II. National Defense Policy
Strengthening national defense is a strategic task in China’s modernization drive, and a key guarantee for safeguarding China’s security and unity and building a well-off society in an all-round way. China has consistently pursued a national defense policy that is defensive in nature.
The fundamental basis for the formulation of China’s national defense policy is China’s national interests. It primarily includes: safeguarding state sovereignty, unity, territorial integrity and security; upholding economic development as the central task and unremittingly enhancing the overall national strength; adhering to and improving the socialist system; maintaining and promoting social stability and harmony; and striving for an international environment of lasting peace and a favorable climate in China’s periphery. China takes all measures necessary to safeguard its national interests and, at the same time, respects the interests of other countries, standing for peaceful settlement of disputes and differences among nations by means of consultation.
The goals and tasks of China’s national defense are, in the main, as follows:
— To consolidate national defense, prevent and resist aggression. China’s territorial land, inland waters, territorial seas and territorial airspace are inviolable. In accordance with the requirements of national defense in the new situation, China persists in unified leadership over national defense activities, pursues the principle of independence and self-defense by the whole people, implements the military strategy of active defense, strengthens the building of its armed forces and that of its frontier defense, sea defense and air defense, takes effective defensive and administrative measures to defend national security and safeguard its maritime rights and interests. In the event of aggressions, China will resolutely resist in accordance with the Constitution and laws.
— To stop separation and realize complete unification of the motherland. China is a unitary multi-ethnic country jointly created by its people of all ethnic groups. The Chinese government forbids discrimination and oppression against any ethnic group, as well as any act aimed at undermining ethnic harmony and splitting the country. Taiwan is an inalienable part of China. The Chinese government will, in keeping with the basic principles of “peaceful reunification” and “one country, two systems” and the eight-point proposal on developing cross-Straits relations and advancing the process of peaceful national reunification at the present stage, strive for prospects of peaceful reunification with the utmost sincerity and the maximum effort. But it will not forswear the use of force. China resolutely opposes arms sales to Taiwan or entering into a military alliance in any form with Taiwan by any country. China’s armed forces will unswervingly defend the country’s sovereignty and unity, and have the resolve as well as the capability to check any separatist act.
— To stop armed subversion and safeguard social stability. China’s Constitution and laws prohibit any organization or individual from organizing, plotting or carrying out armed rebellion or riot to subvert the state power or overthrow the socialist system. China opposes all forms of terrorism, separatism and extremism. Regarding maintenance of public order and social stability in accordance with the law as their important duty, the Chinese armed forces will strike hard at terrorist activities of any kind, crush infiltration and sabotaging activities by hostile forces, and crack down on all criminal activities that threaten public order, so as to promote social stability and harmony.
— To accelerate national defense development and achieve national defense and military modernization. China follows an approach of coordinating national defense building and economic development, striving for a high cost-effectiveness and promoting defense and military modernization on the basis of economic growth. Taking Mao Zedong’s military thinking and Deng Xiaoping’s thinking on armed forces building in the new period as the guide to action, and fully implementing the important thought of the “Three Represents (The Communist Party of China must always represent the requirements of the development of China’s advanced productive forces, the orientation of the development of China’s advanced culture, and the fundamental interests of the overwhelming majority of the people in China.),” the Chinese military persists in taking the road of fewer but better troops with Chinese characteristics, pushes forward the various reforms in response to the trend in military changes in the world, and strives to accomplish the historical tasks of mechanization and IT application, thereby bringing about leapfrog development in the modernization of the military.
— To safeguard world peace and oppose aggression and expansion. China will never seek hegemony, nor will it join any military bloc or crave for any sphere of influence. China opposes policies of war, aggression and expansion, stands against arms race and supports efforts of the international community to solve international disputes in a fair and reasonable manner. It endorses all activities conducive to maintaining the global strategic balance and stability, and actively participates in international cooperation against terrorism.
China implements a military strategy of active defense. Strategically, China pursues a principle featuring defensive operations, self-defense and attack only after being attacked. In response to the profound changes in the world’s military field and the requirements of the national development strategy, China has formulated a military strategic guideline of active defense in the new period.
This guideline is based on winning local wars under modern, especially high-tech conditions. In view of the various factors threatening national security, China has prepared for defensive operation under the most difficult and complex circumstances. The People’s Liberation Army ( PLA), in implementing the strategy of building a strong military through science and technology, has accelerated the R&D of defense weaponry and equipment, trained high-quality military personnel of a new type, established a scientific organizational structure, developed theories for military operations with Chinese characteristics, and strengthened its capability for joint, mobile and multi-purpose operations.
This guideline stresses the deterrence of war. In accordance with the needs of the national development strategy, the PLA, by employing military means flexibly and in close coordination with political, economic and diplomatic endeavors, improves China’s strategic environment, reduces factors of insecurity and instability, and prevents local wars and armed conflicts so as to keep the country from the harm of war. China consistently upholds the policy of no first use of nuclear weapons, and adopts an extremely restrained attitude toward the development of nuclear weapons. China has never participated in any nuclear arms race and never deployed nuclear weapons abroad. China’s limited nuclear counterattack ability is entirely for deterrence against possible nuclear attacks by other countries.
This guideline highlights and carries forward the concept of people’s war. In the face of new changes in modern warfare, China persists in relying on the people in national defense building, enhancing the popular awareness of national defense, and instituting an armed force system of combining a small but capable standing army with a powerful reserve force; upholds the principle of combining peacetime footing with wartime footing, uniting the army with the people, and having a reserve among the people, improving the mobilization mechanism with expanded mobilization scope, and establishing a national defense mobilization system in line with the requirements of modern warfare; and adheres to flexible applications of strategies and tactics, creating new ways of fighting so as to give fuller play to the strength of a people’s war.