China has released a white paper outlining its military plans where it maintained it will continue to expand its “active defense strategy” because it claims it is being attacked from all sides.
The 9,000-word paper placed greater emphasis on “open seas protection” rather than “offshore waters defense” alone. It likewise underscored “the principles of defense, self-defense and post-emptive strikes.”
The paper titled “China’s Military Strategy” was issued by the State Council Information Office. it mentioned that “the world economic and strategic center of gravity is shifting ever more rapidly to the Asia-Pacific region,” and thus “China’s navy needs to react to protect its rights globally,” Wang Jin, a senior colonel with the People’s Liberation Army, said at a briefing in Beijing on Tuesday.
Some of the trigger factors for China were the “rebalancing” strategy and enhancement of the U.S. military presence in the region, Japan’s overhauling of its military and security policies, its neighbors provocative actions on China’s reefs and islands, and the U.S. meddling in South China Sea affairs, among others.
The release of the white paper follows the reported start of construction works of two large lighthouses on the reefs in the South China Sea. Xinhua News said the two structures will provide navigation services for ships from different countries.
The paper also said the Chinese army and all artillery forces will boost their global mobility and capabilities for “medium and long-range precision strikes.” China vowed it will not launch the first attack, “but we will surely counterattack if attacked.”
Despite labeling the U.S. as an irritant to its affairs, China said it will coordinate with the other nation to improve rules of behavior for safety of air and maritime encounters in order to strengthen mutual trust, prevent risks and manage crises. It said one of the mechanisms it will propose is a confidence-building measure (CBM) where it will notify the U.S. Navy and other forces its major military activities, and vice versa.