A team of the Chinese People's Liberation Army (PLA) Ground Force attends the opening ceremony of the International Army Games 2018 in Korla, northwest China's Xinjiang Uygur autonomous region, July 29, 2018. (XUE YU / XINHUA)
BEIJING — China says it will never seek hegemony, expansion or spheres of influence in its latest white paper on national defense issued Wednesday.
"This is the distinctive feature of China's national defense in the new era," reads the white paper released by the State Council Information Office.
Titled "China's National Defense in the New Era," the white paper expounded on the country's defensive national defense policy and explained the practice, purposes and significance of China's efforts to build a fortified national defense and a strong military.
The 27,000-character white paper is the 10th of its kind since 1998, and the first comprehensive one since the 18th National Congress of the Communist Party of China in 2012.
The fundamental goal of China's national defense in the new era is to resolutely safeguard China's sovereignty, security and development interests, the white paper noted
China pursues a national defense policy that is defensive in nature, which is determined by its socialist system, strategic decision to follow the path of peaceful development, independent foreign policy of peace and cultural traditions, according to the white paper.
The fundamental goal of China's national defense in the new era is to resolutely safeguard China's sovereignty, security and development interests, it noted.
"China firmly believes that hegemony and expansion are doomed to failure, and security and prosperity shall be shared," reads the white paper.
The white paper shows the transparency of China's strategic intentions, and will help reassure countries worrying about China's development and shatter the fabricated "China threat theory," said Shi Qingren, an associate research fellow with the Academy of Military Sciences (AMS).
China's defense expenditure is reasonable and appropriate, according to the white paper.
Defense expenditure as a percentage of GDP has fallen from 5.43 percent in 1979 to 1.26 percent in 2017. It has remained below 2 percent for the past three decades.
The fact that China's defense expenditure ranks second in the world is determined by the demands of its national defense, the size of its economy, and the defensive nature of its national defense policy, according to the white paper.
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From 2012 to 2017, China's average defense expenditure, as a percentage of GDP, was about 1.3 percent, ranking the lowest among the permanent members of the UN Security Council.
In step with national economic development, China's defense expenditure will maintain moderate and steady growth, according to the white paper.
In this undated photo, China's People's Liberation Army Air Force troops conduct training for the upcoming Airborne Platoon contest at the International Army Games 2019 in Pskov Oblast, Russia. (PHOTO PROVIDED TO CHINADAILY.COM.CN)
The white paper disclosed information about the People's Liberation Army Djibouti Support Base, the organization of different services of the armed forces, details on the deployment of cutting-edge weaponry and equipment, as well as the building of infrastructure and deployment of necessary defensive capabilities on the islands and reefs in the South China Sea.
By addressing those hot issues, the Chinese armed forces have shown their frankness and self-confidence, said Deng Bibo, also an AMS associate research fellow.
Concrete facts, figures and tables have given more information to the readers and enhanced the white paper's transparency and cogency, according to AMS researcher Cao Yanzhong.
A strong military of China is a staunch force for world peace, stability and the building of a community with a shared future for mankind.
White paper on China's national defense
World peace promoter
The white paper proposed for the first time that actively contributing to the building of a community with a shared future for mankind is the global significance of China's national defense in the new era.
"Peace, stability and prosperity in China present opportunities and benefits to the rest of the world," reads the white paper. "A strong military of China is a staunch force for world peace, stability and the building of a community with a shared future for mankind."
China's armed forces have provided a number of public security goods to the international community to the best of their capacity, including the UN peacekeeping operations, vessel protection operations, international efforts in humanitarian assistance and disaster relief.
Committed to the principle of win-win cooperation, China's armed forces will fulfill their international responsibilities and obligations, according to the white paper.
A news conference is held on the white paper, titled "China's National Defense in the New Era", July 24, 2019. (ZHU XINGXIN / CHINADAILY.COM.CN)
Taiwan separatists a 'grave threat'
Taiwan separatists and their activities are the "gravest immediate threat" to peace and stability in the Taiwan Straits and the "biggest barrier" to the peaceful reunification of the country, according to the white paper.
The Taiwan authorities, led by the Democratic Progressive Party, have "stubbornly" pursued independence and refused to recognize the 1992 Consensus that embodies the one-China principle.
"We make no promise to renounce the use of force, and reserve the option of taking all necessary measures," reads the white paper. "This is by no means targeted at our compatriots in Taiwan, but at external interference forces and the very small number of Taiwan separatists and their activities."
The white paper gave outer space and cyberspace the same weight as the nuclear force in China's national security, calling them "the major security fields"
Noncombatants in Chinese military almost halved
Nearly half the noncombatant jobs in the military have been abolished and about 25 percent of office posts at military units above the regiment level have been shed.
Military organizations involved in artistic performance, sports, news services, publication, and medical and research bodies have been dismantled or simplified, according to the white paper.
The military had fulfilled its goal of reducing its troops by 300,000, and now maintained an active force of 2 million troops, it showed.
Outer space, cyberspace security emphasized
The white paper gave outer space and cyberspace the same weight as the nuclear force in China's national security, calling them "the major security fields".
With its goal of developing outer space for peaceful purposes, China actively took part in international cooperation in outer space, according to the white paper.
It listed cyberspace security as a "key area for national security, economic growth and social development" and said China is facing severe security threats from cyberspace.
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