China vows to strengthen military to win ‘local wars’ (Second Lead)

March 5th, 2012 - 6:42 pm ICT by IANS  

Beijing, March 5 (IANS) China will enhance the capability of its armed forces to win “local wars under information-age conditions”, Premier Wen Jiabao said Monday.

China will enhance the armed forces’ capability to accomplish a wide range of military tasks, with the Communist Party of China having absolute leadership, Wen Jiabao said in a report submitted to the annual full session of the National People’s Congress (NPC).

“The most important thing is to win local wars under information-age conditions,” he said.

Wen said the government will ensure the armed forces accomplish the tasks of combating terrorism, maintaining stability, handling emergencies and relieving disasters, Xinhua reported.

The premier stressed the absolute leadership of the Communist Party of China over the armed forces, saying that the country will adhere to it as a fundamental principle, strengthen the armed forces’ ideological and political standards, and maintain the Chinese armed forces’ fundamental purpose of being an army of the people.

“We will accelerate the modernization of the logistics support system, and vigorously enhance our capacity for making innovations in defence-related science and technology and in weapons and equipment development,” said Wen.

He added China will focus on training a new type of highly competent military personnel, actively yet prudently carry out reform of national defence, and run the armed forces with strict discipline and in accordance with the law.

“We will comprehensively modernize the armed police forces,” Wen said, adding that the government will also strengthen national defence mobilization and improve reserves.

The report came a day after China announced its plan to raise its defence budget by 11.2 percent to 670 billion yuan ($106.4 billion) in 2012.

Li Zhaoxing, spokesperson for the NPC annual session and a former foreign minister, said at a press conference Sunday that the growth is “reasonable and appropriate”.

Li noted that the share of defence spending in China’s GDP dropped from 1.33 percent in 2008 to 1.28 percent in 2011, and that the equivalent measures in the US and Britain exceed 2 percent.

“The limited military strength of China is solely for safeguarding its national sovereignty and territorial integrity and will not pose a threat to any country,” said Li.

The latest edition of the “China’s National Defence in 2010″ white paper - the seventh the government has issued since 1998 - says China will never seek hegemony nor will it adopt the approach of military expansion now or in the future, no matter how its economy develops.

China’s commitment to peaceful development and an armed forces policy which is defensive in nature have been underlined in the seven editions of the white paper.

“China will not engage in arms race with any other country, and it does not pose a military threat to any other country,” said another white paper titled “China’s peaceful development” issued in September.

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