- The 19th Congress of the Chinese Communist Party outlined major reforms in the political, economic and social life of the republic. Including in the construction and further strengthening of the combat power of the Chinese Armed Forces. What are these reforms? What is their basis? What principles will be based on the reform of the Chinese Armed Forces?
- China will continue to deepen the reform of national defense and the army, in particular, to deepen the reform of the most important political installations and systems, such as the system of professionalization of officers, the personnel management system of the army service, the system of military duty, to promote the revolutionary transformation of the management system of military affairs, to improve and develop the socialist military system with Chinese characteristics. We will pay special attention to science and technology as the core of combat capability, to the need to stimulate the most important technological innovations, to intensify the formation of a system for training military specialists, to create an innovative-type people's army. It is important to comprehensively carry out strict army management, stimulate a radical transformation of the forms of control, raise the level of legality in the sphere of defense and army construction. Chinese military construction and reforms will follow two basic principles.
First, it is strict to maintain the absolute leadership of the people's army by the party. Creating a people's army, subordinating to party leadership, capable of winning victories and possessing exemplary style, is a strategic pillar both for achieving goals, which are timed to coincide with the “two hundredth anniversary” and for fulfilling the Chinese dream of the great rebirth of the Chinese nation. We will comprehensively implement a set of fundamental principles and institutions relating to the party leadership of the people's army, assert the leading position of the party’s ideas on strengthening the army in the new era in the field of defense and army construction.
Secondly, the army must always be ready for battle. Therefore, in all work it is necessary to always proceed from the criteria of its combat capability and focus on improving the combat skills of personnel and their ability to win. It should be thoroughly engaged in combat training in all strategic areas. On the basis of unified planning, stimulate combat training aimed at solving the problems of traditional and new security challenges. Develop a new type of combat and support forces. Deploy military training, imitating a real war. To intensify the use of the armed forces, to accelerate the intellectualization of military affairs, to increase the potential for conducting joint military operations covering all natural areas and based on the information network system. And it is also effective to create a favorable environment for solving the tasks set, to control crisis situations and to prevent war, and if necessary, to win it.
- The reform of the Chinese Armed Forces began a few months before the historic 19th CPC Congress. It is known that the military districts were transformed in the Chinese army, the number of armies was reduced, there were transformations in the governing structures of the PLA ... What other changes are awaiting the Chinese army and naval forces? What will they be directed to?
- On November 24–26, 2015, a working meeting of the Central Military Council (CEA) on the reform of the armed forces was held in Beijing. It marked the beginning historical reform of the Chinese army, which led to radical changes. Formed missile troops and strategic support troops, as well as the command of the ground forces; reorganized and created various departments of the central administrative center; five combat command zones and a joint command zone system for combat command have been created; Joint Logistics Support Forces formed. In addition, a new leadership and command system was created that characterizes the role of the central command and control center in the implementation of general control, as well as combat command zones in the conduct of military operations of the combat arms, in army construction itself. Thus, a revolutionary restructuring took place in the organizational structure of the people's army and the system of armed forces.
Today, defense and army construction is at a new historical stage. China confidently adheres to the position of building up the country's economic and military potential, strengthens the overall leadership of this process, high-level design, reform and innovation, as well as the implementation of major projects. We will continue the reform of defense science, the improvement of technology and the support of the military-industrial complex, we will form the architectonics of in-depth military-civil integration and create an integrated state strategic system with the appropriate potential. We will improve the system of defense mobilization, continue the formation of a powerful and durable modern border, sea and air defense. We will modernize the bodies for the provision and management of demobilized military personnel, for the protection of the legal rights and interests of military personnel and their family members, and turn the profession of advocate of the country into a profession that is respected and honored in society. We also have to deepen the reform of the armed forces.
The goal of building the Chinese armed forces is: taking into account the development trends of the new world revolution in military affairs and responding to the needs of protecting national interests and national security, comprehensively improving the quality and effectiveness of defense and army construction, ensuring the mechanization of troops, and achieving essential progress in the field of informatization of the army and dramatic enhancing its strategic potential by 2020. The process of modernization of the country requires a comprehensive modernization of military theory, military organizational forms, training of military personnel, as well as weapons and military equipment. We will strive to ensure that, by the year of 2035, we have to mainly modernize the national defense and the army, and by the middle of this century, turn the People’s Army of China into advanced world-class armed forces.
- It is clear to military people that the strengthening of the country's security and the combat capability of the armed forces takes place on the basis of a thorough assessment of the international situation, threats, dangers and risks for the country from potential adversaries or some other destabilizing factors. What threats and dangers should the Chinese army confront? What will the leadership of the country and the armed forces do to neutralize these threats?
- According to the PRC's Military Strategy (9 of the White Book, published in May of 2015), China’s development will continue to play an important role in strengthening significant strategic opportunities for a confident response to external challenges. In the course of this development, the aggregate power of the state, its most important indicators of competitiveness, and its ability to withstand emerging threats are being strengthened. The international status of the PRC and its influence on the international arena are rising. The standard of living of the Chinese people is improving, the social climate of China is stabilizing. But, turning into a large developing state, China still faces diverse and complex threats to its security, the growth of external threats and challenges, the intertwining of the existing problems of ensuring defense capability and security in front of traditional and non-traditional challenges.
Today, the aspiration of some states to hegemony on the world stage, the policy of brute force and neo-interventionism are once again raising their heads. Various international actors are making efforts to escalate the struggle for power and the redistribution of material resources, neglecting the legitimate interests of their neighbors. The intensification of international terrorism, the aggravation of religious contradictions, territorial disputes lead to the emergence of hot spots on a changing map of the world. Continuing local wars, constant armed conflicts, frequent economic crises are still the usual state of some regions. The world still faces a real and potential threat of large-scale war. For example, there are many factors of instability and uncertainty of the situation on the Korean Peninsula and in the regions of Northeast Asia.
There is an increased activity of regional terrorism, separatism and extremism, which also damages security in the stabilized zones of China. The biggest threat to the harmonious development of Taiwan and China is still the separatist forces and their struggle for "Taiwan independence." Serious threats are the separatists of "East Turkestan" and Tibet, the preparation by anti-Chinese forces of plans for the implementation of the color revolution. The tasks of ensuring political security and social stability are very difficult.
As our national interests continually expand, global and regional instability, terrorism, maritime piracy, major natural disasters and epidemics, and other dangers may pose a threat to China’s security. Problems of ensuring security abroad of our country stand up to their full height: there is a struggle for energy resources, the security of strategic transit routes and the safety of overseas branches of Chinese firms, their employees and assets are threatened. We must take all this into account in our military planning.
A new military-technical revolution is unfolding in the world, a transition to high-precision long-range weapons is underway, the military’s intellectualization is deepening, and a transition to unmanned Aviation and stealth technologies. Outer and cyberspace are becoming new points of strategic confrontation. The transition from traditional forms of warfare to information confrontation has accelerated. The revolutionary changes in military technology and the forms of warfare have a serious impact on international military policy and pose serious challenges to China’s national military security.
In the new historical conditions, in order to effectively counter various emergency situations, military threats and challenges, China will adhere to a military strategy of active defense, which meets the fundamental interests of China, the requirements of a national development strategy and a peaceful foreign policy. In order to adapt to the new internal and external circumstances, the military strategy of active defense of China began to be filled with new content that meets the trends of the era, and demonstrate new forms, while maintaining its basic spirit. These changes are such.
First, the installation to win the local information war. In accordance with the threats in the field of military security and the accelerated development of the information construction of the Chinese army, a new course is outlined taking into account the multidimensional military circumstances (in fact, the sea, in the air, in space and on the Web) using electronic weapons. We focus on the basic training of troops on the ability to quickly win the local information war.
Secondly, we are heading for an innovative renewal of basic ideas about the conduct of war. This means that the Chinese Armed Forces, understanding the essence of the information war and the mechanism for achieving victory, consider possession of information as a key way to maintain leadership on the battlefield. And therefore, they will deliver pinpoint strikes on the enemy’s operational system and carry out combat operations using all types and types of troops.
Thirdly, it is necessary to improve military strategy. Given the geopolitical strategic circumstances, threats to national security and the strategic tasks of the army, China understands the importance of strategic planning and the correct deployment of military forces, which include overall coordination of actions, distribution of responsibilities by districts and integrated use of forces and assets during operations. In addition, he pays proper attention to both traditional areas of security (on land, at sea and in the air) and new areas (in space and the Network), and strengthens cooperation in the field of international security in relevant areas abroad.
Fourth, we will continue to uphold the principles of strategic leadership. The guiding principles are concretization and at the same time an extension of the ideas of strategic leadership and serve as basic norms that must be followed. These principles include: commitment to national strategic goals; creating a strategic position conducive to the peaceful development of the country; mastering a strategic initiative in the military struggle; willingness to cope with difficult and difficult circumstances; adherence to such a security concept, which aims to support general security and integrated security, as well as to cooperate in the field of security with its partners and actively expand the space for cooperation in the field of military security.
- The Chinese army is considered one of the most powerful in the world. It is among the top three strongest armed forces, where in addition to it are present the United States and Russia. Despite the fact that the PLA has almost four times less military spending than the United States (according to the Stockholm Peace Research Institute - SIPRI, the United States spends $ 650 billion on this, and China - 170), nevertheless the military China's potential is not much inferior to the United States. How is this achieved? What types of armed forces will China develop first and foremost and which troops to rely on? Rocket? Navy? Forces special operations? Air Force?
- Yes, China spends much less money than the United States in the field of military construction, but managed to maximize the level of military equipment, weapons and practical combat capability. Due to what? By relying on the fundamental principles and institutions that were talked about at the 19th CPC Congress, Chairman Xi Jinping. Among them: constant political leadership of military construction, strengthening the army through reforms, strengthening military affairs by science and technology, managing the army on the basis of laws, focusing troops on preparing for a real war, giving more serious significance to the innovative role of innovation, focusing on the formation of a training system for troops, on increasing the intensity and effectiveness of combat and special training, as well as on military-civil integration. In particular, in the transformation of the army from the forces of quantitative superiority to the forces of qualitative superiority and high technology.
The revival of the army through science and technology and integrated civil-military development are of great importance for the realization of the development goals of the armed forces of the PRC, increasing their combat effectiveness and ability to win victories. Scientific and technological development has become the driving force behind our military transformations. As soon as technological progress is used for military purposes, this inevitably leads to profound changes in armaments, the combat training system, in the laws of armed struggle and in ideological culture. Currently, the armies of the leading countries of the world are promoting the information technology revolution and are accelerating a new round of military transformation, which is an unprecedented step in the history of world military construction. For example, the US Army is pushing for the implementation of the Third Compensation Strategy, trying to create a new overwhelming technical superiority. If China does not develop scientific and technological innovations in the field of defense, this will create a new technological gap and put the country at a disadvantage in the competition process. We cannot allow this.
Scientific and technical innovations are increasingly becoming a key element of victory in modern warfare. The Chinese army is at the forefront of the transition to revolutionary transformations. There is a rapid transition from mechanization to informatization, and the structure of the armed forces from the one that was built according to the type of central platform, to the one that focuses on network information, the command system from general military to interregional associations, the management model from extensive to intensive, and development models - from the relative separation of the military and civil spheres to their deep integration. Only by relying on the revolutionary role of science and technology and strengthening the innovative focus of military modernization, can the strategic transformation of the Chinese army be promoted and help it achieve world standards.
In the face of profound changes in state security and the requirements of the era of creating a powerful state and powerful armed forces, China’s armed forces are obliged to fully implement the ideas of the party to strengthen the army in the new era, to pursue a military-strategic course with a focus on new conditions. It is necessary to create powerful modernized ground forces, navy, air force, missile and strategic support forces, to form a stable and highly effective command body for managing joint military operations in a combat command zone, to build a modern combat system with Chinese characteristics in order to adequately cope with the mission and tasks of the new era, imposed by the party and the people on the army.
- Relations between Russia and China are often called strategic partnerships. Our armies regularly conduct joint exercises, exchange combat experience, including experience in the fight against terrorism. The military delegations of Beijing and Moscow regularly visit each other ... How will the military and military-technical cooperation between Russia and the PRC be reflected in the military reform of the PLA? What areas of such cooperation do you consider the most important? And if you can, please tell us more about the examples of such cooperation today and in the near future.
- Really. Recently, the Sino-Russian relations in the military sphere have a very high dynamics of development. In recent years, staff negotiations have noticeably intensified, delegational exchanges and various kinds of exercises, visits to military units and subunits are developing, where we learn about the experience of building the armed forces, and by conducting exercises, we perfect the skills of our soldiers and officers. For example, the Russian Ministry of Defense annually holds the Moscow Conference on International Security and international military competitions, and Chinese military delegations regularly take part in conferences and military competitions. In 2016, 12 military groups of 1000 military from China participated in international military competitions, and 2017 groups of more than 6 military participated in 500.
In recent years, China and Russia have conducted 5 large joint exercises "Sea Interaction". This year, the Sino-Russian joint exercise “Sea Interaction - 2017” took place in two stages: the first in the Baltic Sea at the end of July and the second in the Sea of Japan and the Sea of Okhotsk in mid-September. These exercises were a concrete step to further strengthen the comprehensive strategic partnership at a new stage and to promote pragmatic cooperation between the navy of the two countries.
Chinese Minister of Defense Chang Wanquan met with his Russian counterpart Sergei Shoigu in Astana, the capital of Kazakhstan, 7 on June 2017, during the Shanghai Cooperation Organization Summit. On the same day, when the two ministers met, China and Russia signed a roadmap for military cooperation. According to the Chinese Ministry of Defense, the roadmap is a general plan of military cooperation between China and Russia in 2017 – 2020. Its signing testifies to a high level of mutual trust and strategic cooperation. Both countries are faced with new threats and challenges in the field of security and jointly protect regional peace and stability. At the next stage, the parties will formulate a concrete plan for the development of military cooperation.
The two countries have a very rich program, there are no limits for building up military and military-technical cooperation, and bilateral relations in the military field are open and transparent. China and Russia do not cooperate against anyone, the development of mutually beneficial cooperation between the two countries in the military field is aimed at strengthening regional and global security.
- Some domestic analysts and journalists writing on military topics are alarmed by the growing combat power of the Chinese army. What they repeatedly write to the media, fearing that this might be once directed against our country. What would you answer to such concerns?
- The policy determines the military course, and the political strategy determines the military strategy. The creation by one country of threats to other countries usually depends not on the power of this country and its army, but on its domestic policy. The transformation of China from the weakest and poorest country to the second largest economic entity of the world was realized not through military expansion and colonial seizures, but through the diligence of the people and their desire to maintain peace at any cost.
As China’s President Xi Jinping stated in a report at the 19th CPC Congress, China will hold high the banner of peace, development, cooperation and common success, adhere firmly to the main goal of its foreign policy: to protect world peace and promote common development. Based on the five principles of peaceful coexistence, we will steadily develop friendship and cooperation with all countries, stimulating the formation of a new type of international relations based on mutual respect, equality and justice, cooperation and common success. China will always follow the path of peaceful development, firmly adhering to a defensive-type military policy. Chinese development is not a threat to any state. No matter what level in its development China may reach, it will never claim to be a hegemon, will never pursue an expansion policy.
In July of this year, Chairman Xi Jinping made a state visit to Russia. This is his sixth trip to Russia after taking office as Chairman of China in March 2013. During the visit, our heads of state signed and published a Joint Statement on the further deepening of comprehensive cooperation, comprehensive partnership and strategic cooperation, approved an Action Plan for implementing the Treaty on Neighborhood, Friendship and Cooperation on 2017 – 2020, decided to develop the “Single Belt, one way "and the EAEU, to promote development and prosperity on the Eurasian continent. It can be said that this visit gave a new impetus to the development of the Chinese-Russian comprehensive partnership and strategic interaction.
Xi Jinping and President Putin are unanimous in the fact that at present, Chinese-Russian relations are experiencing the best period in their entire history. No matter how the external situation changes, the determination and confidence of the two countries in the development and deepening of strategic interaction remains unshakable. The two countries will continue to consider bilateral relations as a priority in their foreign policy, continue mutual support on issues affecting each other’s vital interests, actively promote multifaceted cooperation so that bilateral relations that develop at a high level become the engine of our own development and countries as well as the cornerstone of maintaining world peace and stability.