I. The Security Situation

The international situation is undergoing profound changes as the world has entered the new century. World multi-polarization and economic globalization are developing amid twists and turns. Science and technology are advancing with each passing day. Competition in the overall national strength has become increasingly fierce. And mankind is faced with new opportunities for development and new challenges.

Peace and development remain the themes of the present era. Economic interdependence among nations has been deepened. The role played by global and regional economic cooperation organizations is on the increase. And economic security has been given even more attention. Economic development, scientific and technological progress, and the enhancement of overall national strength are the main strategic trends of all countries. The major countries, while cooperating and seeking support from each other, are nonetheless checking on and competing with one another. But since the terrorist attacks against the United States on September 11, 2001, they have stepped up their coordination and cooperation. The developing countries are actively pushing forward the establishment of a fair and rational new international order, and playing an important role in the promotion of world peace and development. A new world war is unlikely in the foreseeable future. To preserve peace and promote development represents the common aspiration of all peoples.

The Asia-Pacific region has, on the whole, continued to enjoy its peace and stability, and remains the most dynamic region economically with the greatest development potential in the world. Strengthening dialogue and cooperation, maintaining regional stability and promoting common development have become the mainstream policy of the Asian countries. The Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) is heading for closer cooperation. The cooperation in East Asia with the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) and China, Japan and the Republic of Korea (10 + 3) as the major channel, has become more practical. China and ASEAN have reached a consensus on the establishment of a free trade area within 10 years, initiating full cooperation in the field of non-traditional security issues. Cooperation for the development of the Mekong River valley is about to unfold. The ASEAN Regional Forum has made substantive achievements in the transition from confidence-building measures to preventive diplomacy. The Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO) has made outstanding progress in building mutual trust and developing state-to-state relationship based on partnership rather than alliance, as well as in anti-terrorism cooperation. The reconstruction of Afghanistan is under way. The situation in the South China Sea area has been basically stable, as the relevant countries have signed the Declaration on the Conduct of Parties in the South China Sea.

However, uncertainties impeding peace and development are also on the increase. The world is far from being tranquil. The old international political and economic order, which is unfair and irrational, has yet to be changed fundamentally. Economic development of the world is materially unbalanced, and the North-South gap is further widening. The developing countries have gained less from the economic globalization process, and some of them are in danger of being marginalized. Democracy in international relations remains elusive, and there are new manifestations of hegemonism and power politics. In certain regions, disputes caused by ethnic, religious, territorial, resources or other issues crop up from time to time, leading even to armed conflicts and local wars. Terrorism, transnational crimes, environmental degradation, drug trafficking and other non-traditional security threats are becoming more and more pronounced. Terrorism, in particular, is posing a real threat to both global and regional security.

Rapid and drastic changes are taking place in the military field around the world, and a new serious disequilibrium has occurred in the balance of military power. The extensive applications in the military field of new and high technologies led by IT have stretched the battlefield into multidimensional space which includes the land, sea, air, outer space and electron. Medium- and long-distance precision strikes have become an important pattern of operations. The form of war is becoming increasingly information-oriented. All major countries have made adjustments in their military strategies and stepped up the modernization by relying on high technologies. As far as military technology is concerned, the gap between the developed and developing countries is wider than ever before. The developing countries are facing a serious challenge in their effort to safeguard sovereignty and security.

Factors of instability still exist in the Asia-Pacific region. Traditional security problems left over from history are yet to be resolved, and new ones have appeared. In certain countries, non-traditional security issues are looming large. The danger posed by terrorist, separatist and extremist forces to the region’s security cannot be rooted out in a short time. Tension in South Asia has not been fundamentally changed. Afghanistan has not regained full stability. Reconciliation on the Korean Peninsula is moving haltingly. Certain countries are stepping up their military deployment and strengthening their military alliances in the Asia-Pacific region. Other countries have time and again enlarged the terms of reference and scope of operations of their armed forces.

The basic pattern and trend of development in the cross-Taiwan Straits relationship remain unchanged. As the Taiwan compatriots are more vocal in their demand for peace, tranquility and development, cross-Straits economic, trade, cultural and personnel exchanges have become more frequent, and the opening of three direct links in mail, air and shipping, and trade between the two sides represents the popular will and the trend of the times. But the root cause of tension between the two sides has not been eliminated. While refusing to accept the one-China principle, and stubbornly clinging to the position of “Taiwan independence,” the leader of Taiwan has even gone so far as to dish up the separatist proposition of “one country on each side,” and carried out all sorts of separatist moves with an incremental tactic. The Taiwan separatist force is the biggest threat to peace and stability in the Taiwan Straits. By continuing to sell weapons and military equipment to Taiwan and elevating relations with the Taiwan authorities, a handful of countries have interfered in China’s internal affairs, inflated the arrogance of the separatist forces and undermined China’s peaceful reunification.

Threats to world security have come in multiple forms and assumed global dimension, which has increased the common interests of countries on the issue of security. To enhance mutual trust through dialogue, to promote common security through cooperation, and to cultivate a new security concept featuring mutual trust, mutual benefit, equality and cooperation, have become the requirements of the trend of our era. China is always a staunch force for safeguarding world peace and promoting common development. China will unremittingly put the new security concept into practice, oppose all kinds of hegemonism and power politics, and combat terrorism in all forms and manifestations. China will strive, together with other countries in the world, to create an international environment of long-term peace, stability and security.