VI. Actively Contributing to Building a Community with a Shared Future for Mankind
Building a community with a shared future for mankind conforms to the trends of the times for peaceful development, and reflects the common aspirations of all peoples throughout the world. China’s armed forces have responded faithfully to the call for a community with a shared future for mankind. They are actively fulfilling the international obligations of the armed forces of a major country, comprehensively promoting international military cooperation for the new era, and striving for a better world of lasting peace and common security.
Resolutely Upholding the Purposes and Principles of the UN Charter
As a founding member of the United Nations and a permanent member of the UNSC, China unswervingly endorses the central role of the UN in international affairs, and resolutely upholds international law and the basic norms governing international relations based on the purposes and principles of the UN Charter. It firmly maintains multilateralism, advances democracy in international relations, participates extensively in global security governance, actively engages in arms control and disarmament, and endeavors to offer Chinese proposals for resolving major issues and formulating important rules.
China has played a constructive role in the political settlement of regional hotspots such as the Korean Peninsula issue, the Iranian nuclear issue and Syrian issue. China opposes hegemony, unilateralism and double standards, promotes dialogues and consultations, and fully and earnestly implements UNSC resolutions. China has actively participated in multilateral dialogues and negotiations on cyberspace and outer space, and pushed for the formulation of widely accepted international rules that are fair and equitable.
China actively participates in international arms control, disarmament and non-proliferation. China objects to arms race and strives to protect global strategic balance and stability. To this end, China has signed or acceded to dozens of relevant multilateral treaties including the Treaty on the Non-proliferation of Nuclear Weapons. In 2015 China announced the establishment of the USD1 billion China-UN Peace and Development Fund in the following decade, which was officially put into operation in 2016.
Building a New-Model Security Partnership Featuring Equality, Mutual Trust and Win-Win Cooperation
China actively develops constructive relationships with foreign militaries. A new configuration of foreign military relations which is all-dimensional, wide-ranging and multi-tiered is taking shape. China has engaged in military exchanges with more than 150 countries and set up 130 offices of military attachés and military representatives at Chinese diplomatic missions abroad, while 116 countries have established military attaché’s offices in China. In addition, China has put in place 54 defense consultation and dialogue mechanisms with 41 countries and international organizations. Since 2012, high level Chinese military delegations have visited over 60 countries, and defense ministers and commanders-in-chief from over 100 countries have visited China.
The military relationship between China and Russia continues to develop at a high level, enriching the China-Russia comprehensive strategic partnership of coordination for a new era and playing a significant role in maintaining global strategic stability. The Chinese and Russian militaries have continued the sound development of exchange mechanisms at all levels, expanded cooperation in high-level exchanges, military training, equipment, technology and counter-terrorism, and realized positive interaction and coordination on international and multilateral occasions. Since 2012, Chinese and Russian militaries have held 7 rounds of strategic consultations. From August to September 2018, at the invitation of the Russian side, the PLA participated in Russia’s Vostok strategic exercise for the first time.
China actively and properly handles its military relationship with the US in accordance with the principles of non-conflict, non-confrontation, mutual respect and win-win cooperation. It strives to make the military-to-military relationship a stabilizer for the relations between the two countries and hence contribute to the China-US relationship based on coordination, cooperation and stability. In 2014, China’s Ministry of National Defense (MND) and the US Department of Defense signed the Memorandum of Understanding on Notification of Major Military Activities and Confidence-Building Measures Mechanism and the Memorandum of Understanding Regarding the Rules of Behavior for Safety of Air and Maritime Encounters. In 2015, the two countries agreed on the annexes on the military crisis notification mechanism and the rules of behavior for safety in air-to-air encounters. In 2017, the two countries established a diplomatic and security dialogue and joint staff dialogue mechanism with a view to actively strengthening strategic communication and managing risks and differences. The two militaries carry out institutionalized exchanges between the defense authorities, armies, navies and air forces, as well as practical cooperation in HADR, counter-piracy, and exchanges between academic institutions. China resolutely opposes the wrong practices and provocative activities of the US side regarding arms sales to Taiwan, sanctions on the CMC Equipment Development Department and its leadership, illegal entry into China’s territorial waters and maritime and air spaces near relevant islands and reefs, and wide-range and frequent close-in reconnaissance. However, in China-US relations, the military-to-military relationship remains the generally stable one.
With a commitment to building a community with a shared future in its neighborhood, China endeavors to deepen military partnership with its neighbors. The PLA keeps close contacts with the military leaderships of the neighboring countries. Given more than 40 reciprocal military visits at and above service commander level every year, high-level military exchanges have covered almost all of China’s neighbors and contributed to growing strategic mutual trust. China has set up defense and security consultations as well as working meeting mechanisms with 17 neighboring countries to keep exchange channels open. In recent years, China has regularly held serial joint exercises and training on counter-terrorism, peacekeeping, search and rescue, and tactical skills with its neighboring countries, and carried out extensive exchanges and practical cooperation on border and coastal defense, academic institutions, think tanks, education, training, medical science, medical service, and equipment and technology. In addition, defense cooperation with ASEAN countries is moving forward. The military relationships between China and its neighboring countries are generally stable.
China is actively developing its military relations with European countries. Exchanges and cooperation in all areas are making sound progress. Targeting a China-Europe partnership for peace, growth, reform and civilization, China conducts security policy dialogues, joint counter-piracy exercises and personnel training with the EU. In 2016, China held a desktop exercise on non-combatant evacuation with the UK and a joint military medical exercise with Germany. In 2018, China and the EU held the third China-EU high-level seminar on security policy.
China is strengthening military exchanges with developing countries in Africa, Latin America, the Caribbean and the South Pacific by carrying out personnel training, conducting exchanges between mid-and-junior level officers, and providing assistance in military development and defense capabilities. In Beijing in 2018 China hosted the China-Africa Defense and Security Forum, the China and Latin-America High-level Defense Forum, and the Forum for Senior Defense Officials from Caribbean and South Pacific Countries.
The PLA adheres to the principles of mutual trust, mutual benefit and win-win cooperation in carrying out pragmatic exchanges and cooperation with foreign militaries. Since 2012, China has held over 100 joint exercises and training with more than 30 countries. These engagements have covered traditional and non-traditional security fields, in locations extending from China’s periphery to the far seas, and the participating forces have expanded from land forces to multiple branches including the army, navy and air force. Cooperation and exchanges in personnel training have intensified. Since 2012, the PLA has sent over 1,700 military personnel to study in more than 50 countries. Over 20 Chinese military educational institutions have established and maintained inter-collegiate exchanges with their counterparts from more than 40 countries. Meanwhile, more than 10,000 foreign military personnel from over 130 countries have studied in Chinese military universities and colleges.
China’s armed forces work to improve mechanisms for information release in order to comprehensively and objectively explain China’s national defense and military development to domestic and international audiences. In April 2011, China’s MND started to convene monthly press conferences to release important information on national defense and the military. Since 2012, multiple thematic press conferences have been held to brief on important events such as national defense and military reform and downsizing the PLA. The MND has organized multiple visits to and interviews with PLA units and academic institutions for nearly 100 domestic and foreign media. Since they were launched in May 2015, the official Weibo and WeChat accounts of the MND Information Office have attracted over 6 million followers.
Building a Regional Security Cooperation Architecture
In June 2001, China, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Russia, Tajikistan and Uzbekistan co-founded the Shanghai Cooperation Organization. The SCO has now grown into a new type of comprehensive regional cooperation organization covering the largest area and population in the world. The Shanghai Spirit featuring mutual trust, mutual benefit, equality, consultation, respect for diverse civilizations and pursuit of common development has come into being. With its commitment to building an SCO community with a shared future and developing a new model of international relations, the organization has made a new contribution to regional peace and development. In June 2017, the SCO expanded for the first time and admitted India and Pakistan as member states. In April 2018, China hosted the first SCO Defense Ministers’ Meeting since the organization expanded its membership. The member states continue to strengthen defense and security exchanges and cooperation, including Peace Mission exercises, and Fanfare for Peace military tattoos, to further promote good-neighborliness and strategic mutual trust, increase military cultural exchanges, and enhance unity and friendship.
China actively supports the institutional development of the Conference on Interaction and Confidence-Building Measures in Asia (CICA), advocates common, comprehensive, cooperative and sustainable security in Asia, and plays an important role in building an Asian security cooperation architecture.
In the principles of openness, inclusiveness and pragmatic cooperation, China actively participates in multilateral dialogues and cooperation mechanisms including the ADMM-Plus, ASEAN Regional Forum (ARF), Shangri-La Dialogue, Jakarta International Defense Dialogue and Western Pacific Naval Symposium, regularly holds China-ASEAN defense ministers’ informal meetings, and proposes and constructively promotes initiatives to strengthen regional defense cooperation. The China-ASEAN Maritime Exercise-2018, the first between Chinese and ASEAN militaries, was held in October 2018 and demonstrated the confidence and determination of the countries in maintaining regional peace and stability.
China has initiated the Xiangshan Forum, a platform of exchange based in Beijing, in the spirit of equality, openness, inclusiveness and mutual learning. In 2014, the Xiangshan Forum was upgraded to a track-1.5 platform of international security and defense dialogue. In October 2018, the Xiangshan Forum was renamed the Beijing Xiangshan Forum. More than 500 participants from 67 countries and 7 international organizations attended the forum and exchanged new ideas and approaches for addressing regional security threats and challenges. Their discussions have played an active role in promoting security dialogue and mutual trust in the Asia-Pacific region.
Properly Coping with Disputes over Territory and Maritime Demarcation
Upholding amity, sincerity, mutual benefit and inclusiveness in its neighborhood diplomacy, China is committed to building an amicable relationship and partnership with its neighbors, and peaceful resolution of disputes over territory and maritime demarcation through negotiation and consultation. China has settled its border issues with 12 of its 14 land neighbors and signed treaties on good-neighborliness, friendship and cooperation with 8 countries on its periphery.
China holds it a priority to manage differences and enhance mutual trust in maintaining the stability of its neighborhood. China has proposed a China-ASEAN defense ministers’ hotline and established direct defense telephone links with Vietnam and the ROK. It has kept contact through telephone or fax, and conducted border meetings and joint patrols, with the militaries of the countries on its land borders on regular or irregular basis. Since 2014, five high-level border meetings between China and Vietnam have been held. To implement the important consensus reached by the leaders of China and India, the two militaries have exchanged high-level visits and pushed for a hotline for border defense cooperation and mechanisms for border management and border defense exchanges. Since the second half of 2016, China and the Philippines have increased dialogue on maritime security, bringing the two sides back on track in addressing the South China Sea issue through friendly consultation. In May 2018, the defense authorities of China and Japan signed a memorandum of understanding on maritime and air liaison and put it into practice in June.
China and the ASEAN countries have comprehensively and effectively implemented the DOC, and actively advanced the consultations on the COC. They are committed to extending practical maritime security cooperation, developing regional security mechanisms and building the South China Sea into a sea of peace, friendship and cooperation.
Actively Providing International Public Security Goods
China actively supports the UNPKOs. It is a major contributor to the UN peacekeeping budget and the largest troop contributing country among the permanent members of the UNSC. As of December 2018, China has participated in 24 UN peacekeeping missions and has contributed more than 39,000 peacekeepers. 13 Chinese military personnel have sacrificed their lives in the UNPKOs. In the missions, China’s peacekeepers have built and repaired over 13,000 kilometers of roads, cleared and disposed of 10,342 mines and various items of unexploded ordnance, transported more than 1.35 million tons of materials over a total distance of more than 13 million kilometers, treated over 170,000 patients, and fulfilled over 300 armed escorts and long or short-distance patrols.
In September 2015, China joined the UN Peacekeeping Capability Readiness System (PCRS) and built a peacekeeping standby force of 8,000 troops. In September 2017, China completed the registration of PCRS Level 1. In October 2018, 13 Chinese PCRS Level 1 units scored high in the UN assessment and were elevated to PCRS Level 2. Five among these units were elevated from Level 2 to Level 3 in February 2019. China has made active efforts to train international peacekeepers and trained over 1,500 individuals from dozens of countries. In December 2018, 2,506 peacekeepers from the PLA served in 7 UN missions and in the UN Department of Peacekeeping Operations.
In line with relevant UNSC resolutions, since December 2008, the Chinese government has dispatched naval ships to carry out regular vessel protection operations in the Gulf of Aden and the waters off the coast of Somalia. Chinese PLAN task groups cooperate with multiple naval forces in the area to safeguard international SLOCs. In the past decade, over 100 vessels and 26,000 officers and sailors have been regularly deployed in 31 convoys, each consisting of three to four ships, in vessel protection operations. They have provided security protection for over 6,600 Chinese and foreign ships, and rescued, protected or assisted over 70 ships in distress.
China’s armed forces take an active part in the international efforts for HADR. Military professionals are dispatched to conduct disaster relief operations in affected countries, provide relief materials and medical aid, and strengthen international exchanges in this respect. Since 2012, China’s armed forces have participated in the search for the missing Malaysian Airliner MH370, and in the relief operations for Typhoon Haiyan in the Philippines, the Ebola epidemic in West Africa, the water scarcity in Maldives, the earthquake in Nepal, and the flood caused by a dam collapse in Laos. Since it entered service a decade ago, the PLAN’s hospital ship Ark Peace has fulfilled 7 voyages coded as Mission Harmony and visited 43 countries. During these visits, it provided medical services to the local communities, organized medical exchanges, and helped over 230,000 people.
China is active in international and regional counter-terrorism cooperation. It has strengthened such cooperation within the framework of the SCO. China hosts and participates in joint counter-terrorism exercises, cracks down on illegal trafficking of weapons, ammunition and explosives, cooperates with SCO members to identify and cut off channels for terrorist infiltration, and promotes international counter-terrorism intelligence exchange and information sharing. It hosts the Great Wall International Forum on Counter-Terrorism, and actively participates in multilateral counter-terrorism mechanisms such as the APEC Counter-Terrorism Working Group and the Global Counter-Terrorism Forum. Bilateral counter-terrorism consultations have been held with certain countries. China initiated the establishment of the Quadrilateral Cooperation and Coordination Mechanism (QCCM), a counter-terrorism cooperation and coordination mechanism by the militaries of Afghanistan, China, Pakistan and Tajikistan. The QCCM has convened two military leaders’ meetings and conducted counter-terrorism exchange and cooperation, actively safeguarding regional security.
Peace is an aspiration for all peoples, and development is an eternal theme of humanity. Faced with global security challenges that are becoming ever more intricate and choices that have to be made at a crossroads of human development, China firmly believes that hegemony and expansion are doomed to failure, and security and prosperity shall be shared. China will remain committed to peaceful development and work with people of all countries to safeguard world peace and promote common development.
Guided by Xi Jinping’s thinking on strengthening the military, China’s national defense in the new era will stride forward along its own path to build a stronger military and endeavor to achieve the great goal of developing world-class forces in an all-round way. China’s armed forces have the determination, confidence and capability to prevail over all threats and challenges. They stand ready to provide strong strategic support for the realization of the Chinese Dream of national rejuvenation, and to make new and greater contributions to the building of a community with a shared future for mankind.