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China's National Defense in 2006
Updated: 2006-12-29 17:40

Reserve Force Building

As a component of the PLA, the reserve force receives priority in the building of the defense reserve. The reserve force conducts peacetime training as provided for in relevant regulations, assists in maintaining order when necessary pursuant to the law, and activates its units in wartime in observance of the state's mobilization order.

In recent years, while keeping its overall size unchanged, the reserve force has reduced the number of Army reserve units, while increasing the numbers of reserve units of the Navy, Air Force and Second Artillery Force, the proportion of specialized technical reserve units and the number of logistical and equipment support reserve units, thus accomplishing the task of forming new reserve units of the Navy, Air Force and Second Artillery Force in the Tenth Five-Year Plan period. Most of the PLA's reserve divisions, brigades and regiments have training bases, armament depots, necessary office space and living quarters, and optical-fiber cable communication. With military training as the primary task, the PLA reserve units carry out training strictly pursuant to regulations, ensuring the accomplishment of all training tasks. The focus of training is being shifted from individuals and units to command posts, key technicians and higher levels of training such as joint and live-fire exercises.

VII. Border and Coastal Defense

Adhering to the principles of conducting overall planning, placing equal emphasis on land and sea, giving priority to defense, and integrating defense and administration, China is endeavoring to make its border and coastal defense unified, effective, solid and informationized.

Border and Coastal Defense System

China's border and coastal defense is under the unified leadership of the State Council and the CMC, and practices an administration system of sharing responsibilities between the military and the local authorities. The State Commission of Border and Coastal Defense, composed of the relevant departments of the State Council and the PLA, and under the dual leadership of the State Council and the CMC, guides and coordinates China's border and coastal defense. All military area commands, as well as border and coastal provinces, prefectures and counties have commissions to guide and coordinate border and coastal defense within their respective jurisdictions.

The PLA is the main force for defending China's borders and coasts. The PLA border defense force has a three-level structure, namely, regiment, battalion and company. The PLA coastal defense force has a five-level structure, namely, division, brigade, regiment, battalion and company. In 2003, the PLA border defense force took over the defense of the China-DPRK border and the Yunnan section of the China-Myanmar border from the border public security force, thus enabling the state to integrate land border defense and administration. The border public security force is tasked with safeguarding security and maintaining social order in border and coastal areas. Within the border public security force there are contingents in provinces (autonomous regions or municipalities directly under the central government), detachments, groups, border police substations and frontier inspection stations in border and coastal areas, border inspection stations in open ports, and marine police force in coastal waters. Since China launched its reform and opening-up program, the state has consolidated border and coastal law-enforcement functions in organizations responsible for public security, customs, inspection and quarantine, maritime surveillance, fisheries administration, marine affairs and environmental protection. The state has also established and reinforced the border public security force, as well as border and coastal law-enforcement contingents for marine affairs, anti-smuggling, fisheries administration and maritime surveillance.

Building Border and Coastal Defense

China has promulgated the Law on National Defense, the Law on the Territorial Sea and the Contiguous Zone, the Law on the Exclusive Economic Zone and the Continental Shelf and other relevant laws and regulations, and updated its border and coastal defense policies and regulations pursuant to international laws and practices, to manage its border and sea areas in conformity with the law. China endeavors to strengthen its border and coastal defense, administration and control, and build a modern border and coastal defense force featuring joint military-police-civilian efforts in defense and administration. Over the past decade and more, the state has invested more than RMB 2 billion in construction of border defense infrastructure, building over 20,000 km of patrol roads, over 6,000 km of barbed-wire fences and installing some 600 sets of monitoring equipment. Construction of coastal defense infrastructure, including duty piers, monitoring stations and centers and auxiliary facilities has been underway since 2004.

China pursues a good-neighborliness policy, and works to enhance friendship and partnership with its neighbors. It calls for settling boundary and maritime demarcation issues with countries concerned in a fair and equitable manner, and through consultations on the basis of equality. China has signed land border treaties or agreements with Myanmar and 11 other neighboring countries, thus resolving boundary issues left from history with these countries; it is currently negotiating with India and Bhutan to settle boundary issues with those two countries respectively. Since 1996, China has set up bilateral consultation mechanisms on the law of the sea with the Republic of Korea and Japan, to exchange views on maritime demarcation and cooperation. In 2004, the Agreement Between China and Vietnam on the Demarcation of the Beibu Gulf officially entered into force.

China actively promotes border and coastal defense cooperation with its neighbors, strengthens border and coastal defense contacts in different fields and at various levels, and handles in an appropriate manner border- and coastal-defense-related issues with countries concerned. In 2005, the Agreement on Joint Patrols by the Navies of China and Vietnam in the Beibu Gulf was signed, and China respectively signed with the Philippines and Indonesia the Memorandum of Understanding on Maritime Affairs Cooperation and the Memorandum of Understanding on Maritime Cooperation. In July 2006, China and India reopened the border trade route at Nathu La Pass, which links China's Tibet with Sikkim, India. China's border and coastal defense forces, acting strictly in accordance with international law and the agreements and understandings signed by China with its neighbors, have established and improved mechanisms for talks and meetings with their counterparts in the neighboring countries, and conduct law enforcement and anti-terrorism cooperation to jointly maintain peace and stability in border areas and related sea areas.