National Defense Policy
China persists in taking the road of peaceful development and unswervingly pursues a national defense policy defensive in nature. China's national defense is the security guarantee for the survival and development of the nation. The main tasks of China's national defense are to step up modernization of its national defense and its armed forces, safeguard national security and unity, and ensure the smooth process of building a moderately prosperous society in an all-round way.
Proceeding from the fundamental interests of the country, China's national defense policy is both subordinated to and in service of the country's development and security strategies. China's basic goals and tasks in maintaining national security are: to stop separation and promote reunification, guard against and resist aggression, and defend national sovereignty, territorial integrity and maritime rights and interests; to safeguard the interests of national development, promote economic and social development in an all-round, coordinated and sustainable way and steadily increase the overall national strength; to modernize China's national defense in line with both the national conditions of China and the trend of military development in the world by adhering to the policy of coordinating military and economic development, and improve the operational capabilities of self-defense under the conditions of informationalization; to safeguard the political, economic and cultural rights and interests of the Chinese people, crack down on criminal activities of all sorts and maintain public order and social stability; and to pursue an independent foreign policy of peace and adhere to the new security concept featuring mutual trust, mutual benefit, equality and coordination with a view to securing a long-term and favorable international and surrounding environment.
China adheres to the military strategy of active defense. It has been the established policy to build a streamlined military with Chinese characteristics. Since the mid-1980s, China has twice downsized its military by a total of 1.5 million. In September 2003, the Chinese Government decided to further reduce 200,000 troops by the end of 2005 to maintain the size of the People's Liberation Army (PLA) at 2.3 million. The cut has been finished as scheduled.
In line with the national foreign policy, the PLA conducts military cooperation that is non-aligned, non-confrontational and not directed against any third party. The PLA takes part in UN peacekeeping operations and international counter-terrorism cooperation. While promoting military exchanges in various forms, it is involved in bilateral or multilateral joint military exercises in non-traditional security fields. The PLA also learns from and draws on the valuable experience of foreign armed forces, and introduces, on a selective basis, technologically advanced equipment and better management expertise from abroad to advance its modernization.