Sunday, September 02, 2012

China uses PHL as 'example' in illustrating defense policy

China has used its ongoing territorial row with the Philippines as an example of its "adherence" to peaceful development in the region.

Defense Minister Liang Guanglie mentioned the row in Sri Lanka while illustrating China's national defense policy, China's government portal reported.

"Take the recent Huangyan Island incident as an example, it is obvious that China's military strength is stronger than that of the Philippines, but we didn't use force or threat to use force, on the contrary, we have been committed to seeking solution of the dispute through diplomatic means," he said, according to the report.

While Liang made the statement last Thursday, it was only on Saturday that the report was posted.

Huangyan Island is China's name for the shoal that the Philippines refers to as Panatag (Scarborough) Shoal.

The Philippines and China had been locked in a dispute over the area since April, after Philippine forces spotted Chinese fishermen taking marine species from the area but were blocked by Chinese ships when trying to make arrests.

Liang is now in Sri Lanka for an official goodwill visit, according to Saturday's report.

During his visit, he briefed the Defense Services Command and Staff College of Sri Lanka on China's national defense policy featured with peaceful development.

He said that since the beginning of its reform and opening-up, China's overall national strength and international influence have grown remarkably, but some people in the international community suspect that China would take the road of expansion with force.

"On this point, the Chinese government issued a whitepaper China's Peaceful Development in 2011, solemnly declaring to the world that China will unswervingly follow the path of peaceful development. The core idea of this path is that China will develop itself through upholding world peace and contribute to world peace through its own development," he said.

Liang, China's first defense minister to Sri Lanka, added China's adherence to the path of peaceful development is determined by its history, culture and traditions, which center on the idea of peace and harmony.

He also China's adherence to the path of peaceful development is also a choice necessitated by its national conditions as China was plagued by invasions and wars brought by foreign powers in history.

The Chinese people know the value of peace and the importance of accelerated development, he added.

Also, he said China's adherence to the path of peaceful development conforms with the trend of peaceful development in the world.

He added China has realized that its development "must conform with the trend of history, must stick to peaceful development and common development and prosperity with the rest of the world."

Relations with South Asian neighbors

Liang said that of China's 14 land neighbors, five are in South Asia, and China attaches great importance to its relations with the South Asian nations.

He said the Chinese army conducts friendly exchanges and cooperation with its counterparts in the South Asian nations to maintain regional security and stability, and are not targeted at any third party.

Also, he said China's national defense policy is subject to and in service of national development strategy and security strategy.

China's adherence to a peaceful development path determines that China will pursue a national defense policy that is defensive in nature, he added.

Coordinated development

He said China pursues a coordinated development of its national defense and economy.

"China's defense spending in 2010 and 2011 took 1.4 percent and 1.28 percent of its GDP respectively. Compared with the developed countries, and some developing countries, China's defense spending stays at a very low level," he said.

But he said China exercises a military strategy of active defense, with the basic principle of adhering to a self-defense position.

The report quoted him as saying the policy seeks "not to take the initiative to offend others, stand for non- military means to solve disputes, take defensive posture strategically, conduct self-defense and attack only after being attacked."

He added China sticks to improving the quality of its military with informationalization as the main objective and it firmly upholds world peace and stability.

"Up to now, China has dispatched around 21,000 person/times to 30 UN Peace-keeping missions, making it the largest personnel contributor among the 5 permanent members of the UN Security Council. We have sent rescue teams for 18 times to conduct humanitarian rescue operations. Since 2008, China has sent 12 batches of naval task forces to conduct escort missions in the Gulf of Aden and off the coast of Somalia. With the further modernization of China's national defense, China will make greater contributions to world peace as a responsible member of the international community," he said.-Interaksyon (September 01, 2012 4:43PM)

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