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China: Peaceful military development

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by Staff Writers
Beijing (UPI) Apr 5, 2011
China's military development remains focused on national security and not regional hegemony, a major government white paper on defense said.

Beijing will continue to improve its military capability and strengthen military cooperation with many nations, including the United States, the document "China's National Defense in 2010," issued by the Information Office of the State Council, said.

But cooperation with the United States remains difficult because of U.S. military sales and support to Taiwan, which the communist government in Beijing has considered part of China since Chinese nationalist forces fled there during the civil war in 1949.

Even after Chinese President Hu Jintao's state visit to the United States earlier this year, potential for disagreement with the United States remains an issue.

"We admit that our military ties continue to face difficulties and challenges," Col. Geng Yansheng, spokesman for the Ministry of Defense, said at a news conference to launch the white paper, the seventh defense white paper since 1998.

"China is willing to work with the U.S. based on respect, trust, equality and mutual benefits," he said.

The document warned that a "Taiwan independence" separatist force and its activities are still the biggest obstacle and threat to the peaceful development of relations with Taiwan. Also, separatist forces working for "East Turkistan independence" and "Tibet independence" have inflicted serious damage on national security and social stability, the white paper said.

China's overall military strategy is to attack "only after being attacked" and its defense policy remains peaceful in nature.

"China will never seek hegemony, nor will it adopt the approach of military expansion now or in the future, no matter how its economy develops," the white paper said.

Geng said, "China will, as always, link the fundamental interests of the Chinese people with the common interests of people in the world and link its security with the world peace. China will actively participate in international security cooperation and work for global and regional peace and stability."

China is "prudent" when exporting military products, the paper said. China helps recipient states enhance their self-defense capability without impairing peace, security and stability of the relevant region or the world as a whole and not interfering in the recipient state's internal affairs, the report said.

Nuclear non-proliferation is a high priority. China has agreements with 23 countries on the peaceful use of nuclear energy, the report said.

The People's Liberation Army is boosting its international humanitarian aid credentials. Since the PLA provided relief supplies to Afghanistan in 2002, it has carried out 28 urgent international humanitarian aid missions and provided 22 disaster-hit countries with relief materials worth more than $142 million, the white paper said.

On public order and security, the paper said the People's Armed Police Force of handled 24 acts of serious violence and crime since 2009, including hostage taking.

The PAPF also participated in 201 operations to hunt down criminal suspects and provided the backbone of security during recent celebrations of the 60th anniversary of the founding of the People's Republic of China, the Shanghai World Expo and the Guangzhou Asian Games.

While the military will continue to develop new weapons, it also will continue to look for ways to integrate existing equipment to improve firepower and performance, as well as to save money, the paper said. The army will improve its ability to manage and maintain equipment.

The air force will strengthen its routine combat readiness and focus on "taking the defense of the capital as the center" and "the defense of coastal and border areas as the key," the white paper said.

The document made reference to China's concern over maritime issues, a source of recent diplomatic conflict with Japan.

"Pressure builds up in preserving China's territorial integrity and maritime rights and interests. Non-traditional security concerns, such as existing terrorism threats, energy resources, finance, information and natural disasters, are on the rise," the white paper said.

In November, China reiterated its claim to the Diaoyu Islands, currently under Japanese control.

Disputes over who owns the five islands and three rocky outcrops predate World War II. At the end of the war in 1945 they were under U.S. jurisdiction as part of the captured island of Okinawa. But they have been under Japanese jurisdiction since 1972 when Okinawa was returned to Japan.

The islands are 106 miles north of Japan's Ishigaki Island and 116 miles northeast of Keelung on northern Taiwan. They lie 255 miles west of Okinawa Island but Japan argues they are part of the Japanese Ryukyu Islands group.

Fishing boats from the Chinese mainland and Taiwan from time to time enter what Japan considers its territorial waters around the islands.

China also is in dispute with Viet Nam, Taiwan and the Philippines over islands in the seas close to their shores.

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