China has been assuming its global responsibility and obligations consonant with its actual status in a positive, responsible approach. The Chinese government attaches great importance to military transparency and explicitly takes it as the very responsibility it should assume.

Moreover, China fully understands concerns of some countries regarding its military development, and has promptly introduced or enunciated the relevant information on latest developments with its defense policy, military spendings and army construction via the release of such white papers as "China's National Defense" and "Arms Control and Disarmament". As a matter of fact, they have attained a good effect of enhancing mutual trust and dispelling doubts.

This move of China's represents a span of the Chinese government under the guidance of its new security concept. China is a big developing nation faced with numerous security challenges both internally and externally. In an effort to advance global peace and stability and reduce confrontations and clashes, the Chinese government has initiated and is practically implementing a new security concept centered on mutual trust, mutual benefit, equality and coordination, and carries out a policy to pursue "good-neighborly and stable relations with and enriching the surrounding countries." China will continue to prove with its active, concrete deeds that it will play a still greater role in safeguarding the world peace and pushing forward common prosperity and progress of the humankind.

This move of China's expresses the staunch resolve of the Chinese nation to embark on the road of peaceful development. Taking the road of peaceful development and following the national defense policy of active defense represent the strategic choice and the fundamental national policy made by the Chinese people. China's military development is aimed solely and entirely to respond to stark challenges wrought by changes in the ever-increasingly complex security environment.

China, once victimized by the imperialist policies of expansion in history, has most experienced the abyss of suffering of people under the yoke of colonialism. So its people will never impose the untold sufferings and humiliations they had been subjected to upon others again. The country treasures the opportunity of peace and will work harder still to create pivoting chances for cooperation.

Finally, this move of China's also represents a powerful rebuttal to "China military threat theory." The military development of the country targets neither at any other countries, nor threat any other nations and their people. To date, a few countries have concocted the so-called "China military threat theory' to discredit its image internationally and such an absurdity, however , is groundless. China has re-partaken in the UN Military Transparency Mechanism and this conveys with vivid and undisputable facts its sincerity and resolve for peaceful development.

By Wang Xinjun, a research fellow with the Strategic Studies Department of the Academy of Military Science of the Chinese People's Liberation Army (PLA), and translated by People's Daily Online.

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