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White paper reflects China's soft national defense policy

By Mahendra Subedi (People's Daily Online)    17:52, August 09, 2019

"China's National Defense in the New Era" released by the State Council Information Office on July 24, is a transparent and wide-ranging document, which forecasts a mission for robust Chinese military force in a new era. The report indicates that China shall not engage in military expansion beyond its territory. Instead, it notes that the country should concentrate on its own strengthening.

This white paper is a synthesis of well-researched and well-analyzed country-specific and region-specific security. In respect to Asia-Pacific countries, it states: "Addressing differences and disputes through dialogue and consultation has become a preferred policy option for regional countries, making the region a stable part of the global landscape". It states that "A balanced, stable, open and inclusive Asian security architecture continues to develop".

Since the China-proposed Belt and Road Initiative (BRI) is gaining momentum and global traction, the defense paper emphasizes China's core interests, mainly the proposition of win-win cooperation – a motto with which the Chinese propagate the BRI. This signifies that China has embraced a national defense policy that is defensive and negates hegemony, expansion and the establishment of spheres of influence.

"However, the international security system and order are undermined by growing hegemonism, power politics, unilateralism and constant regional conflicts and wars," reads the white paper. Most importantly, the Chinese PLA is also expected to work at translating the Chinese dream of national rejuvenation since President Xi Jinping has attached great importance to political awareness in the military.

The interesting thing about the white paper is that it has revealed the realities that the PLA faces today. "Greater efforts have to be invested in military modernization to meet national security demands. The PLA still lags far behind the world's leading militaries," it said.

Another strong message of the white paper concerns the Taiwan issue. The Taiwan issue is of vital importance to China's core interests, and the Chinese mainland strives for peaceful reunification while any attempts carried out towards so-called "Taiwan independence" are not acceptable. China's role is expected to comprise of international arms control and disarmament, non-proliferation of weapons of mass destruction, to contain extremism and terrorism and mitigate new security threats involving cybersecurity, bio-security and piracy, and make the world a better place to live. At the crux of this white paper is co-existence, peace and promoting dialogue to resolve disputes, adding that 'bellicosity will lead to its own ruin'.

Despite such a vast and modern military force, China's public announcement and commitment against aggression and expansion is an excellent contribution to world peace. The white paper admires countries like Nepal which never engaged in war, preferring to maintain their non-alliance position without joining any military bloc. The paper reiterates China's commitment to five principles of peaceful co-existence while developing friendly cooperation with all countries.

Finally, the statement "No matter how it might develop, China will never threaten any other country or seek any sphere of influence" mentioned in the white paper is expected to please global peace lovers. 

The author is a senior vice editor with the National News Agency, Nepal and is currently participating in the China Asia Pacific Press Center 2019 program in Beijing.

(For the latest China news, Please follow People's Daily on Twitter and Facebook)(Web editor: Du Mingming, Bianji)

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