By Liu Peng
The Military and Security Developments Involving the People's Republic of China 2020 recently issued by the US Department of Defense (DoD) deliberately distorts relations between the CPC and the Chinese military, misinterprets China's national defense policy and military strategies, denigrates China’s national defense and military modernization development, and makes groundless accusations of China on its defense spending, nuclear policy, and Taiwan policy. In sum, the report spares no effort in hyping up the so-called “military threats from China”.
Compared with previous years, the report this year stands out for three points.
First, it highlights the worries about the Chinese military’s rapid progress on the technological front. The DoD is so concerned about the PLA’s advances in emerging technologies that the report includes a special topic on “The PLA’s Approach Toward Informatization and Intelligentization”, in which it points out “with great concern” that “these technical improvements are notably boosting PLA operational flexibility and responsiveness”.
Second, it denigrates the PLA’s fulfillment of responsibilities as a major global military player. Turning a blind eye to ironclad facts, the report tries hard to stigmatize the humanitarian assistance, naval escorts at the Gulf of Aden, UN peacekeeping operations, arms sales, and bilateral and multilateral military exercises carried out by the PLA, which it claims are aimed to “expand the PLA’s global military presence”.
Third, it smears China’s normal nuclear force development. China resolutely follows the path of peaceful development and adheres to a national defense policy that is defensive in nature. It commits to the policy of no first use of nuclear weapons at all times and in all conditions, and will unconditionally not use or threaten to use nuclear weapons against non-nuclear-weapon states or in nuclear-weapon-free zones. The DoD report, turning a blind eye to all facts, not only groundlessly accuses China of a lack of transparency in its nuclear policies, but also makes irresponsible remarks about China’s normal nuclear buildup. By doing so, the US seeks to hype up nuclear threats from China, so it could drag the country into the so-called China-US-Russia trilateral nuclear disarmament negotiation, thus meeting its goal of curbing and weakening China’s nuclear deterrence capability and maintaining its own nuclear hegemony.
In general, the latest release of the 2020 China military power report is teeming with the Cold War mentality of a zero-sum game like always. Its ridiculous condemnation of China’s normal military development is, on the one hand, to materialize the “major-country competition” concept, step up the containment of China and restrict its military buildup. On the other hand, the hyping of the so-called “military threats from China” is nothing but an excuse to further augment its own military forces, sell weapons to other countries, and maintain America’s global hegemony, especially its control in the Indo-Pacific region.
Meanwhile, the report and Pentagon’s recent moves send a clear signal that the US that has been stressing “major-country competition” feels strong strategic anxiety. The US Secretary of Defense Mark Esper recently instructed the National Defense University to recalibrate its courses to be 50% focused on China and requested other military academies to study China as a major threat as well. The DoD also newly set up a China-focused defense policy office.
China has repeatedly made the solemn declaration to the international community that it will never seek hegemony or expansion, and will always be the mainstay in safeguarding peace. In recent years, the PLA has taken an active part in international humanitarian assistance, UN peacekeeping missions, escort missions at the Gulf of Aden, and other operations, making contributions to building the community with a shared future for mankind. History has proved and will continue to prove that China will remain a staunch guardian of international order and system. Trying to portray China as a rival is a serious strategic misjudgment on the American side, who is investing its strategic resources in the wrong direction.
The China-US relationship is one of the most important bilateral relations in the world. Maintaining and stabilizing this relationship concerns the wellbeing of their peoples as well as people around the world, and concerns world peace, stability, and development. We advise the US side to view China’s progress and the PLA’s normal development with calm and reason, refrain from baseless anxieties, and stop making groundless accusations. Instead, it should walk toward China and make joint efforts for world peace and stability.
Disclaimer: The author is from the War Studies College of the Academy of Military Sciences of the Chinese People's Liberation Army (PLA). The article reflects the author's opinions and not necessarily the views of China Military Online.