Chapter IX International Security Cooperation

Adhering to the purposes and principles of the UN Charter, China persists in developing friendly relations and strengthening cooperation with other countries on the basis of the Five Principles of Peaceful Co-existence, and devotes itself to promoting international security dialogues and cooperation of all forms.

Strategic Consultation and Dialogue

In recent years, China has intensified bilateral and multilateral strategic consultation and dialogues with countries concerned in security and defense fields which contribute to better mutual trust and mutual exchange and cooperation.

With the strengthening of the strategic and cooperative partnership between China and Russia, the two countries have established a senior-level meeting mechanism to exchange views on major issues. They have also held consultations on major strategic issues between relevant departments. In 2003, China and Russia conducted a number of vice-foreign-ministerial level consultations on the nuclear issue on the Korean Peninsula, the questions of Iraq and the Middle East, and other international, regional and bilateral issues of common concern. In 2004, the two countries held a counter-terrorism working group meeting and consultation on strategic stability at the vice-foreign-ministerial level. The two militaries established a consultation mechanism in 1997, and the General Staff headquarters of the two militaries held the seventh and eighth rounds of strategic consultations in 2003 and 2004 respectively.

China and the United States maintain consultations on non- proliferation, counter-terrorism, and bilateral military security cooperation. In the past two years, the two countries held three rounds of consultations at the vice-foreign-ministerial level on strategic security, multilateral arms control and non-proliferation, the sixth Defense Consultative Talk, the third and fourth counter-terrorism consultations, and the second financial counter-terrorism consultation. The military maritime and air safety working groups under the Military Maritime Consultative Agreement held the third and fourth meetings in Hawaii and Shanghai respectively.

China has conducted extensive strategic consultations and dialogues with other countries. China and France established the relationship of strategic dialogue in 1997, and have since held six rounds of such consultation. China and the United Kingdom held two rounds of strategic security dialogue in October 2003 and March 2004 respectively, and established the Sino-British strategic security dialogue mechanism. The Chinese Ministry of National Defense and its South African counterpart signed an agreement on the establishment of a defense commission in April 2003. The Seventh Sino-Australian Defense Strategic Consultation was held in October of the same year. The two militaries of China and Germany held their second round of strategic consultation in July 2004. China has also held fruitful security consultations and dialogues respectively with Canada, Mexico, Italy, Poland, New Zealand and other countries.

China attaches importance to security consultations with its neighboring countries. China and Pakistan held their second defense and security consultation in July 2003. The defense ministries of China and Thailand held their second defense security consultation in September of the same year. The Chinese Ministry of National Defense and Japanese Defense Agency held their fourth and fifth security consultations respectively in January and October 2004. In April this year, China and Mongolia held their first defense and security consultation. In September, the Chinese Ministry of National Defense held the second strategic consultations respectively with its counterparts of Kyrgyzstan and Kazakhstan. In October this year, China and Australia held their eighth Defense Strategic Dialogue, and the Chinese Ministry of National Defense held the third security consultation with its Thailand counterpart.

Regional Security Cooperation

China pursues a foreign policy of building a good-neighbor relationship and partnership with its neighbors, trying to create an amicable, secure and prosperous neighborhood, and vigorously pushing forward the building of a security dialogue and cooperation mechanism in the Asia-Pacific region.

Since its establishment more than three years ago, the Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO) has been evolving into an important mechanism for promoting regional security, stability and development. It has set up a relatively complete organizational structure and laid a sound legal basis, and successfully initiated cooperation in security, economic and other fields. The Shanghai Convention on Combating Terrorism, Separatism and Extremism and the Agreement of State Parties of the Shanghai Cooperation Organization on the Regional Counter-terrorism Agency took effect in 2003. In pursuance of the convention and agreement, the SCO held meetings of chief procurators and ministers of defense, and conducted joint counter-terrorism military exercises. The SCO Secretariat and regional counter-terrorism agency were formally inaugurated in Beijing and Tashkent in January 2004. The Tashkent Summit Meeting of the SCO signed the Tashkent Declaration and the Agreement on Cooperation in Combating Illegal Turnover of Narcotic and Psychotropic Substances and the Precursors Thereof in June 2004. The SCO also set up the mechanism of regular meetings between security committee secretaries of its member states to strengthen security and cooperation.

China attaches great importance to the role of the ASEAN Regional Forum (ARF), and is devoted to its sound development. At the 11th ARF Foreign Ministers' Meeting in 2004, China proposed the following initiatives for the future development of ARF: to maintain its forum nature and adhere to the basic principles of decision-making through consensus, taking an incremental approach, and moving at a pace comfortable to all members so as to encourage the initiative and active participation of all members; to continuously strengthen and consolidate confidence-building measures (CBMs) while actively addressing the issue of preventive diplomacy, so as to gradually find out cooperative methods and approaches for preventive diplomacy that are suitable to the region and fitting the current needs; to increase participation of defense officials, promote exchanges and cooperation among militaries of the countries concerned and give full play to the important role of the militaries in enhancing mutual trust; to highlight cooperation in non-traditional security fields such as counter-terrorism and combating transnational crimes. As its co-chairmen, China and Myanmar hosted two intersessions in Beijing and Rangoon respectively on CBMs for the 2003-2004 Forum. China hosted the ARF Workshop on Drug-Substitute Alternative Development in September 2004 in Kunming, Yunnan Province, and the ARF Conference on Security Policies in November 2004.

In October 2003, the leaders of China, Japan and the Republic of Korea held their fifth meeting, and issued the Joint Declaration on the Promotion of Tripartite Cooperation Among the People's Republic of China, Japan and the Republic of Korea, which confirmed that the three countries would work together to intensify security dialogues and extend exchanges among defense and military officials in East Asia, and strengthen cooperation in the fields of disarmament and non-proliferation, and the realization of a nuclear-free Korean Peninsula.

Cooperation in Non-Traditional Security Fields

China attaches great importance to security cooperation in the non-traditional security fields with other countries, maintaining that in jointly combating non-traditional security threats, it is imperative to address both the symptoms and root causes and to adopt comprehensive measures.

Cooperation in non-traditional security fields within the frameworks of ASEAN and China (10 + 1) and ASEAN and China, Japan and the Republic of Korea (10 + 3) has developed gradually in recent years. In November 2002, leaders of China and ASEAN signed the Joint Declaration Between China and ASEAN on Cooperation in Non-Traditional Security Fields. In April 2003, leaders of China and ASEAN held a special meeting in Bangkok, Thailand, on SARS and issued a joint declaration. In January 2004, the two sides signed the Memorandum of Understanding Between China and ASEAN on Cooperation in Non-Traditional Security Fields. China initiated and participated in the first ministerial meeting between ASEAN and China, Japan and the Republic of Korea on combating transnational crimes, held in Bangkok, Thailand, in January 2004, and submitted a concept paper. The meeting agreed to set up a cooperation mechanism between ASEAN and China, Japan and the Republic of Korea for combating transnational crimes, and adopted the first Joint Communiqué of the ASEAN Plus Three Ministerial Meeting on Combating Transnational Crimes.

China continued to strengthen its international counter-terrorism cooperation. It supported the UN, particularly the Security Council in playing a leading role in this regard, and seriously implemented Security Council resolutions on counter-terrorism issues, as was shown by its reports to the Council on the implementation of Resolution No. 1373. It has actively supported and participated in the drafting of the Comprehensive Convention on International Terrorism and the International Convention on the Suppression of Nuclear Terrorism. In January 2003, China put forward four proposals on deepening international counter-terrorism cooperation at the foreign ministers' meeting of the UN Security Council on counter-terrorism. China also conducted exchanges and cooperation with Russia, the United States, Pakistan, India, the United Kingdom, France and Germany in this regard.

The PLA has taken an active part in cooperation in non-traditional security fields such as joint counter-terrorism, maritime search and rescue, combating piracy, and cracking down on drug production and trafficking. The ministers of defense of China, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Russia and Tajikistan signed the Memorandum of the Ministries of National Defense of the SCO Member Countries on Holding the "Joint-2003" Counter-terrorism Exercise in May 2003. The armed forces of the five countries successfully conducted the first multilateral counter-terrorism exercise in the vicinities of Ucharal in Kazakhstan and Yining in China's Xinjiang Uygur Autonomous Region within the framework of the SCO in August 2003. The armed forces of China and Pakistan conducted Friendship-2004, a joint counter-terrorism exercise, in the border area between the two countries in August 2004. The Chinese navy conducted joint maritime search-and-rescue exercises off the Chinese coast with visiting Pakistani navy in October and Indian navy in November 2003. It also held joint maritime search-and-rescue exercises with French navy in March, British navy in June, and Australian navy in October in 2004 in the Yellow Sea area.

Participating in UN Peacekeeping Operations

China has consistently supported and actively participated in the peacekeeping operations that are consistent with the spirit of the UN Charter. It maintains that the UN peacekeeping operations should abide by the purposes and principles of the UN Charter and other universally recognized principles governing peacekeeping operations. China will continue to support the reform of the UN peacekeeping missions, hoping to further strengthen the UN capability in preserving peace.

Since its first dispatch of military observers to the UN peacekeeping operations in 1990, China has sent 3,362 military personnel to 13 UN peacekeeping operations, including 785 military observers, 800 (in two batches) engineering personnel to Cambodia, 654 (in three batches) engineering and medical personnel to Congo (Kinshasa), 1,116 personnel in transportation, engineering and medical units to Liberia, and seven staff officers to the UN Department of Peacekeeping Operations. Since January 2000, China has sent 404 policemen to the peacekeeping operations in six UN peacekeeping task areas including East Timor. In 2004, China has sent 59 policemen to East Timor, Liberia, Afghanistan, Kosovo of Serbia-Herzegovina and Haiti, and a 125-member organic police detachment to Haiti to serve with MINUSTAH at the request of the UN. In the past 14 years, six Chinese servicemen lost their lives and dozens wounded in UN peacekeeping operations.

At present, 845 PLA personnel are working in eight UN peacekeeping task areas. They included 66 military observers, an engineering unit of 175 personnel and a medical unit of 43 personnel in Congo (Kinshasa), an engineering unit of 275 personnel, a transportation unit of 240 personnel and a medical unit of 43 personnel in Liberia, and three staff officers at the UN Department of Peacekeeping Operations.

Military Exchanges

The PLA conducts active military exchanges and cooperation with militaries of other countries, and has created a military diplomacy that is all-directional, multi-tiered and wide-ranging.

China has established military relations with more than 150 countries in the world. It has set up over 100 military attaché's offices in its embassies abroad, and 85 countries have set up military attaché's offices in China. Over the past two years, the PLA has sent high-level military delegations to over 60 countries, and played host to over 130 delegations of military leaders from over 70 countries. The military-to-military relations between China and Russia continued to strengthen and develop. The Chinese Minister of National Defense visited the United States in October 2003, the first such visit in seven years. The Director General of the Japanese Defense Agency visited China in May 2003, after an interval of five years. The Indian and Chinese ministers of defense exchanged visits in April 2003 and March 2004 respectively, the first of its kind in many years. Meanwhile, military exchanges between China and European countries developed in depth. China also strengthened military relations with its surrounding countries, extended military exchanges with other developing countries, and continued to provide militaries of some countries such assistance as personnel training, equipment, logistical materials and medical treatment.

In October 2003, the PLA invited for the first time military observers from 15 countries to observe the joint exercise Northern Sword-0308U organized by the Beijing Military Area Command. In September 2004, it invited observers from foreign militaries to watch Exercise Dragon-2004 organized by the Chinese navy. In the same month, military leaders or observers from 16 neighboring countries and their military attachés stationed in China were invited to observe Exercise Iron Fist-2004 organized by the Jinan Military Area Command. In June 2004, China invited foreign naval attachés from 15 foreign embassies in China to observe a Sino-British joint maritime search-and-rescue exercise. Besides, the PLA sent delegations to observe military exercises in Russia and Japan, as well as joint military exercise by the United States, Thailand and Singapore. From October to November 2003, Chinese naval ships paid friendly visits to the US territory of Guam, Brunei and Singapore. Meanwhile, naval ships from the United Kingdom, Russia, the United States, Pakistan, India, France, Indonesia and other countries visited China. The PLA pursued active military academic exchanges with foreign militaries. The PLA Academy of Military Science and other Chinese research institutions had extensive academic exchanges with scientific research institutions of other countries. The PLA increased the number of military students sent abroad and received more overseas military students in China. In recent years, it has sent over 1,000 military students to more than 20 countries, and 19 military colleges and universities in China have established inter-collegiate exchange relations with their counterparts in 25 countries, including the United States and Russia. Over the past two years, 1,245 military personnel from 91 countries have come to study in Chinese military colleges and universities, and officers from 44 of these countries have participated in the fifth and sixth International Symposium Course hosted by the PLA National Defense University.