By He Lei
Since the 18th National Congress of the Communist Party of China (CPC), China has actively promoted its national defense and armed forces building and made historic achievements in the military development, providing strong support on safeguarding its national sovereignty, security, and development interests, and injecting strong positive energy to regional and world peace and stability.
China's development of military power is an inevitable choice in history and reality.
The modern history of China has profoundly demonstrated that without solid national defense and strong armed forces, a country would be destined to suffer foreign aggression and bullying, and could never achieve national independence, freedom and prosperity.
China is a country with both land and maritime borders. It is also one of the countries with the most neighbors and facing the most complex challenges in regards to frontiers and maritime rights and interests: its border stretches over 22,000 kilometers on land and the coastline of mainland extends well over 18,000 kilometers, and it has 14 land neighbors and faces six countries across the sea.
At present, it's in territorial and maritime rights disputes with some countries. Meanwhile, terrorist and extremist activities are frequent in Central Asia, and the situation of cross-strait relations is more complicated and severe. The "Taiwan independence" forces clamor for "referendums" and "revision of the constitution", incite cross-strait hostility, undermine the peaceful development of cross-strait relations and threaten peace and stability across the Taiwan Straits.
With the development of China's economy, its overseas institutions, personnel and assets have extended throughout the world, and its interests and security challenges related to overseas energy resources and strategic channels have become increasingly prominent.
To meet the above security challenges, China cannot do without the guarantee of strong military power.
China's development of military power is a reliable guarantee for the great rejuvenation of the Chinese nation.
China is at a critical juncture closer to the great national rejuvenation, and encounters unprecedented resistance, pressure and disturbances. Without solid national defense and strong armed forces, the Chinese dream cannot be realized.
China has always regarded self-development as the foundation for safeguarding its own interests and maintaining world peace. China is the second largest economy in the world. A few major scientific and technological achievements have reached world-class levels, laying foundation and providing support for military development.
China will neither follow the old road of focusing on cultural and economic prosperity while neglecting its military development and resulting in a weak state, nor take the evil road of exhausting all resources for its military buildup and carrying out arms races. China adheres to the path of military-civilian integrated development and integrates national defense modernization into the overall strategy of national modernization.
China has consistently adhered to a defensive national defense policy.
China firmly adheres to the path of peaceful development, pursues an independent foreign policy of peace, adopts a defensive national defense policy and implements the military strategic guideline of active defense. The development of China's military power does not pose a threat to any country. No matter how far it develops, China will never seek hegemony, engage in expansion, or take part in an arms race.
Based on the reduction of 1.7 million troops since the 1980s, the number of troops has been cut back by another 300,000 in recent years. China’s national defense expenditure has accounted for about 1.3% of GDP for a long time which is far below the world average of 2.3% to 2.5% and much less than the 3% plus of military powers such as the United States and Russia.
China adheres to self-defense and will never take the initiative to provoke troubles, but it will never tolerate any provocation or aggression. China has always advocated peaceful settlement of international disputes and hot topics. China has been insisting on not interfering in other countries' internal affairs, opposing the threat or use of force, opposing subversion of other countries’ legitimate political power, and opposing hegemonism and power politics.
China is committed to closely combining the maintenance of its legitimate rights and interests with the maintenance of regional and world peace and stability, and closely integrating the realization of the great rejuvenation of the Chinese nation with the advancement of building a community of a shared future for mankind.
Chinese President Xi Jinping proposed promoting the construction of new international relations, promoting the building of “a human community of a shared destiny”, advocating the promotion of the Belt and Road Initiative and the establishment of a new, comprehensive, cooperative and sustainable security concept.
China firmly upholds the international security system with the UN as its core and is committed to addressing and resolving international and regional security hot topics within the UN framework.
China actively promotes international and regional security cooperation, actively participates in the resolution of major international security issues, and jointly addresses security challenges.
China holds fast to the global governance concept of jointly discussing, building and sharing, actively guides and promotes the reform of the global governance system, actively participates in the formulation of rules in the emerging security fields, and promotes international fairness and justice.
China strives to provide more public goods for the maintenance of world peace. It is the country sending the largest number of peacekeepers among the permanent members of the UN Security Council, and its peacekeeping funds rank second in the world.
With a view to developing constructive military relations with countries around the world, China advocates enhancing strategic mutual trust, strengthening crisis control and properly handling territorial and maritime rights and interests’ disputes.
History shows that China's military power has always been the builder of world peace.
Disclaimer: The author is Lt. Gen. He Lei, vice-president of the Academy of Military Science of the Chinese People's Liberation Army. The article was published on the PLA Daily on Oct. 9. It is translated from Chinese into English and edited by the China Military Online.