China stresses military capability

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China will enhance the armed forces' capability to accomplish a wide range of military tasks, with the Communist Party of China having absolute leadership, Premier Wen Jiabao said in a government work report on Monday.

"The most important thing is to win local wars under information-age conditions," said Wen in the report submitted to the annual full session of the National People's Congress (NPC), referring to the armed forces' capability.

Wen said in the session's opening meeting that the government will ensure the armed forces accomplish the tasks of combating terrorism, maintaining stability, handling emergencies and relieving disasters.

The premier stressed the absolute leadership of the Communist Party of China over the armed forces, saying that the country will adhere to it as a fundamental principle, strengthen the armed forces' ideological and political standards, and maintain the Chinese armed forces' fundamental purpose of being an army of the people.

"We will accelerate the modernization of the logistics support system, and vigorously enhance our capacity for making innovations in defense-related science and technology and in weapons and equipment development," said Wen.

He added China will focus on training a new type of highly competent military personnel, actively yet prudently carry out reform of national defense, and run the armed forces with strict discipline and in accordance with the law.

"We will comprehensively modernize the armed police force," said Wen, adding that the government will also strengthen national defense mobilization and improve reserves.

The report came just one day after China announced its plan to raise its defense budget by 11.2 percent to 670 billion yuan (106.4 billion U.S. dollars) in 2012.

Li Zhaoxing, spokesman for the NPC annual session and former foreign minister, said at a press conference Sunday that the growth is "reasonable and appropriate."

Li noted that the share of defense spending in China's GDP dropped from 1.33 percent in 2008 to 1.28 percent in 2011, and that the equivalent measures in the United States and Britain exceed 2 percent.

"The limited military strength of China is solely for safeguarding its national sovereignty and territorial integrity, and will not pose a threat to any country," said Li.

The white paper "China's National Defense in 2010" -- the latest edition and the seventh of its kind the Chinese government has issued since 1998 -- says China will never seek hegemony, nor will it adopt the approach of military expansion now or in the future, no matter how its economy develops.

China's commitment to peaceful development and an armed forces policy which is defensive in nature have been underlined in all the seven editions of the white paper.

"China will not engage in arms race with any other country, and it does not pose a military threat to any other country," said another white paper titled "China's peaceful development" issued in September.

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