China deserves recognition for sincerely promoting peace

16:58, July 06, 2011      

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China has made significant progress in enhancing its military transparency in recent years through actively participating in international military transparency mechanisms, taking the initiative to release plans for the research and development of sophisticated weapons, carrying out international peacekeeping and escorting missions, holding military exchanges with other countries, releasing white papers on national defense regularly and establishing a spokesperson system for the Ministry of National Defense. Overall, China has showed the world its sincerity in seeking peace, its confidence as a world power, and the open and pragmatic image of the People's Liberation Army.

What is military transparency really about? Generally speaking, military transparency refers to the transparency about strategic intentions and military capabilities. Compared to transparency about military capabilities, the transparency about strategic intentions is more important because it is the most effective and practical indicator of a country's threat to other countries as well as the regional and international security.

The world can rest assured that a country is not a security threat only when the country is really transparent about its strategic intentions. From another point of view, being transparent about military capabilities rather than strategic intentions may be a sign of security threat. China has made solemn commitments to the world that it will unswervingly take the road of peaceful development and pursue a defensive national defense policy. It will never seek hegemony, engage in military expansion or arms race, or pose a military threat to any country.

The while paper titled "China's National Defense in 2010" reiterated China's strategic intention of peaceful development as well as the country's national defense policy that is defensive in nature and is aimed at maintaining world peace and promoting common development. In addition, the while paper also explained certain security issues facing China in response to international concerns over China's growing military power.

The military transparency is related to national security. Various countries decided the military transparency based on their national interests and security needs. No country in the world can be absolutely transparent in military. Even military powers like the United States are "selectively transparent" in military. The information relevant to a country's core national interests and military security is always a closely guarded secret.

It is difficult to gauge military transparency with a unified scale. It is a weapon of deterrence that can help some countries with strong military power to "win the battle without fighting." However, improper military transparency will expose the security weaknesses of countries with relatively weaker power. Different countries have different bearing capabilities of military transparency. One country should not interfere in other countries' military transparency.

Political mutual trust is a precondition and basis for military transparency. Without political mutual trust, no one will believe in a country's military transparency no matter how transparent it is. China has repeatedly promised that it will never seek hegemony, but some assert that China will inevitably follow the "regular pattern" of "seeking hegemony after becoming a super power."

Although China has repeatedly pledged not to "be the first to use nuclear weapons," some assert that the pledge is unreliable and will not feel assured until they witness China's military power. Although China annually discloses its military spending, some still criticize China for its lack of military transparency and even assume that China's actual military spending is several times that of the official figure. This shows that military transparency will not surely bring about political mutual trust, and military transparency can only have its positive meaning under the precondition of mutual trust.

In fact, all peace-loving people across the world have their own opinions on whether or not China's military is transparent. Various types of groundless criticisms over China’s lack of military transparency are due to a Cold War mentality shared by some people. These criticisms aim to promote the "China threat" theory, find excuses for strengthening military power, drive a wedge between China and its neighboring countries or damage the external environment for China's peaceful development.

Despite the situation, China military will not cease its steps toward transparency. Meanwhile, China also sincerely hopes that all countries can take practical actions to promote military mutual trust among countries and strive to create a peaceful, safe and stable international environment.

By Chen Ce, translated by People's Daily Online
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