31 March 2011

Beijing Issues Latest Defense White Paper “China’s National Defense in 2010”: English/Chinese Full Text, Key Excerpts & Analysis

Full Text (English): Defense White Paper “China’s National Defense in 2010”

Full Text (Chinese):《2010年中国的国防》白皮书

China’s 2010 Defense White Paper follows a pattern by now well-established in these biannual reports on the People’s Liberation Army (PLA). It offers some new details not present in the previous report, but stops well short of offering the degree of detail that foreign analysts and policy makers hope for. Where Western documents typically focus more—and Western analysts expect more information—on specific capabilities, it focuses primarily on more general intentions. While it leaves many questions unanswered, however, it is a carefully-written document that offers insights into China’s defense policy and some general trends in its military development. Beijing’s ongoing moves toward greater transparency (some would say “translucence”) should be applauded, however short they may still fall of foreign expectations.

Here are two larger issues that stood out in my initial reading of the report:

1. I believe that this is the first time that a publicly-issued Chinese government document has used the term “PLA Army” to describe China’s ground forces (as opposed to the PLA as a whole). This highlights the ground forces’ ongoing transformation into a “first among equals” service, as opposed to the utterly dominant service. This suggests growing clout for the PLA Navy (PLAN) and PLA Air Force (PLAAF) as well as the Second Artillery (China’s strategic missile force), though they have a long way to go to fully realize a more equal institutional status in practice. It is part of a larger effort to make the PLA better able to fight “local limited wars under informatized conditions” along China’s contested maritime periphery, particularly within its three “Near Seas” (the Yellow, East China, and South China Seas) and their immediate approaches (beyond the First Island Chain).

2. Also noteworthy is unprecedented coverage of the PLA’s contribution to addressing nontraditional security challenges, as in the PLAN’s deployment of eight (and counting) successive counterpiracy task forces to the Gulf of Aden. This is in accordance with the four New Historic Missions with which President Hu Jintao has charged the PLA. In instances of PLA operations outside China to support UN missions and deter threats from sub-state actors such as pirates, it is a substantive contribution to international security that should be welcomed by the world. Though no nation is truly altruistic in its behavior, China deserves credit for such contributions as they are broadly beneficial.

Among many issues not addressed is the deployment of PLAN and PLAAF forces to help secure the evacuation of Chinese citizens from Libya in February, an historical first. It will be interesting to see how Beijing evaluates and portrays such efforts in the future. They are positive and understandable, but may raise expectations among Chinese for what their government can do to address subsequent threats to the security of Chinese citizens overseas.

In any case, this is definitely a report worth reading. For those who may not have time to do so in fully, however, I have extracted some of the more important excerpts below:

Key Excerpts:

“Prospects for world multi-polarization are becoming clearer.”

“Asia has taken the lead in economic recovery, and its growth as a whole has been sustained.”

“Nevertheless, Asia-Pacific security is becoming more intricate and volatile. Regional pressure points drag on and without solution in sight. There is intermittent tension on the Korean Peninsula.”

“The United States is reinforcing its regional military alliances, and increasing its involvement in regional security affairs.”

“China is meanwhile confronted by more diverse and complex security challenges. China has vast territories and territorial seas.”

“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. Suspicion about China, interference and countering moves against China from the outside are on the increase.”

“The two sides of the Taiwan Strait are destined to ultimate reunification in the course of the great rejuvenation of the Chinese nation.”

“The two sides may discuss political relations in the special situation that China is not yet reunified in a pragmatic manner. The two sides can hold contacts and exchanges on military issues at an appropriate time and talk about a military security mechanism of mutual trust, in a bid to act together to adopt measures to further stabilize cross-Strait relations and ease concerns regarding military security.”

“The goals and tasks of China’s national defense in the new era are defined as follows:

— Safeguarding national sovereignty, security and interests of national development. China’s national defense is tasked to guard against and resist aggression, defend the security of China’s lands, inland waters, territorial waters and airspace, safeguard its maritime rights and interests, and maintain its security interests in space, electromagnetic space and cyber space.”

“– Maintaining social harmony and stability. … They organize preparations for military operations other than war (MOOTW) in a scientific way, work out pre-designed strategic programs against non-traditional security threats, reinforce the building of specialized forces for emergency response, and enhance capabilities in counter-terrorism and stability maintenance, emergency rescue, and the protection of security.”

“– Accelerating the modernization of national defense and the armed forces. …[The PLA] intensifies theoretical studies on joint operations under conditions of informationization, advances the development of high-tech weaponry and equipment, develops new types of combat forces, strives to establish joint operation systems in conditions of informationization, accelerates the transition from military training under conditions of mechanization to military training in conditions of informationization, presses ahead with implementation of the strategic project for talented people, invests greater efforts in building a modern logistics capability, and enhances its capabilities in accomplishing diversified military tasks in order to win local wars under the conditions of informationization, so as to accomplish its historical missions at the new stage in the new century.”

“– Maintaining world peace and stability. … China adheres to the concepts of openness, pragmatism and cooperation, expands its participation in international security cooperation, strengthens strategic coordination and consultation with major powers and neighboring countries, enhances military exchanges and cooperation with developing countries, and takes part in UN peace-keeping operations, maritime escort, international counter-terrorism cooperation, and disaster relief operations.”

“To meet the new and changing needs of national security, the PLA tries to accentuate modernization from a higher platform. It strengthens the building of a new type of combat capability to win local wars in conditions of informationization, strengthens the composite development of mechanization and informationization with the latter as the leading factor, focuses informationization on raising its fighting capabilities based on information systems, and enhances the capabilities in fire power, mobility, protection, support and informationization.”

“the PLA Army (PLAA)… has made great progress in strengthening its arms. … The artillery component has been working on new types of weapons, equipment, and ammunition with higher levels of informationization, forming an operational and tactical in-depth strike system, and developing the capacity to carry out precision operations with integrated reconnaissance, control, strike and assessment capabilities. The air defense component has stepped up the development of new types of radar, command information systems, and medium- and high-altitude ground-to-air missiles. It has formed a new interception system consisting of anti-aircraft artillery and missiles, and possesses enhanced capabilities of medium- and low-altitude air and missile defense operations.”

“In line with the requirements of offshore defense strategy, the PLA Navy (PLAN) endeavors to accelerate the modernization of its integrated combat forces, enhances its capabilities in strategic deterrence and counterattack, and develops its capabilities in conducting operations in distant waters and in countering non-traditional security threats. It seeks to further improve its combat capabilities through regularized and systematic basic training and actual combat training in complex electromagnetic environments. By organizing naval vessels for drills in distant waters, it develops training models for MOOTW missions. New types of submarines, frigates, aircraft and large support vessels have been deployed as planned. The PLAN enhances the construction of composite support bases so as to build a shore-based support system which matches the deployment of forces and the development of weaponry and equipment. The Navy has accelerated the building of surface logistical platforms by deploying ambulance boats and helicopters, and a standard 10,000 DWT hospital ship, and is working to further improve its surface support capabilities. The Navy explores new methods of logistics support for sustaining long-time maritime missions.”

“To satisfy the strategic requirements of conducting both offensive and defensive operations, the modernization and transformation of the PLA Air Force (PLAAF) follows a carefully-structured plan. It strengthens and improves the PLAAF development and personnel development strategies, and enhances its research into the operation and transformation of air forces in conditions of informationization. The PLAAF is working to ensure the development of a combat force structure that focuses on air strikes, air and missile defense, and strategic projection, to improve its leadership and command system and build up an informationized, networked base support system. It conducts training on confrontation between systems in complex electromagnetic environments, and carries out maneuvers, drills and operational assembly training in different tactical contexts. The PLAAF strengthens routine combat readiness of air defenses, taking the defense of the capital as the center and the defense of coastal and border areas as the key. It has carried out MOOTWs, such as air security for major national events, emergency rescue and disaster relief, international rescue, and emergency airlift. It has gradually deployed airborne early warning and control aircraft, third-generation combat aircraft, and other advanced weaponry and equipment.”

“Following the principle of building a lean and effective force, the PLA Second Artillery Force (PLASAF) strives to push forward its modernization and improves its capabilities in rapid reaction, penetration, precision strike, damage infliction, protection, and survivability, while steadily enhancing its capabilities in strategic deterrence and defensive operations. It continues to develop a military training system unique with the strategic missile force, improve the conditions of on-base, simulated and networked training, conduct trans-regional maneuvers and training with opposing forces in complex electromagnetic environments. It has set up laboratories for key disciplines, specialties and basic education, and successfully developed systems for automatic missile testing, operational and tactical command and control, strategic missile simulation training, and the support system for the survival of combatants in operational positions. It has worked to strengthen its safety systems, strictly implement safety regulations, and ensure the safety of missile weaponry and equipment, operational positions and other key elements. It has continued to maintain good safety records in nuclear weapon management.”

“In line with its strategic objective of building informationized armed forces and winning informationized wars, and with overall planning and phased implementation, the PLA is trying to break through major bottlenecks which hinder the building and improvement of combat effectiveness of systems. The fighting capabilities of the armed forces in conditions of informationization have been significantly raised.”

“A step-change development has been achieved in information infrastructure. The total length of the national defense optical fiber communication network has increased by a large margin, forming a new generation information transmission network with optical fiber communication as the mainstay and satellite and short-wave communications as assistance.”

“Significant progress has been made in building information systems for reconnaissance and intelligence, command and control, and battlefield environment awareness. Information systems have been widely applied in logistics and equipment support. A preliminary level has been achieved in interoperability among command and control systems, combat forces, and support systems, making order transmission, intelligence distribution, command and guidance more efficient and rapid.”

“Strategic planning, leadership and management of informationization have been strengthened, and relevant laws, regulations, standards, policies and systems further improved. A range of measures, such as assembly training and long-distance education, have been taken to disseminate knowledge on information and skills in applying it. Notable achievements have been made in the training of commanding officers for joint operations, management personnel for informationization, personnel specialized in information technology, and personnel for the operation and maintenance of new equipment. The complement of new-mode and high-caliber military personnel who can meet the needs of informationization has been steadily enlarged.”

“The PLA takes the building of joint operation systems as the focal point of its modernization and preparations for military struggle, and strives to enhance its fighting capabilities based on information systems.”

“The PLA upholds that military training is the basic means to generate and raise combat effectiveness, and is working to reform training in all respects, and accelerate the transition from training in conditions of mechanization to training in conditions of informationization.”

“The PLA is further implementing the strategic project for talents in an effort to increase its complement of new-type and high-caliber military personnel. It further promotes the cultivation of a contingent of commanding officers, staff officers, scientists, technical experts and non-commissioned officers (NCOs) by taking the improvement of ideological and political qualities as the foundation, the transformation of capabilities as the main theme, the cultivation of joint operation commanders, informationization professionals, IT specialists, and experts in operating and maintaining new types of equipment as focus.”

“The PLA is laying stress on the training of commanding officers for joint operations and high-level experts in technological innovation. It has published basic readers and held lectures on joint operations through all its arms and services. While giving attention to selecting, commending and rewarding outstanding commanding and staff officers, it has placed particular emphasis on training and promoting excellent staff officers, and company- and battalion-level officers of great potential. To cultivate commanding officers for joint operations, the PLA has also reformed the model for training graduates for its Masters Degree in Military Science. Following the promulgation of Implementation Measures for Military High-Level Personnel Project in Scientific and Technological Innovation, every two years the PLA selects 200 leading scientists and high-performing talents from different disciplines for special training in order to improve their innovation aptitude in science and technology.”

“The PLA is working to reform its NCO selection and training system. It has increased the number of positions for high-tech specialized NCOs, implemented a pre-assignment accreditation system for evaluating the skills of specialized technical NCOs, developed an expert assessment system for selecting senior NCOs, and further improved its NCO training and management system.”

“In order to enhance its logistical support capabilities for diversified military tasks, the PLA is working on a multilateral approach to building a modern logistics system by speeding up the process of integrating systems, outsourcing services, informationizing processes, and managing its logistical support systems in a more scientific way.”

“The PLA meticulously organizes and provides logistical support for key events. Examples are the National Day Parade in celebration of the 60th anniversary of the founding of the People’ s Republic of China, escort operations in the Gulf of Aden and waters off Somalia, joint exercises with foreign military forces, security work for the Shanghai World Expo, and emergency rescue operations both at home and abroad. It also provides strong and reliable logistical support for those troops who take part in rescue and relief operations following disasters, such as the Yushu earthquake and the Zhouqu mud-rock slide.”

“The PLA is gaining momentum in developing new and high-tech weaponry and equipment, strengthening the retrofitting and management of existing equipment, and promoting the composite development of mechanized and informationized weaponry and equipment.”

“Organs of maritime surveillance, fisheries administration, marine affairs, inspection and quarantine, and customs are responsible for ensuring legitimate rights, law enforcement, and administration. The State Commission of Border and Coastal Defense, under the dual leadership of the State Council and the Central Military Commission (CMC), coordinates China’s border and coastal defenses. All military area commands, as well as border and coastal provinces, cities and counties, have commissions to coordinate border and coastal defenses within their respective jurisdictions.”

“In recent years, China has steadily improved a border and coastal defense force system featuring the PLA as the mainstay, the coordination and cooperation of other relevant forces, and the extensive participation of the militia, the reserve forces and the people in the border and coastal areas.”

“Territorial air security is an important constituent of overall national security. The PLAAF is the mainstay of national territorial air defense, and in accordance with the instructions of the CMC, the Army, Navy, and People’s Armed Police Force (PAPF) all undertake some territorial air defense responsibilities.”

“As of December 2010, China has dispatched 17,390 military personnel to 19 UN peace-keeping missions. Nine officers and men have lost their lives on duty.”

“As of December 2010, the PLA had 1,955 officers and men serving in nine UN mission areas. China has dispatched more peacekeeping personnel than any other permanent member of the UN Security Council.”

Conducting Escort Operations in the Gulf of Aden and Waters off Somalia

“In line with relevant UN resolutions, China dispatched naval ships to conduct escort operations in the Gulf of Aden and waters off Somalia on December 26, 2008. They are mainly charged with safeguarding the security of Chinese ships and personnel passing through the Gulf of Aden and Somali waters, and the security of ships delivering humanitarian supplies for the World Food Program and other international organizations, and shelter pass-by foreign vessels as much as possible. As of December 2010, the Chinese Navy has dispatched, in seven sorties, 18 ship deployments, 16 helicopters, and 490 Special Operation Force (SOF) soldiers on escort missions. Through accompanying escort, area patrol, and onboard escort, the Chinese Navy has provided protection for 3,139 ships sailing under Chinese and foreign flags, rescued 29 ships from pirate attacks, and recovered nine ships released from captivity.”

“China takes a proactive and open attitude toward international escort cooperation. Chinese escort fleets have established mechanisms for regular intelligence exchange and sharing with relevant countries and organizations. It has exchanged 24 boarding visits of commanders with fleets from the EU, the multinational naval force, NATO, Russia, the ROK, the Netherlands and Japan. It has conducted joint escort operations with Russian fleets and joint maritime exercises with ROK escort ships, and exchanged officers for onboard observations with Dutch fleets. China has joined international regimes such as the UN liaison groups’ meeting on Somali pirates, and the international conference on “intelligence sharing and conflict prevention” escort cooperation.”

Holding Joint Military Exercises and Training with Other Countries

“In adherence to the principles of being non-aligned, non- confrontational, and not directed against any third party, the PLA has held joint exercises and training with other countries pursuant to the guidelines of mutual benefit, equality and reciprocity. As of December 2010, the PLA has held 44 joint military and training exercises with foreign troops. This is conducive to promoting mutual trust and cooperation, drawing on useful lessons, and accelerating the PLA’s modernization.”

“Joint counter-terrorism military exercises within the SCO framework are being institutionalized. In 2002, China ran a joint counter-terrorism military exercise with Kyrgyzstan, the first ever with a foreign country. In 2003, China ran a multilateral joint counter-terrorism military exercise with other SCO members, again the first ever with foreign countries. In 2006, China and Tajikistan ran a joint counter-terrorism military exercise. China and Russia as well as other SCO members ran a series of “Peace Mission” joint counter-terrorism military exercises in 2005, 2007, 2009 and 2010.”

“Maritime joint exercises have been held on a regular basis. In 2003, China ran a joint maritime search-and-rescue exercise with Pakistan, the first ever between China and a foreign country. During mutual port calls and other activities, the PLAN has run bilateral or multilateral joint maritime exercises with the navies of India, France, the UK, Australia, Thailand, the US, Russia, Japan, New Zealand and Vietnam, focusing on tasks such as search-and-rescue, communication, formation sailing, diving, and escorting. In 2007 and 2009, the PLAN participated in multilateral joint maritime exercises organized by the Pakistani navy. In 2007, the PLAN took part in the joint maritime exercise held in Singaporean waters within the framework of the Western Pacific Naval Symposium. In 2010, China held a joint marine training with Thailand, the first ever between China and a foreign country.”

“Extensive joint military training on land has been carried out. China held a joint army training with Thailand in 2007, the first ever with a foreign country. In recent years, China has conducted joint military training with many countries, including Pakistan, India, Singapore, Mongolia, Romania and Thailand, focusing on tasks such as counter-terrorism, security and safeguarding, peacekeeping, and mountain and amphibious operations, all directed towards exploring new models of mixed grouping and joint training. In 2009, for the first time, China sent a medical detachment to Africa to hold a joint operation with Gabon, to conduct medical training and rescue exercises, and to provide medical assistance for local residents. In 2010, China sent a medical team to Peru for joint training on humanitarian medical aid and emergency medical rescue, in an effort to improve its capabilities in responding to humanitarian emergencies.”

“Naval ships performing escort missions in the Gulf of Aden and in waters off Somalia, as well as those carrying out maritime training, strictly observe international treaties like the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS) and act in accordance with the relevant laws and regulations of China.”

“…legal advisors have been provided for troops participating in emergency rescue and disaster relief operations, escort operations in the Gulf of Aden and the waters off Somalia, and major joint military exercises with other countries.”

“To create a favorable environment for innovation, incentive policies and appraisal systems for original innovation have been introduced to build a better contingent of creative and talented people and to provide them with the motivation and initiative to produce scientific and technological innovations.”

“In the past two years, the increase in China’s defense expenditure has primarily been used for the following purposes: (1) Improving support conditions for the troops: Along with the economic and social development and the improvement of people’s living standards, the PLA has adjusted servicemen’s salaries and allowances, increased funding for education and training, water and electricity supplies and heating, upgraded logistics support for grass-roots units in a comprehensive and coordinated way, and improved the on-duty, training and living conditions of border and coastal defense forces and units in remote areas and harsh environments. (2) Accomplishing diversified military tasks: China has increased investment in improving MOOTW capabilities, in supporting earthquake rescue and disaster relief operations, in escort operations in the Gulf of Aden and waters off Somalia, in flood control and emergency rescue operations, and in international rescue operations. (3) Pushing forward the Revolution in Military Affairs (RMA) with Chinese characteristics. In view of the upward trend in purchasing prices and maintenance costs, China has moderately increased the funds for high-tech weaponry and equipment and their supporting facilities.”

Dialogues and Cooperation on Maritime Security

“China takes an active part in dialogue and cooperation on international maritime security. It strictly complies with the UN Charter, the United Nations Convention on Law of the Sea (UNCLOS), and other universally recognized norms of international relations. It consistently pursues common security and development, and respects the sovereignty, rights and interests of coastal states. China perseveres in dealing with traditional and non-traditional maritime threats through cooperation, and strives to maintain maritime security through multiple peaceful ways and means.”

“In 1998, China and the United States concluded the Military Maritime Consultative Agreement (MMCA) and began to conduct consultations on military maritime security issues. To date, eight annual meetings, 13 working group meetings and two special meetings have been held, contributing to the safety of maritime activities, the avoidance of maritime accidents and the adoption of other confidence-building measures. An MMCA special session was held in August 2009 and an annual meeting was held in October 2010.”

“In October 2005, China and Vietnam signed the Agreement on Joint Patrols by the Navies of China and Vietnam in the Beibu Gulf. The two navies established the Office of Joint Patrols in the Beibu Gulf, organized ten joint patrols, and held five annual meetings. In February 2009, direct telephone links were officially established between the Chinese and ROK naval and air force troops stationed in adjacent areas. Since 2008, China and Japan have held several consultations over the establishment of a maritime liaison mechanism. The Chinese Navy has taken an active part in the activities of the Western Pacific Naval Symposium (WPNS), and in seminars on maritime security sponsored by the ASEAN Regional Forum (ARF) and the Council for Security Cooperation in the Asia Pacific (CSCAP).”

“In the past two years, the Chinese Navy has sent more than 20 naval ships in over ten convoys to visit more than 30 countries, and received port visits from more than 30 naval ships representing over 20 countries.”

“China maintains that the global missile defense program will be detrimental to international strategic balance and stability, will undermine international and regional security, and will have a negative impact on the process of nuclear disarmament. China holds that no state should deploy overseas missile defense systems that have strategic missile defense capabilities or potential, or engage in any such international collaboration.”

“China observes in good faith its international obligations and takes an active part in international nuclear security cooperation. It agrees in principle to set up a nuclear security “Center of Excellence” in China in cooperation with relevant countries.”