White paper aims at PLA transparency

Source:Global Times Published: 2015-5-26 23:48:01

China on Tuesday issued its first white paper on military strategy. Presenting the concept of "areas crucially related to overseas interests," the white paper highlights four critical security domains, including the ocean, outer space, cyberspace and nuclear warfare, while stressing the significance of maritime warfare preparation. This is the ninth defense white paper and a new endeavor China has made to usher in greater military transparency. However, as it comes at a sensitive time when China and the US have been locked in a spat over the South China Sea issue, the white paper spurred exciting interpretations at home and abroad.

Chinese public opinion pays much heed to words that will help boost morale while the Western media are fixated on the "China threat" theory, putting the paper under the magnifying glass.

Military strategy is a part of the national strategy. It is designed to safeguard the latter and deal with the worst-case scenario. China's national strategy is aimed at sticking to a peaceful development path and realizing a peaceful rise against a backdrop where traditional geopolitical concepts still prevail. The country's moderate national strategy decides the defensive nature of its military strategy.

With the rapid development of China and the expansion of its interests across the globe, Beijing has to develop multidimensional defense and move its defense fronts forward. Therefore, the white paper adopts "active defense," a strategy thoroughly different from an offensive one.

China is militarily cautious and restrained. Calls for a focus on the ocean emerged 30 years ago but it didn't become a part of military strategy until the last few years. As glaring as its military spending growth rate is, China's military capability has not exceeded the minimum security demands of the second biggest economy in the world.

All rising powers need strategic space. Different from emerging powers in the past, China has been trying hard to avoid a zero-sum game and achieving win-win situations has become the underlining concern of China's strategy. We have been well aware that if the expansion of China squeezes the strategic space of others, the peaceful rise of China is unlikely to reach and conflicts will be unavoidable. Therefore, China must realize strategic breakthroughs through win-win solutions.

Are the US and Japan willing to achieve win-win with China? There is no proof that China's expanding construction on reefs and islets of the Nansha Islands is aimed at excluding US influence from the region, but the US, hopping mad about China's legitimate action, has clamored to hold China back. If the US perceives China's rise with such strategic thinking, the bilateral relationship in the 21st century will be shrouded in shadow. 

The white paper makes China's military more transparent. We hope this will help promote communication between China and the US.

Posted in: Editorial

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