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China issues white paper on national defense

Xinhua | Updated: 2013-04-16 10:30

BEIJING - China on Tuesday issued a white paper on national defense elaborating its new security concept and peacetime employment of armed forces.

The document, the eighth of its kind issued by the Chinese government since 1998, says China advocates a new security concept featuring mutual trust, mutual benefit, equality and coordination, and pursues comprehensive security, common security and cooperative security.

"China will never seek hegemony or behave in a hegemonic manner, nor will it engage in military expansion," the white paper says.

According to the document, China will build a strong national defense and powerful armed forces which are "commensurate with China's international standing and meet the needs of its security and development interests."

The paper warns that China still faces multiple and complicated security threats and challenges.

The issues of subsistence and development security and traditional and non-traditional threats to security are interwoven, the document says.

"Therefore China has an arduous task to safeguard its national unification, territorial integrity and development interests," it says.

The paper elaborates on the country's diversified employment of the armed forces in peaceful times, saying that it responds to China's core security needs and aims to maintain peace, contain crises and win wars.

Chinese armed forces are employed to safeguard borders, coastal and territorial air security and they will strengthen combat-readiness and combat-oriented exercises and drills, it says.

And they will readily respond to and resolutely deter any provocative action which undermines China's sovereignty, security and territorial integrity.

Transparency move

In this paper, the People's Liberation Army (PLA) for the first time reveals the actual number of army, navy and air force servicemen, designations of its army combined corps and the main missile lineup.

China now has about 850,000 army servicemen in 18 combined corps and additional independent combined operational divisions (brigades), according to the paper.

The combined corps, composed of divisions and brigades, are respectively under seven military area commands.

Currently, the PLA Navy has a total strength of 235,000 officers and men, and commands three fleets -- the Beihai Fleet, the Donghai Fleet and the Nanhai Fleet.

The PLA Air Force now has about 398,000 officers and men and an air command in each of the seven military area commands of Shenyang, Beijing, Lanzhou, Jinan, Nanjing, Guangzhou and Chengdu. In addition, it boasts one airborne corps.

The PLA Second Artillery Force, the country's core force for strategic deterrence, is composed of nuclear and conventional missile forces and operational support units, according to the paper.

It is equipped with a series of "Dong Feng"  ballistic missiles and  "Chang Jian" cruise missiles.

It also has under its command missile bases, training bases, specialized support units, academies and research institutions.

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