V. International Security Cooperation

Military Exchanges

China handles its military relations independently, and conducts military exchanges and cooperation with other countries on the basis of the Five Principles of Peaceful Coexistence. Military diplomacy should serve the state's overall diplomacy and the modernization of national defense and the armed forces. In pursuance of this purpose the PLA has actively engaged in external contacts and exchanges in a flexible and practical manner, and made sustained efforts for enhanced mutual trust, friendship and cooperation with armed forces of other countries, and for regional and world peace, stability and development.

Over the past two years, China has sent more than 70 high-level military delegations to over 60 countries, and hosted some 160 high-level foreign military delegations. In addition, the Chinese military has conducted friendly and mutually beneficial exchanges and cooperation with its foreign counterparts in the technical and other specialized fields. In this regard it has dispatched more than 150 technical or other specialized delegations abroad, while over 180 foreign military delegations of the similar nature have visited China.

China has improved its military relations with its neighbouring countries. With active high-level military contacts, the bilateral military relations between China and Russia have developed smoothly. Chinese armed forces have made great efforts to promote ties with the armed forces of Northeast Asian countries, and made positive contributions to the stability of the Korean Peninsula and Northeast Asia as a whole. China's military contacts with countries in Southeast, South and Central Asia have maintained their momentum. At the same time, China has further strengthened its military relations with countries in West Asia, Africa, Latin America and Oceania, as well as those in Eastern Europe and the Commonwealth of Independent States. Chinese armed forces have continued to provide assistance to their counterparts in developing countries in personnel training, equipment, logistical materials, and medical care, and will seek to widen the scope of contacts in the future.

In May 1999, China postponed its high-level military exchange programs with the United States in response to the serious incident of bombing of the Chinese Embassy in the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia by the US-led NATO. Following the gradual improvement of the relations between the two countries, normal military contacts between China and the US have resumed. The defense ministries of the two countries held defense consultations at the vice-ministerial level in January 2000. The US defense secretary visited China in July of the same year. China has always attached importance to the development of military relations with European countries, and has exchanged or maintained high-level visits and conducted military exchanges with them at various levels.

The past two years have seen good-will visits by Chinese naval vessels to New Zealand, Australia, the Philippines, Malaysia, Tanzania and South Africa, and visits to China by naval vessels from France, Russia, Australia, Malaysia, Belgium, Canada and Turkey. In addition, China has sent many delegations or groups of military experts to other countries for visits, training, study or research, and hosted many similar foreign delegations or groups. These exchanges of visits have covered many fields, ranging from military education, training and management to scientific research, academic study, culture and sports, and medical care. In August 1999, the PLA participated in the Second World Military Games held in Croatia.

New progress has been made in cooperation between the PLA and foreign armed forces in military education and training. In the past two years, more than 200 Chinese military personnel have been sent to study in Russia, Germany, France, Britain, Pakistan, Bangladesh, Thailand and Kuwait, while nearly 1,000 military personnel from Africa, Latin America and Europe and other Asian countries have come to study in China.

Regional Security Cooperation

China supports regional security dialogue and cooperation at different levels, through various channels, in different forms and in a step-by-step manner pursuant to the principles of participation on an equal footing and reaching consensus through consultation in the spirit of seeking common ground while reserving differences. China main-tains that the multilateral security dialogue and cooperation in the Asia-Pacific region should be oriented toward and characterised by mutual respect instead of the strong bullying the weak, cooperation instead of confrontation, and seeking consensus instead of imposing one's own will on others. China has participated in the ASEAN Regional Forum (ARF), Conference on Interaction and Confidence-Building Measures in Asia (CICA), Council on Security Cooperation in the Asia-Pacific Region (CSCAP), Northeast Asia Cooperation Dialogue (NEACD), Academic Symposium of China, the United States and Japan, and other activities for multilateral security dialogue and cooperation. China stands for enhancing mutual understanding and trust between countries and promoting regional peace and stability through these important governmental and non-governmental channels of discussions on security issues.

The ARF is the only pan-Asia-Pacific official multilateral security dialogue and cooperation forum at present. Representatives of the Chinese ministries of foreign affairs and national defense have attended all the ARF foreign ministers and senior officials' meetings. They have also attended official or unofficial meetings on confidence-building measures, peace-keeping, maritime search and rescue, emergency rescue and disaster relief, preventive diplomacy, non-proliferation, and guiding principles within the framework of the ARF. In the past two years, China has hosted, successively in Beijing, the ARF Seminar on Tropical Hygiene and Prevention and Treatment of Tropical Infectious Diseases, the ARF Professional Training Program on China's Security Policy, the 4th ARF Meeting of Heads of Defense Colleges, and the ARF Seminar on Defense Conversion Cooperation.

China holds that the ARF should continue to focus on confidence-building measures, explore new security concepts and methods, and discuss the question of preventive diplomacy. At the same time, it believes that the parties concerned should have a full discussion first on the concept, definition, principles and scope of preventive diplomacy in the Asia-Pacific region and reach consensus in this regard. China has actively advocated the development of multilateral cooperation in military medicine, military law and the conversion of military technologies and facilities for civilian use within the framework of the ARF. It has proposed to establish an ARF marine information and data center, encouraged exchange of high-level military visits and port calls by naval vessels, as well as exchanges of military personnel, and supported cooperation in emergency rescue and disaster relief, safety in maritime navigation and marine environmental protection.

China has been an active participant in the process of the CICA initiated by Kazakhstan, believing the purpose of the CICA as generally consistent with its security goals in Asia. It is of the view that the CICA should develop step by step with full consideration given to the regional peculiarities and diversities in Asia.

In 1996, China formally joined the CSCAP, and in 1997 established the CSCAP China Committee. And it has actively participated in the CSCAP activities.

Since the establishment of the NEACD in 1993, China has attended all its meetings, and in 1996 and 1999, hosted the fourth and ninth NEACD meetings in Beijing. China has also worked with other member states and succeeded in getting the NEACD to reach agreement on the guiding principles for cooperation between Northeast Asian countries.

China has established, with Russia, the United States, France, Germany, Ukraine, Canada, Australia, New Zealand and some neighbouring countries and regional organizations, mechanisms for regular or irregular consultations on the issues of security, defense and arms control. Desirous of maintaining lasting peace and stability in the Asia-Pacific region, officials and scholars from China's Ministry of National Defense and other departments concerned have involved themselves more extensively and deeply in symposiums and other activities on Asia-Pacific security. This has promoted mutual understanding and trust between China and the countries concerned.

Confidence-Building Measures

The Chinese government has always attached importance to confidence-building measures with neighbouring countries and has worked hard for their adoption. It has energetically advocated the conclusion of border treaties or agreements through talks between the parties concerned on an equal footing in accordance with the principles of non-interference in the internal affairs of other countries and refraining from directing at any third party and threatening or harming other countries' security and stability, so as to safeguard equal security for all the parties concerned, and regional peace and stability.

In April 1996, the heads of state of China, Russia, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan and Tajikistan met in Shanghai for the first time and signed the Agreement on Confidence-Building in the Military Field Along the Border Areas. In April 1997, the heads of state of the five countries met again in Moscow and signed the Agreement on Mutual Reduction of Military Forces in the Border Areas. The agreement stipulates that each country should reduce its military forces deployed in the border areas to such a minimum level as to be compatible with the good-neighborly relations it enjoys with the other four countries in accordance with the principle of equal security. It reiterates that none of the contracting parties should use or threaten to use force against the others, nor should any of them seek military superiority unilaterally; that the military forces of one party deployed in the border areas shall not engage in any military activity to threaten any other party or prejudice the peace and stability of the border areas; and that the number of military personnel and the quantity of the main categories of weaponry and military technical equipment in the geographical areas as defined in the agreement should be reduced or restricted. In July 1998 and August 1999, respectively, the heads of state of the five countries met for the third and fourth times in Alma-Ata in Kazakhstan and Bishkek in Kyrgyzstan, where they signed joint state-ments. In July 2000, the heads of state of the five countries met for the fifth time in Dushanbe of Tajikistan. The President of Uzbekistan attended the meeting as an observer. The Dushanbe Statement signed after the meeting points out that the five countries are playing an increasingly important and positive role in safeguarding regional security and stability and are committed to making the "Shanghai Five" a regional mechanism for their multilateral cooperation in all fields. The five countries have decided to deepen cooperation in the political, diplomatic, economic and trade, military, military technology and other fields to consolidate regional security and stability, and to effectively implement all the clauses of the agreements they have signed concerning confidence-building in the military field and the mutual reduction of military forces along the border areas. They have made it clear that they will never allow any country to use their territory to conduct any activities detrimental to the sovereignty, security and public order of any of the five countries, and that they will support each other's efforts in safeguarding their national independence, state sovereignty, territorial integrity and social stability.

In March 2000, the defense ministers of the five countries met in Astara of Kazakhstan for the first time. The joint communiqu¨¦ signed after the meeting reiterates the determination of the five countries to develop their military and political relations and conduct friendly cooperation based on equality and mutual trust with due consideration to the interests of all the parties and their neighboring areas. It points out that such cooperation is not exclusive, nor is it directed at any third country or bloc of countries. The five countries stressed their firm opposition to interference in other countries' internal affairs on the excuse of protecting ethnic or religious interests, or human rights. They declared that they would never tolerate national separatism, religious extremism or terrorism, and that they would resolutely oppose any activity by such forces on their respective territory against other countries. They pledged to jointly take effective measures to crack down on such activities so as to safeguard regional peace and stability. The five agreed that they would further study the possibility of strengthening confidence-building measures in the military field, promote cooperation between frontier departments, and jointly combat transnational crimes, stage joint exercises in preventing dangerous military activities, combating international terrorists and carrying out emergency rescue and disaster relief, share peace-keeping experiences and coordinate with each other in their peace-keeping operations.

In August 1995, China's Ministry of National Defense and the Frontier Defense General Administration of the Federation of Russia signed the Sino-Russian Agreement on Frontier Defense Cooperation. Under the Agreement, the two sides shall cooperate with each other in frontier defense and make every effort to turn the boundary between China and Russia into one of peace, tranquility and friendship; exchange information in the interest of frontier defense cooperation; coordinate their measures to effectively guard their boundary and maintain order there; prevent accidental incidents or conflicts in the border areas; coordinate with each other in taking measures against illegal activities in the border areas; assist in the search for, detention and timely transfer of people crossing boundaries illegally, together with their transportation means and belongings; exchange experiences on organizing and implementing the defense of their national boundaries; and help each other with technical equipment for the defense of their national boundaries.

In November 1999, China's Ministry of National Defense and the Frontier Guards Administrative Bureau of Mongolia signed the Sino-Mongolian Agreement on Cooperation in Frontier Defense. The Agreement stipulates that the two sides shall promote cooperation in frontier defense and make efforts to keep peace and stability on the boundary between China and Mongolia; exchange information in the interest of maintaining normal order in the border areas and other related information; discuss measures and share experiences in guarding and managing the border and maintaining normal order there; prevent accidental incidents or disputes in the border areas; crack down on illegal activities across the border, such as smuggling of weapons, trafficking in narcotics and other contrabands, robbery and theft; strengthen cooperation between boundary representative bodies of the two countries in handling border incidents through consultation, and assist each other in the search for and timely transfer of the people crossing boundaries illegally, together with their transportation means, livestock and other belongings; and inform each other of any possible natural disasters or epidemic diseases which may cause losses to the other and measures to be adopted to prevent them from crossing the boundary.

The relevant government departments and frontier forces of China have faithfully implemented the stipulations of the treaties and agreements, and actively promoted exchanges and cooperation with their counterparts of neighboring countries. They have dealt with boundary affairs in a timely manner and cracked down on illegal activities in the border areas together with their counterparts through communication and consultation mechanism, and frontier talks and meetings. With the gradual establishment and implementation of confidence-building measures, there has been a visible decrease in the number of boundary disputes and incidents, a normal order in the border areas has been effectively maintained, and a peaceful and friendly atmosphere has gradually prevailed along the boundary.

Participation in UN Peace-Keeping Operations

According to the UN Charter, the UN Security Council is conferred primary responsibility for the maintenance of world peace and security. As a permanent member of the UN Security Council, China has been committed to the maintenance of international peace and security. It attaches great importance to the United Nations and supports it in playing its due role in maintaining international peace and security under the guidance of the purposes and principles of the UN Charter.

In order to guarantee their success and sound development, UN peace-keeping operations must strictly adhere to the purposes and principles of the UN Charter, especially the principles of respect for state sovereignty and non-interference in other countries' internal affairs. No UN peace-keeping operations should be launched without the prior consent of the countries concerned. All UN peace-keeping forces should strictly observe neutrality and non-use of force except for self-defense. Peaceful means, rather than coercive measures, should be sought to settle disputes, such as mediation, good offices and negotiation. Double standards and military interference under the name of the UN should be rejected. Any decision on launching UN peace-keeping operations must be based on practicability and capabilities, and no peace-keeping operation should be launched when conditions are not ripe. Peace-keeping forces should not become a party to a conflict, which would be a deviation from the basic purpose of peace-keeping operations.

Adhering to the above principles, China has participated actively in UN peace-keeping activities. So far China has sent 522 military observers, liaison officers or advisers and 800 men in two batches from engineering units to the UN peace-keeping operations, including the United Nations Truce Supervision Organization (UNTSO), United Nations Iraq-Kuwait Observation Mission (UNIKOM), United Nations Transitional Authority in Cambodia (UNTAC), United Nations Mission for the Referendum in Western Sahara (MINURSO), United Nations Operation in Mozambique (ONUMOZ), United Nations Observer Mission in Liberia (UNOMIL), United Nations Observer Mission in Sierra Leone (UNOMSIL) and United Nations Mission in Sierra Leone (UNAMSIL).

At the moment, 38 Chinese military observers are still serving with UNTSO, UNIKOM, MINURSO and UNAMSIL. In January 2000, at the request of the United Nations, the Chinese government dispatched 15 civilian policemen to the United Nations Transitional Authority in East Timor, the first time for China to send civilian policemen to UN peace-keeping operations. In addition, the Chinese government has continued to take part in the UN's stand-by arrangements.

Meanwhile, four Chinese have laid down their lives, and dozens have been wounded in UN peace-keeping operations in order to support the United Nations in fulfilling the mission entrusted to it by the UN Charter.