China’s military must be self-reliant, says minister

December 29th, 2010 - 9:54 pm ICT by IANS  

Beijing, Dec 29 (IANS) China’s military buildup will correspond with the rapidly developing economy and enhanced national power, Defence Minister Liang Guanglie said. “China’s armed forces could only depend on themselves, not others, to ensure modernization and the development of equipment,” China Daily reported quoting Liang Wednesday.

“In the next five years, our economy and society will develop faster, boosting comprehensive national power.

“The developments will provide an even more stable material base to our defence and military buildup,” Liang said at the headquarters of the Chinese military in Beijing.

“We’ll take the opportunity and speed up modernization of the military according to plans already made,” he said.

The Communist Party of China (CPC) has discussed the 12th Five-Year Plan (2011-2015), which includes a blueprint for the military buildup, and has left it for approval by the National People’s Congress in 2011.

“Without the military of more than two million troops… China will be a weak country. A major aspect of its strong national power, I think, is a strong defence,” Liang said.

Liang said a war “which involves the whole country” is impossible at the moment, but there is a possibility that a mishap or accident might ignite regional conflicts.

“To enhance our comprehensive national power, (we have to ensure) our core interests are not hampered. We have to put the nation’s sovereignty and security in the top position, that is the common understanding of the whole Party (CPC) and all the people.”

Looking back on the past five years, Liang viewed the period as one of rapid development for the Chinese military that resulted in “historic, huge achievements”.

The minister said one example of this is young officers and soldiers played prominent roles in earthquake and flood relief efforts, even though many are the only child in their families. That reflected the spirit of the People’s Liberation Army (PLA), he said.

“The military comes from the people and serves the people. It is incumbent on them to help when the country experiences disasters.”

The last five years also saw the military supporting major events including disaster relief, Liang noted.

“It had been rare (for the military) to be involved in such various and frequent tasks that required a large number of personnel in such a short period of time.”

The military is also better prepared for any potential conflict, from its training procedures up to its equipment and logistics, according to Liang.

The PLA’s capability to engage in modern warfare has also increased sharply and the number of high-quality military personnel is growing, especially those for operations that demand a commanding knowledge of a specific technology, Liang said.

However, “the level of modernization of the Chinese military still lags far behind developed countries,” he added.

He said China has made significant progress in international military exchanges with more than 150 countries and defence and security dialogue with 22 countries.

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