‘China’s military does not believe in pre-emptive strikes’

Beijing, July 1 (IANS) China’s military strategy is based on a “peaceful approach” and it believes in solving its disputes with other countries through “dialogue and discussion”, the country has claimed. It also said it does not believe in pre-emptive strikes.

Yang Yujun, the spokesman for the ministry of defence, has said that its strategy was based on “active defence” and that it does not believe in any pre-emptive strike.

Yang, a senior colonel, equivalent to a brigadier-general in the Indian army was talking to visiting Indian journalists and Indian journalists based in Beijing on Tuesday. Yang had brought along eight other officials and academics to explain the People’s Liberation Army’s position on various issues, in a rare kind of interaction with journalist.

He said that the ministry had released a white paper on China’s Military Strategy on May 26, which some Western commentators had said showed a new-found assertiveness in the armed forces.

Yang rejected this saying that the comments were based on a “lack of understanding” of China’s basic approach on the military strategy.

“China believes in solving all its disputes through peaceful talks and consultation,” he said, adding that it has not used military force or gone to war with any country over it. “We have excercised utmost restraint,” he asserted.

He said some commentators had also mentioned that because of the new stance, China may even launch pre-emptive strikes. This, he said, was totally a wrong reading of China’s doctrine.

The white paper says that in response to its growing strategic interests, its armed forces will “effectively secure China’s overseas interests”. And that it continues to adhere to the principles of “strategic defense and operational and tactical offense”.

It goes on to define China’s military stance as: “We will not attack unless we are attacked, but we will surely counterattack if attacked.” Yang said that his country’s strategy was based on four principles which can be abbreviated as DACT, comprising defence, adjustments, cooperation and trust.

“Defence was its fundamental purpose,” he said.

He said at present some issued had “flared up” but this was “provoked” by some other countries and China should not be held responsible for it.

He said if some countries took provocative step, “we will respond”. But China, he asserted, “will never seek to threaten or invade another country, no matter how developed we become”.

He said that 100 million Chinese travel abroad and about $100 billion of its investments are in other countries. Moreover, more than 60 percent of its oil is imported. With terrorism and piracy threatening to disrupt supplies and affect its investment and people, it was necessary that the country does everything to safeguard its interest.

He said the country was willing to work with the world to create strategic environment based on peace, stability and mutual benefit.

The white paper says that China wants to build “a modern system of military forces with Chinese characteristics” and it reasserts it nuclear doctrine of “no first strike.”

Talking of threats in cyber space, it says that the country will expedite the development of a cyber force.

It says in view of the threats from different directions, the armed forces will adhere to the principles of flexibility, mobility and self-dependence so that “you fight your way and I fight my way”.

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