China will take 'forceful' action if incited to war

By WU JIAO (China Daily)
Updated: 2014-03-05 03:24

China will take 'forceful' action if incited to war

Qian Lihua, a major general and former head of the foreign affairs office of the Ministry of National Defense. [Photo/China Daily]

China will fight back "forcefully" if any country tries to challenge its "bottom line" and drag China into war, a political adviser and former Defense Ministry official said on Tuesday.

Qian Lihua, a member of the National Committee of the Chinese People's Political Consultative Conference, made the remarks as China faces serious challenges over territorial and maritime disputes.

Some of China's neighbors, including Japan and the Philippines, have acted against China, illegally taking over Chinese islands and stepping up their military presence in a way that targets the country.

"We don't expect any kind of war to break out and we hope to control crises and prevent warfare. We want to resolve conflicts and remain peaceful. But China cannot realize those goals alone," said Qian, a major general who used to head the foreign affairs office under the Ministry of National Defense.

"It requires all countries in the region to cooperate closely and to make a joint contribution to regional peace and stability," he added.

In an earlier interview with Xinhua News Agency, Qian said that one cannot completely rule out the possibility of clashes in East Asia, and singled out Japan as a potential problem.

"Japan has lost its direction, and has been taken advantage of by right-wing forces to challenge the international order created after World War II," Qian said.

But he said it is impossible and impractical for Japan's right-wing or militaristic forces to cause major trouble, chaos, conflicts and even war against China, as China is not in the same situation as it was in 1894 or the 1930s, when Japan waged war against China.

"Preserving peace and promoting economic development has become the common goal of every country," Qian said.

The Asia-Pacific region has seen an increase in conflicts in recent years. Due to disputes over territory and maritime issues, many Asian countries have increased their military and national defense spending.

Among the top 15 military spenders in the world, China, Japan, India, South Korea and Australia all are in the Asia-Pacific region. Among them, the military spending from China, Japan and South Korea amounted to 64 percent of the region in 2013, Qian said.

While there has been speculation that Asian countries are now in an arms race, Qian refuted the notion.

"The arms race existed only during the Cold War, between NATO and the Warsaw Pact in the past, when regional organizations sought world hegemony with a bigger influence," he said.

But now Asian countries have their own reasons to increase military spending and they are capable of doing so, but it does not mean the region has an arms race, Qian added.

As an official in charge of the foreign affairs of China's military for years, Qian also responded to Western countries' criticism that China's military affairs are not transparent enough, saying that China has made great efforts to promote military transparency.

Qian said transparency should be a two-way street and called on the West not to use the issue of military transparency to pressure China.

"Before sufficient military trust is established, it's impossible to realize military transparency," he said.

Qian added that there is no international standard to measure a country's military transparency.

"There is no complete transparency, not even among allies like NATO members," he added.

"So the transparency should be a two-way mechanism. If you are open to me, I will be open to you. Otherwise, we could not open our military facilities to other countries," Qian said, adding that transparency should be more than communication and mutual visits. About 2,200 members of the CPPCC National Committee are gathered in Beijing for the annual session of China's top political advisory body.

Zhao Yanrong contributed to this story.