China's new security committee to have wide responsibilities

By Liu Qiang
0 Comment(s)Print E-mail, November 15, 2013
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China's new national security committee will shoulder wide responsibilities [Xinhua photo]

The Third Plenary Session of the 18th CPC Central Committee was held from Nov. 9 to 12 in Beijing.  [Xinhua photo]

The communiqué at the end of the Third Plenum of the 18th CPC Central Committee announced the formation of a National Security Committee (NSC) but did not reveal its precise membership or what role it will play in the future.

Chinese experts believe that the NSC will have a wide range of duties, and be responsible for national security and foreign policies.

According to Li Wei, director of the Counter-terrorism Research Center at the China Institutes of Contemporary International Relations, the NSC will be China's top decision-making body to deal with major emergences and crises related to national security.

The top priority of the NSC will be strategic planning, developing long-term strategies for national security and the national interest. Security means not only traditional territorial and border security, but also non-traditional economic, financial and environmental security, terrorism, and piracy. The NSC, as a coordinating policy group, may compose of members from the ministries of foreign affairs, public security, health, transport and civil affairs as well as from the army.

There have been similar organizations in developed countries and China's NSC will not be very different from them, Mr. Li said.

China is facing more and more complex challenges from outside. To deal with complex security situations including territorial and economic security, China needs more systematic coordination between different departments. At the same time, the world is hoping China will take on more global responsibilities. It is up to the NSC to decide when and what responsibilities, said Professor Jin Canrong, deputy dean of the School of International Relations, Renmin University.

Prof. Jin added that China's foreign policies are under growing pressures from domestic interests groups which are influencing the flows of China's national resources. It is therefore necessary for top decision-makers to keep strategic perspectives to oversee coordination between conflicting parties for the benefit of the long-term national interests. In fact, as early as 1980, China's leaders were advised to form such a coordinating policy group.

Zhang Guoqing, a researcher with the Institute of American Studies at the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences, believed that the NSC is a necessity of the times. In 1947, the United States established its National Security Council, whose function is to advise and assist the president on national security and foreign affairs. The council is not a decision-making body but serves as the president's think tank. The Chinese version of the National Security Council will not only allow China to cope more effectively with security threats, but also upgrade China's think tank system.

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