On "Annual Report on Military Power of the People's Republic of China" by the U.S Defense Department (I)

PLA Daily 2003-09-09

President Bush said in his address delivered in Tsinghua University last year that China was one of the most dynamic and creative countries in the world and the U.S. welcomed the emergence of a strong, peaceful and prosperous China. In the meetings with leaders of China, President Bush stressed that a fine Sino-U.S. relations was not only important to the security and interest of the U.S., but also had a far-reaching effect on the Asia-Pacific region and the world as a whole. In the past two years, Sino-U.S. relations generally developed smoothly, and enjoyed the best time (Powell, the U.S. Secretary of State). China seeks after a stable Sino-U.S. relations and promotes energetically the regional and global peace. However, the Annual Report on Military power of the People's Republic of China released by the U.S. Defense Department (hereafter refers to as Report) reveals some information conflicting the mainstream of the Sino-U.S relation.

Misrepresenting the strategic objectives and defense policies of China

On the strategic cogitation, the U.S. positions China as a state of "emerging with uncertain development direction and challenge the Asia-Pacific objective and interest," therefore, the U.S. should keep high alert to the direction of China's development. In the light of this cogitation, the «Report» of this year is still bearing the outworn and conventional color of the previous two «Reports» and full of suspicion and prejudice. When analyzing the future strategic objectives of China, the «Report» regards the promotion of comprehensive national strength and strategic structure as two major objectives of China, and especially mentions that a economic powerful China "could allocate its resources far a favorable 'strategic configuration of power'", implying that China is not content with the current situation, will seek for strategic interests in a larger scale, especially expanding to the maritime strategic passages controlled by the U.S. and will continue to seek opportunities to diminish U.S. regional influence, thus challenging the strategic structure dominated by the U.S.. In fact, since pursuing the policy of opening up and reform, China has always been giving priority to economic development and improving the living standard of the people. China has neither political intention nor the military strength to expand. The Malaysia Premier put it explicitly "the Asian countries don't have to be afraid of the ever-increasing military and economic strength, for China has no tradition to conquer the other countries."

When commenting on the security and military objectives of China, the «Report» does not unscramble the comprehensive and austere neighboring security situation and security strategic objectives from a developing point of view and from the aspect of international strategic situation. When explaining the reason why China gives priority to the core objective of state unification, it biasedly believes that " perhaps most importantly, challenges to the CCP's legitimacy." The explanation narrowed and simplified the security interest of China with an intention of generalizing it politically, indicates that the U.S. still possesses the rooted ideological color when reading China.

In fact, the scale of China's security interest is much broader than what the U.S. has shown its concern. When defining the strategic objectives, China not only considers the ever-changing international situation, but includes the traditional or non-traditional, the real or potential threats including the emerging terrorism, splittism, extremism, the proliferation of weapons of mass destruction, international crimes, drug trafficking and AIDS. When analysing the security strategic objectives, the «Report» plays down the above-mentioned threats especially the threat of terrorism, indicating that the U.S. only uses single factors to analyse a power, which has exposed the dishonest and inaccurate intention of the report, which in return leads to the biased concept and the inconvincible conclusion.

The «Report» believes that, China follows the practice of ambiguity in the field of security and military strategy and intentionally drum-plays the long-term objectives and hides the real strategic objectives. The «Report» specially mentions the tendency and intention of China's nuclear development and the trend of militarization of the outer space, then questions the defense policy of China. The «Report» argues that, the principle of defensive military strategy is "not inherently passive or defensive" and "may not be perceived by others as benign and peaceful". In fact, as a large developing country, China's first military strategy is to safeguard the security of the state and create a peaceful environment to develop economy. China sticks to the policy that army building should serve and obey the objectives of economic development. China pursues independent and peaceful foreign policy, positively dedicates to the global peace all the times. China neither seeks to lead the world nor plays a role as regional hegemony. From the military perspective, China pursues peaceful defense policy, has made positive efforts to promote the global disarmament and prevent the proliferation of weapons of mass destruction, strives to promote stable neighboring security environment and global environment and will not pose any threat to the countries friendly to China.

Exaggerating China's military power

The «Report» has given a full account of Chinese military power in every aspect, from theory of operation and training to management and command control, from conventional forces to strategic forces, from the present armament of all forces to various modern weapons. Though the «Report» admitted "little is known about the most significant aspects of Chinese military power", it has conveyed a clear message between the lines, that is, China is rapidly strengthening its military power, becoming a severe challenge to Taiwan, U.S. and their allies. By exaggerating the threat of Chinese military power, the «Report» was covered with the shadow of "China Threat".

The «Report» stated that though the military expenditure of China in 2002 was publicly announced as $20 billion, the actual amount could be $65 billion, "making China the second largest defense spender in the world after the United States", and "the largest defense spender in Asia". Moreover, it made a bold prediction that annual spending could increase in real terms three- to four-folds by 2020. The reason for their extravagant overstating the military expenditure of China is "most defense modernization spending occurs outside the public PLA budget". We admit that in the light of the military reform and construction, Chinese military expenditure has increased to some degree, but it still remained at a very low level. In 2002, the military expenditure of China was 169.4 billion RMB yuan, that is 1.6% of its GNP, while U.S. reached 3.5% of its GNP. If it was $65 billion, as the «Reported» predicted, the Chinese military expenditure would take up 5.4% of its GNP and 29% of its national fiscal revenue. No country in the world today can afford such a proportion. If China had spent so much money on military modernization, how could we "focus on the central task of economic construction", and how could the Chinese economy keep the fastest annual growth speed in world economy? Only a little unbiased analysis will show that, such an assumption will not stand.

The report has given a lengthy and tedious account about the status of various armed forces of China involving in developing a large number of new weapons. It has also given a detailed introduction of Russian selling weapons and transferring technology to China, exaggerating the latest developing level of Chinese armament, and suggesting that the modernization of China has become a threat to international community. Actually, the general armament of the PLA cannot satisfy the combating demand, not to say to be compared with other military powers that are leading world new military changes. Can we say the armament of a country that needs to import high-tech weapons from other military powers has become a threat to international community? The American Foreign Affairs Society admitted in an evaluation report this May, "in military technology and capacity, Chinese military power lags behind the U.S. at least 20 years." The International Crisis Group also pointed out in "Taiwan Strait Conflict Evaluation Report" released this June, "the weapons Taiwan imported has obviously surpassed that of the mainland of China". In fact, the American military forces knew clearly that there is still a large gap between the military power of China and the U.S. However, for some hidden purpose, they were just exaggerating it intentionally.

The ultimate goal of the U.S. to exaggerate military expenditure and armament is to draw the conclusion that the military power of China has become a threat or challenge to its neighboring region and the world. Military modernization is a normal pursuit of every nation for defending their security. No country will give up its military power by itself, or take no action, disregarding various security threats it is faced with. The U.S. is the No. 1 military power in the world today, with unparallel military forces. Despite that, it is still increasing military expenditure with a large scale to enhance its armament technology continuously. China, as a vast country, is faced with various complex securing threats. To maintain national security and territorial integrity, China has every right to increase military expenditure, improve armament and carrie out military modernization for self-defense and that cannot be reproached.

On "Annual Report on Military Power of the People's Republic of China" by the U.S Defense Department (II)

PLA Daily 2003-09-010

Creating excuses to promote its Taiwan arms sales

It goes without saying that one of the main objectives the Department of Defense of the U.S. is to sell arms to Taiwan and guarantee the strategic interest of the U.S. in Asia-Pacific Region. For a long time, many Americans take Taiwan as one strategic approach to constrain the emergence of China and regard it as the key to realize the strategic interest of the U.S. in Asia-Pacific Region to maintain the current situation of split of the two sides along Taiwan Straits.

Since the first Annual Report on the Military Power of the People's Republic of China released in 2000, the "Mainland Threat" has become its keynote. This year's «Report» is attempted to leave a clear image under the cover of remarks that seem to be objective, that is the power of the mainland is on an upper hand compared with that of Taiwan. The Report plays up purposely such talks as "Mainland Threat", "Taiwan in Danger" and "the strategic interest of the U.S. in East Asia is in danger". The real purpose is no other than to create excuses to maintain the current situation along the Taiwan Straits and sell arms to Taiwan again by means of exaggerating the danger along Taiwan Strait so as to create the impression to the Congress, the public of the U.S. and Taiwan. that the possibility of a crisis and the threat of the mainland to conquer Taiwan has increased.

An outstanding feature of the «Report» is to exaggerate the missile threat of the mainland continuously and to spread the Missile Threat. The «Report» says, "A surprise missile and air strike on Taiwan most likely would damage severely most of Taiwan's air bases, significantly degrading its land-based air defenses, let alone "the defense budget's steady decline as a percentage of total government spending increasingly will challenge Taiwan's force modernization". At present, "Taiwan's current ability to defend against ballistic missiles is negligible". Such kinds of talks are obviously to urge Taiwan to make up its mind to buy the "Patriot" (PAC-3) Surface to Air Missile of the U.S.. On the following day after the Pentagon released the «Report», the spokesman of the White House announced that the Bush Administration was ready to "practice the commitments in the Taiwan Relations Act (signed in 1979)" and sell arms to Taiwan so as to enable it to realize self-defense. Such performance leaves a strong impression that the related department of the U.S. has come to agreement privately to find a high-sounding excuse for annual Taiwan Arms Sales.

In order to paint the «Report» with a color of truth, the «Report» made painstaking selection and arrangement of the content and conducted "reasonable inference and image" to the modernization level of the PLA and the military situation of the Taiwan Straits and added some specious content, such as "the PRC's ambitious military modernization casts a cloud over its declared preference for resolving differences with Taiwan through peaceful means". What need to be pointed out is that the purpose of the «Report» is surreptitious to shift the responsibilities of the conflict along Taiwan Straits to the mainland. In fact, the Taiwan Independence force constantly defies on the relations along Taiwan Strait on the basis of political operation. So the real root of Taiwan crisis is Taiwan Independence force.

The U.S. scholar Dave Isenberg pointed out that, when reading the «Report», many analysts believed the U.S. is attempting to "indicate the threat of a power as rival". The scholar questioned why "the report did not make final evaluation to the overall threat the Asia would pose to the military force of the U.S.?" On the contrary, "the results of the evaluation shows that China would not pose threat, as generally described, to the U.S."

Hurting the normal exchanges between China and the U.S.

There are always some people in the U.S. government and the Congress reluctant to see the improvement of Sino-U.S. relations and would jump out to create various excuses to intervene it whenever the relations is improved. In recent years, the talk of "China Threat" appears now and then, which not only hurts the Sino-U.S. relations but plots to create estrangement to China and its neighboring countries. At present, the talk of "China Threat" has phased out gradually in the international community, however there are always some people sparing no efforts to create new barriers to the Sino-U.S. relations.

When talking the sensitive military technology, the «Report» pointed out that China expects to acquire dual-use technology and knowledge from abroad for military purpose. The «Report» alleges "thousands of the PRC business entities have been established in the United States. The bulk of the business conducted by these entities is probably legitimate, but an undetermined number may target dual-use commodities and controlled technologies restricted from sale to the PRC." At the same time, FBI also released some alarmist talks " China has more than 3000 cutting edge entities in the U.S. to direct espionage activities. And many of the visitors, students and merchants to the U.S. bear the responsibilities to pry for intelligence", and listed China as the biggest threat of espionage to the U.S. in the coming 10 to 15 years, which is the trumped-up charges to China. In fact, the business entities of China in the U.S. are the main force to promote Sino-U.S. trade and exchanges. It is these entities that have enabled China and the U.S. to become the fourth and the second trade partner. Reasoning by the same logic, the U.S. has much more business entities in China, will these entities bear the responsibilities to steal intelligence of China as a matter of course?

Actually some conservative forces of the U.S. created the China Espionage Threat several years ago. In 1999, they made a big issue of the Wen Ho Lee Case which was proven to be sheer fiction. Now the «Report» mentions the alleged espionage again, which cannot but let us question the real intention of it. For a long time the advancement and progress of China's military technologies are made independently and China has no intension to steal technology from the U.S.. The Chinese people have adequate wisdom and abilities to realize technological innovation and weapon progress. The insinuating talks of the «Report» are obviously contradicted to the intention of the Sino-U.S military exchanges and will hurt the stabilities of the Sino-U.S. relation.

China is a peace-loving country and the reserved national spirit of seeking after peace and attaching great importance to defense and the lenience and moderate of Confucian Culture have determined that it is impossible for China to conduct military expansion. China has neither the habit and psychology of appealing to the others, nor the tradition of military expansion, nor the precedent of stationing troops abroad. China sticks to the peaceful development road unwaveringly. And the objective of developing military power is to provide powerful guarantee to the security of the state, economic prosperity and social stability. However, the talks of the «Report» misdirected the public opinion and led to unharmonious sound to the Sino-U.S. relation. It is expected that the U.S. will learn more about the developing China, and reduce surmise, convey more correct and accurate information to the American people and the world so as to promote the development of the Sino-U.S. relation and relation between the two armed forces so as to secure more hopeful prospect for the world.


http://english.pladaily.com.cn/english/pladaily/2003/09/09/20030909001010_Comments.html (Part I)

http://english.pladaily.com.cn/english/pladaily/2003/09/10/20030910001007_Comments.html (Part II)