Chinese defense minister, Liang Guanglie, visited Singapore on Friday to participate in a dialogue on Asia-Pacific security. This is the first time a Chinese defense minister attended the annual summit on Asia security, also known as Shangri-La Dialogue, organized by the International Institute for Strategic Studies (IISS) based in London.
The Minister’s participation shows that China pursues defensive and transparent national defense policy , and it is also a sign of mutual military trust with other countries.
This year’s Shangri-La Dialogue will gather the Defence Ministers and senior officers from 28 countries in Asia-Pacific this Friday to Sunday. The annual meeting is held at the Shangri-La Hotel in Singapore since 2002.
On this occasion, General Liang will present the Chinese defense policy and express the unwavering determination of China to pursue the path of peaceful development, he will meet U.S. Secretary of Defense Robert Gates and military leaders of some countries to promote bilateral military relations.
In fact, China has continued to engage actively in military exchanges with other countries to establish military confidence. Most recently, the 15 to 25 May, General Liang visited Singapore, Indonesia and the Philippines. The Chief of General Staff of the People’s Liberation Army (PLA) of China, Chen Bingde, conducted a one week visit to the United States in mid-May. Earlier this year in January, Mr. Gates visited China and met with Chinese President Hu Jintao, who is also chairman of the Central Military Commission, to discuss bilateral military relations.
In recent years, with the rise of the Chinese economy, some politicians and Western media, preoccupied with the military spending of China, expressed concern about its growing military power and opacity. In an article entitled “The Chinese warships are almost ready,” published April 7 by the newspaper The New York Times, it says that efforts to modernize China’s military “has generated among foreign government fears that the China uses a stronger force for expansionist or seek regional dominance.”
Contrasting with this comment, the 7th White Paper on National Defense of China, published March 31 by the Information Office of the Council of State Affairs of China, said that China adheres to a defensive national defense policy, which is determined by the development path of China’s fundamental objectives, foreign policy, its historical and cultural traditions.
The latest example of the desire to make Chinese military affairs more transparent, the Ministry of Defence has given his first regular press conference in Beijing April 27.
In recent years, the expenditure for national defense of China generally represented 1.4% of Gross Domestic Product (GDP), while the numbers of major developed countries of the world remained in the range of 3% to 4%, according to the spokesman of Chinese Ministry of Defense, Geng Yansheng.
Till December 2010, China had involved 17,390 military staff in 19 UN peacekeeping missions. Nine staff have lost their lives during these missions. In total, China has dispatched more peacekeepers than any other permanent members of the Security Council of the UN.
Moreover, China has set a non-threatening, “no first use” policy that never use nuclear weapons first, at any time, under any circumstances.
Despite the concerns of Western countries, China has continued its defensive and transparent national defense policy, advocated the peaceful development and actively contributed to peace and stability in the world.