Plenum focus on national security

By Shen Dingli
0 Comment(s)Print E-mail China Daily, November 27, 2013
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China will set up a State security committee to improve systems and strategies to safeguard national security, according to the Communique and Decision of the Third Plenary Session of the 18th Communist Party of China Central Committee. This should be seen as a milestone in China's modernization drive.

Deepening reform and opening-up have greatly improved the livelihoods of the Chinese people and made the Chinese economy the engine of global economic growth. But despite that, China is still in the primary stage of socialism and will remain so for some time to come. Even in the great cause of improving people's livelihoods and realizing social transformation, China still has much to accomplish.

Therefore, the questions commanding China's attention are: How to bridge the gap between the actual levels of national development and people's expectations; how to improve the level of governance and ensure order and stability in society; and how to pursue harmonious coexistence with the rest of the world.

China's rapid rise, accompanied by its growing influence in the international community, has made it strong enough to safeguard its sovereignty and other core national interests. But the change in the global balance of power because of China's rapid rise has prompted traditional major powers to try and offset its influence in order to maintain the status quo. Sometimes the major powers' efforts jeopardize China's core national interests, complicating the international security landscape for the country.

Thus, it is time that China pursued institutional modernization in addition to its long quest of the "Four Modernizations", comprising agriculture, industry, national defense, and science and technology.

China has to realize comprehensive institutional modernization to expedite development on one hand and shore up national security on the other. The plenum's decision to form a central leading team for "comprehensively deepening reform" and to set up a State security committee is, therefore, an institutional breakthrough that will help the CPC establish foolproof coordination among different sectors to deepen reform in an all-round way and improve national security system and strategy.

But national security is no longer restricted to traditional concerns of national defense and military; it also includes the challenges that have emerged in the age of globalization such as economic and financial security, science and technology, ecology and the environment.

At this critical moment of China's peaceful rise, the CPC shoulders the historical responsibility of pooling the wisdom of the cross section of society, cementing consensus and materializing actions, which calls for a top-level design of national institution to effectively implement the national security strategy and optimize national resources. This is essential to let the rest of the world know that along with its own interests China also pursues the common interests of the human race.

National security can be broadly divided into domestic and international security, which are closely interwoven and can either contain or consolidate each other. If domestic stability helps maintain a country's security in the international environment, a favorable external environment helps facilitate its internal construction. Hence, the establishment of a State security committee provides institutional guarantee for the sound development of China's internal and external environments. Needless to say, the committee will play a key role in improving China's national security and strategy, and optimizing the allocation of resources for the purpose.

In fact, remarkable progress has been made in terms of institutional development since the founding of New China thanks to the establishment of an effective political system. China is advancing its modernization drive at a speed far beyond expectation.

On the economic front, China has already reached a development level which was supposed to be accomplished only by 2030, as estimated 10 years ago. Perhaps we can say that China will reach a development level by 2020 which many expected it to achieve only by 2040. Likewise, China is likely to reach an advanced development level by 2030, a level that it was expected to reach only by 2050.

The rapid development and bright prospect require China to accelerate its efforts for institutional building and strategic coherence, especially for the upgrade of the national security system and strategy. Based on the framework of the Security committee, authorities in charge of the country's national security should properly coordinate efforts in policymaking and implementation to give full play to their strategic wisdom.

China has been constantly consolidating its strategy and improving its governance. At this critical moment of modernization, China needs a grand security layout and institutional coordination among those in charge of its national security system. China's development resources are abundant overall but inadequate when on the per capita level. That is why we need to optimize the allocation of resources and make safeguarding national security our top priority. This is the legacy of the Third Plenary Session of the 18th CPC Central Committee, which will continue to demonstrate its historical significance in the years to come.

The author is a columnist with For more information please visit:

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