Army to crush any Taiwan independence plot
China published on Monday a white paper on national defense, reaffirming its determination to crush any "Taiwan independence" attempt at all costs and reassure the world of its pursuit of peaceful development that will pose "no obstacle or threat to any one."
The 85-page white paper, the fifth of its kind since 1995, was titled "China's National Defense in 2004" and released by the Information Office of the State Council, China's cabinet.
The publication of the white paper was intended to "illustrate China's national defense policies and the progress made in national defense and army building over the past two years," said the information office.
Observing that "peace and development remain the dominating themes of the times," the white paper says that "factors of uncertainty, instability and insecurity are on the increase" in the global security situation.
"The separatist activities of the 'Taiwan independence' forces have increasingly become the biggest immediate threat to China's sovereignty and territorial integrity as well as peace and stability on both sides of the Taiwan Straits and the Asia-Pacific region as a whole," the white paper says.
"The Taiwan authorities under Chen Shui-bian have recklessly challenged the status quo that both sides of the Straits belong to one and the same China, and markedly escalated the 'Taiwan independence' activities designed to split China."
"The situation in the relations between the two sides of the Taiwan Straits is grim," it says.
The paper also criticizes the United States for its continuous arms sales to Taiwan which, it says, increases both "quantitatively and qualitatively," despite Washington's repeated commitment to adhere to the one-China policy and oppose "Taiwan independence."
The US action is "sending a wrong signal to the Taiwan authorities" and "does not serve a stable situation across the Taiwan Straits."
"It is the sacred responsibility of the Chinese armed forces to stop the 'Taiwan independence' forces from splitting the country," says the paper.
"We will never allow anyone to split Taiwan from China through whatever means," the paper says. "Should the Taiwan authorities go so far as to make a reckless attempt that constitutes a major incident of 'Taiwan independence', the Chinese people and armed forces will resolutely and thoroughly crush it at any cost."
The paper also points out that the Chinese government will continue to adhere to the basic principles of "peaceful reunification" and "one country, two systems" while handling the Taiwan issue.
"So long as the Taiwan authorities accept the one-China principle and stop their separatist activities aimed at 'Taiwan independence', cross-Straits talks can be held at any time on officially ending the state of hostility between the two sides, including on the establishment of a confidence-building mechanism in the military field," it says.
The white paper pledges that China will persist in taking the road of peaceful development and unswervingly pursue a national defense policy "defensive in nature."
"China will never go for expansion, nor will it ever seek hegemony," it says.
The paper says that the development goal for China to strive for in the first two decades of this century is to build a moderately prosperous society in an all-round way. "China will mainly rely on its own strength for development, and therefore poses no obstacle or threat to any one," it adds.
The white paper reveals in details China's defense spending and how the money was used in the past two years. It says that China, whose GDP (gross domestic product) in 2002 and 2003 was 10,517.234 billion yuan (1.267 trillion US dollars) and 11,725.194 billion yuan (1.412 trillion dollars) respectively, only spent 170.778 billion yuan (20.57 billion dollars) and 190.787 billion yuan (22.98 billion dollars) respectively on national defense in the corresponding year. China's defense budget for 2004 is 211.701 billion yuan (25.50 billion dollars).
"The absolute amount of China's defense expenditure has long been lower than those of some major Western countries, and the proportion to the GDP and state financial expenditure has also been relatively low," says the paper, citing figures of 2003 which showed that China's defense expenditure amounted to only 5.69 percent of that of the United States, 56.78 percent of that of Japan, 37.07 percent of that of the United Kingdom, and 75.94 percent of that of France.
The increased part of China's defense expenditure has primarily been used for increasing the salaries and allowances of the military personnel, further improving the social insurance system for servicemen, supporting the structural and organizational reform of the military, increasing investment in the development of high-caliber talents in the military, and moderately increasing equipment expenses, the white paper explains.
On the issues of arms control, disarmament and non-proliferation, the white paper says that the proliferation of weapons of mass destruction (WMD) and their means of delivery has become one of the major factors affecting the international security situation.
China maintains that the international community should safeguard the international regime of arms control, disarmament and non-proliferation treaties and "persist in multilateralism," says the paper.
It says that China pursues a policy of not supporting, not encouraging and not assisting other countries to develop WMD, resolutely opposes the proliferation of WMD and actively participates in the diplomatic efforts of the international community to deal with non-proliferation issues.
"China's non-proliferation export control measures are basically in conformity with the current international practice," it adds.
"At present, the key to pushing forward the international arms control and disarmament process is to break the deadlock at the Conference on Disarmament (CD) in Geneva," it points out.
China supports the Conference on Disarmament in its efforts to start substantive work on four topics, namely nuclear disarmament, the Fissile Material Cut-off Treaty (FMCT), security assurances to non-nuclear-weapon states, and prevention of an arms race in outer space.
"In the current situation, the importance and urgency of providing security assurances for non-nuclear-weapon states has become more prominent," the white paper says. "China supports the negotiation and conclusion of an international legally binding instrument on this issue."
According to the white paper, "uncertain factors linger in the settlement of the nuclear issue on the Korean Peninsula" and as a result, the foundation for the Six-Party Talks involving the Democratic People's Republic of Korea, the United States, China, the Republic of Korea, Russia and Japan "is not solid enough."
The white paper also makes detailed introduction of China's military reform
with Chinese characteristics, management of the defense assets, military service
system, national defense mobilization and reserve force building, science,
technology and industry for national defense, and relations between the armed
forces and the people, as well as the country's security cooperation with the