China will main­tain its pol­icy of ‘ac­tive de­fense’

China Daily (Canada) - - FRONT PAGE - By LI XIAOKUN in Bei­jing lix­i­aokun@chi­nadaily.com.cn

China will con­tinue to pur­sue “ac­tive de­fense” poli­cies but will never again al­low any coun­try to in­fringe upon its sovereignty, For­eign Min­istry spokes­woman Hua Chun­y­ing said on Wed­nes­day.

Hua was re­spond­ing to Ja­panese com­ments about China’s first white pa­per on mil­i­tary strat­egy, which was re­leased on Tues­day.

Ja­panese Chief Cabi­net Sec­re­tary Yoshi­hide Suga said on Tues­day that af­ter World War II, Ja­pan had won high praise around the world as a peace-lov­ing coun­try.

He also said, “What­ever the sit­u­a­tion, we have to avoid us­ing force.”

The re­marks came as the Ja­panese gov­ern­ment is mak­ing progress with chang­ing the coun­try’s se­cu­rity poli­cies that were put in place af­ter the war.

Ja­panese Prime Min­is­ter Shinzo Abe has in­di­cated that he will not use the words “apol­ogy” and “ag­gres­sion” in his state­ment in Au­gust mark­ing the 70th an­niver­sary of the end of the war.

Such key words have been used by his pre­de­ces­sors in a ref­er­ence to Ja­pan’s wartime past. Hua said Chi­nese peo­ple’s mem­o­ries of their coun­try be­ing bul­lied by other pow­ers are still fresh.

She said China cher­ishes peace and is ad­her­ing to a path of peace­ful devel­op­ment, but will also keep “the lessons taught by his­tory” in mind and build up ap­pro­pri­ate de­fense ca­pa­bil­i­ties.

The white pa­per refers to in­creas­ing se­cu­rity chal­lenges posed by cer­tain coun­tries, cit­ing the grow­ing United States mil­i­tary pres­ence in Asia and ma­jor ad­just­ments to Ja­pan’s se­cu­rity poli­cies.

It also states that “some off­shore neigh­bors” have taken “provoca­tive ac­tions and re­in­forced their mil­i­tary pres­ence on China’s reefs and is­lands that they have il­le­gally oc­cu­pied”. It says the PLA navy will grad­u­ally shift its fo­cus from off­shore wa­ters de­fense to a com­bi­na­tion of this type of de­fense and open seas pro­tec­tion.

It reaf­firms China’s ad­her­ence to peace­ful devel­op­ment and its “ac­tive de­fense” mil­i­tary strat­egy. War­ren said the white pa­per is a “step in the right di­rec­tion” in terms of trans­parency and “ex­actly the type of thing that we’ve been call­ing for” in that re­spect.

Jeff Rathke, direc­tor of the State Depart­ment’s press of­fice, said the US con­tin­ues to mon­i­tor China’s mil­i­tary de­vel­op­ments care­fully.

“We also con­tinue to urge China to ex­hibit greater trans­parency with re­spect to its ca­pa­bil­i­ties and to its in­ten­tions. So in con­junc­tion with that, we en­cour­age China to use its mil­i­tary ca­pa­bil­i­ties in a man­ner that is con­ducive to main­tain­ing peace and sta­bil­ity in the Asia Pa­cific re­gion,” he told the daily brief­ing on Tues­day.

While the grow­ing mil­i­tary ri­valry be­tween China and the US is mak­ing head­lines, Joan John­son-Freese, a pro­fes­sor of Na­tional Se­cu­rity Af­fairs at the US Naval War Col­lege be­lieves that a mil­i­tary con­fronta­tion be­tween the US and China is rec­og­nized on both sides as not in ei­ther’s in­ter­ests.

“Hope­fully ac­tors on both sides will keep that in mind,” she wrote on the China-US Fo­cus web­site last week.

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