Commentary: China's defense policy defense-oriented, peace-oriented

Source: Xinhua| 2019-07-24 20:25:29|Editor: huaxia
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Soldiers are seen on a naval vessel during a joint naval exercise on the sea off Qingdao, east China's Shandong Province, on April 26, 2019. (Xinhua/Li Ziheng)

BEIJING, July 24 (Xinhua) -- China's 10th defense white paper issued on Wednesday is solid proof that the country's military policy is defense-oriented and peace-oriented.

Though it is China's long-standing foreign policy to never seek hegemony, expansion, or spheres of influence, the document, entitled "China's National Defense in the New Era," has for the first time taken the pledge as a distinctive feature of China's national defense in the new era.

The move exemplifies the defensive nature of China's national defense policy, a stark contrast to those of certain world powers which adopt preemptive military strategies and preventive intervention, an unfortunate propensity which has been proven to harm world peace and stability.

History has taught us that although a country may become "strong", bellicosity will lead to its ruin. The Chinese nation has always loved peace, but certain western media and politicians ignore the fact and spread misleading information about China's defensive national defense policy.

Chinese People's Liberation Army (PLA) Navy soldiers stand guard as the 12th Chinese naval escort flotilla sets sail at a port in Zhoushan, east China's Zhejiang Province, July 3, 2012. (Xinhua/Wu Linhong)

One of the ill-founded notions concerns China's defense expenditure. Though China has indeed increased its defense spending from a level of sustainability to moderate growth in the past 40 years, the growth is in tandem with that of the national economy and government expenditure.

According to the latest defense white paper, China's defense expenditure as a percentage of GDP has fallen from a peak of 5.43 percent in 1979 to 1.26 percent in 2017, while that as a percentage of government expenditure has dropped from 17.37 percent in 1979 to 5.14 percent in 2017.

For detractors with ingrained prejudice against China, they should be reminded that China's per capita defense expenditure remains low, compared to that of other major powers.

Take the 2017 figures as an example. China's per capita defense spending was RMB 750, or about 108 U.S. dollars, a mere 5 percent of the U.S. figure.

In recent years, though win-win cooperation remains an irreversible trend, there remains destabilizing factors and uncertainties in international security.

While some major powers are developing new types of countering armed forces and accelerating the pace of combat preparations, China has determinedly resisted engaging in any arm race.

Instead, China has constantly lowered its defense budget growth rate and devoted the spending to advancing defense and military reforms, supporting military training, modernizing weapons and equipment, and improving welfare of service personnel.

People's Liberation army soldiers participate in the opening ceremony of joint exercise code-named "Peace Mission 2014" involving member states of the Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO) in Zhurihe, north China's Inner Mongolia Autonomous Region, Aug. 24, 2014. (Xinhua/Zhang Ling)

Another misleading and incendiary notion claims that China is extending its military reach to the detriment of regional stability.

This opinion turns a blind eye to the fact that China, just like any other country, is entitled to resolutely safeguard its national sovereignty and territorial integrity and deter any foreign intrusion.

Those detractors of China should also be reminded that China boast a proven track record in preserving peace within the region and the Asia-Pacific region remains a stable part of the global landscape.

With a commitment to building a community with a shared future in its neighborhood, China has long advocated addressing differences and disputes through dialogue and consultation, a move widely welcomed by its neighbouring countries.

Meanwhile, China endeavors to deepen military partnership and mutual trust with its neighbors with more than 40 reciprocal military visits at and above service commander level each year.

China has also set up defense and security consultations as well as working meeting mechanisms with 17 neighboring countries to keep exchange channels open.

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. As a major power, China's defense-oriented and peace-oriented national defense policy is a blessing to world lasting peace.