Se­cu­rity of strate­gic im­por­tance gains strength

China Daily (Latin America Weekly) - - Views - The author is a lieu­tenant gen­eral and deputy pres­i­dent of the Academy of Mil­i­tary Sciences.

To en­sure long-term sta­bil­ity and prosperity of the Asia-Pa­cific re­gion, China has put for­ward a num­ber of pro­pos­als in re­cent years that have been highly valued by the in­ter­na­tional com­mu­nity.

I would like to share with you my views on three other is­sues of in­ter­ests.

First, on China’s re­form of na­tional de­fense and the armed forces. Since 2015, China has em­barked on mil­i­tary re­form, which goes roughly through three stages.

The first stage is the re­form of the mil­i­tary leadership and com­mand sys­tem. The gen­eral prin­ci­ple es­tab­lished is that “the Cen­tral Mil­i­tary Com­mis­sion ex­er­cises over­all leadership, theater com­mands are re­spon­si­ble for mil­i­tary op­er­a­tions, and mil­i­tary ser­vices fo­cus on devel­op­ing ca­pa­bil­i­ties”.

“Four Gen­eral Head­quar­ters” of the CMC were re­or­ga­nized into 15 func­tional or­gans. We per­fected the ser­vices’ leadership and man­age­ment sys­tem by es­tab­lish­ing an Army Lead­ing Or­gan, the Rocket Force and the Strate­gic Sup­port Force. We built and per­fected the joint op­er­a­tions com­mand sys­tem, and re­sized the seven Mil­i­tary Area Com­mands and es­tab­lished five Theater Com­mands: eastern, south­ern, western, north­ern and cen­tral.

The se­cond stage is to ad­just and op­ti­mize the size and struc­ture as well as the com­po­si­tion of the forces. We cut the num­ber of ac­tive per­son­nel by 300,000, re­duc­ing the armed forces from 2.3 mil­lion to 2 mil­lion. We op­ti­mized the pro­por­tion of each ser­vice and re­or­ga­nized 18 com­bined corps into 13. The pro­por­tion of the army in the whole armed forces is now less than 50 per­cent. We stream­lined the num­ber of of­fi­cers and strictly lim­ited the num­ber of ad­min­is­tra­tive or­gans and per­son­nel. The ra­tio of of­fi­cers and sol­diers has been sig­nif­i­cantly op­ti­mized.

The third stage is pol­icy and sys­tem re­form. We will deepen re­forms in ma­jor poli­cies and sys­tems, such as the of­fi­cers’ pro­fes­sion­al­iza­tion sys­tem and civil­ian per­son­nel sys­tem, and pro­mote the trans­for­ma­tion of mil­i­tary man­age­ment. We will run the armed forces strictly ac­cord­ing to law, fun­da­men­tally trans­form the way of gov­ern­ing troops, and raise the level of the rule of law in build­ing na­tional de­fense and the armed force. We will deepen re­form of sci­ence, tech­nol­ogy and in­dus­try sec­tors for na­tional de­fense, strive for in-depth civilmil­i­tary in­te­gra­tion, and build in­te­grated na­tional strate­gic sys­tem and strate­gic ca­pa­bil­i­ties.

Through the three stages of re­form, the Chi­nese mil­i­tary will re­al­ize sys­tem re­struc­tur­ing by 2020. By then, it will not only greatly im­prove its abil­ity of safe­guard­ing na­tional se­cu­rity, but also shoul­der more in­ter­na­tional re­spon­si­bil­i­ties and obli­ga­tions, and pro­vide more public se­cu­rity goods.

Se­cond, on the Korean Penin­sula nu­clear is­sue, over the years, China’s po­si­tion has been very clear and con­sis­tent. China re­mains com­mit­ted to the goal of de­nu­cle­ariz­ing the penin­sula, up­hold­ing peace and sta­bil­ity on it, and re­solv­ing the penin­sula is­sue through di­a­logue and ne­go­ti­a­tion.

Since the be­gin­ning of this year we are pleased to see that the si­t­u­a­tion on the Korean Penin­sula has been mov­ing in the right di­rec­tion of di­a­logue and po­lit­i­cal so­lu­tion. A rare his­tor­i­cal op­por­tu­nity to re­al­ize a nu­clear-free Korean Penin­sula and es­tab­lish a peace mech­a­nism has emerged. It has been proved that saber-rat­tling and con­fronta­tion can only make the is­sue more com­pli­cated. Di­a­logue and con­sul­ta­tion are the fun­da­men­tal so­lu­tions.

We hope the ex­pected sum­mit be­tween the Demo­cratic Peo­ple’s Re­pub­lic of Ko­rea and the United States will take place smoothly and pro­duce pos­i­tive re­sults, and all par­ties con­cerned will value the progress achieved re­cently, make re­marks that are good-in­ten­tioned and help­ful to ease ten­sions, take more ac­tions that are con­ducive to fur­ther­ing di­a­logue and mu­tual trust, re­main com­mit­ted to ad­dress­ing each other’s con­cerns through di­a­logue and con­sul­ta­tion, pro­mote the po­lit­i­cal res­o­lu­tion process and make more con­tri­bu­tions to es­tab­lish long-last­ing peace and se­cu­rity on the penin­sula.

Fi­nally, on the South China Sea is­sue. Re­cently, the US, in dis­re­gard of the facts, hyped up so-called mil­i­ta­riza­tion in the South China Sea, and used it as an ex­cuse to re­nege on the in­vi­ta­tion to China to the “RIMPAC-2018” joint mil­i­tary ex­er­cise. We con­sider such moves as nei­ther con­struc­tive nor in­clu­sive. China’s par­tic­i­pa­tion in the RIMPAC mil­i­tary ex­er­cises is not only of great mil­i­tary sig­nif­i­cance, but also of more po­lit­i­cal sig­nif­i­cance. It is a sym­bol of China-US mil­i­tary mu­tual trust and co­op­er­a­tion. China and the US should re­spect each other, meet each other half­way, and ad­vance to­ward the grand goal of China-US co­op­er­a­tion.

The Nan­sha Is­lands are an undis­putable ter­ri­tory of China. It is the nat­u­ral right of China to carry out con­struc­tions on its own ter­ri­tory and to de­ploy nec­es­sary de­fense fa­cil­i­ties. It is also a nec­es­sary mea­sure to de­fend China’s na­tional sovereignty se­cu­rity, and main­tain re­gional peace and sta­bil­ity.

The cur­rent si­t­u­a­tion in the South China Sea has calmed down vis­i­bly as a re­sult of the joint ef­forts of China and ASEAN coun­tries. The US, in the name of “free­dom of nav­i­ga­tion”, sent mil­i­tary ves­sels and air­craft to the wa­ters off and airspace above the Chi­nese is­lands and reefs, chal­leng­ing China’s sovereignty and se­cu­rity. This is real mil­i­ta­riza­tion. This is also in con­tra­dic­tion to its con­sis­tent claims that on the South China Sea is­sue, the US does not hold a po­si­tion and does not choose sides as to the sovereignty of the fea­tures in the South China Sea.

As a ma­jor power in the Asia-Pa­cific, China knows that its peace­ful devel­op­ment is closely re­lated to the fu­ture of the Asia-Pa­cific. China has al­ways made it its mis­sion to pro­mote prosperity and sta­bil­ity in the re­gion. It pur­sues a na­tional de­fense pol­icy that is de­fen­sive in na­ture, and a mil­i­tary strat­egy of ac­tive de­fense. The Chi­nese armed forces are ad­vo­ca­tors and fa­cil­i­ta­tors of, and par­tic­i­pants in in­ter­na­tional se­cu­rity co­op­er­a­tion, and are com­mit­ted to devel­op­ing non­aligned, non-con­fronta­tional mil­i­tary co­op­er­a­tive re­la­tions that are not tar­geted at any third par­ties. China’s armed forces, as such, have in­fused strong pos­i­tive en­ergy into world peace.

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