Defense Policy

Resolutely safeguarding China's sovereignty, security and development interests is the fundamental goal of China's national defense in the new era.

China’s Defensive National Defense Policy in the New Era

The socialist system of China, the strategic decision to follow the path of peaceful development, the independent foreign policy of peace, and the best of cultural traditions – considering peace and harmony as fundamentals – determine that China will pursue a national defense policy that is defensive in nature.

Resolutely Safeguarding China’s Sovereignty, Security and Development Interests

This is the fundamental goal of China’s national defense in the new era.

China’s national defense aims:

  • to deter and resist aggression;
  • to safeguard national political security, the people’s security and social stability;
  • to oppose and contain “Taiwan independence”;
  • to crack down on proponents of separatist movements such as “Tibet independence” and the creation of “East Turkistan”;
  • to safeguard national sovereignty, unity, territorial integrity and security;
  • to safeguard China’s maritime rights and interests;
  • to safeguard China’s security interests in outer space, electromagnetic space and cyberspace;
  • to safeguard China’s overseas interests; and
  • to support the sustainable development of the country.

China resolutely safeguards its national sovereignty and territorial integrity. The South China Sea islands and Diaoyu Islands are inalienable parts of the Chinese territory. China exercises its national sovereignty to build infrastructure and deploy necessary defensive capabilities on the islands and reefs in the South China Sea, and to conduct patrols in the waters of Diaoyu Islands in the East China Sea. China is committed to resolving related disputes through negotiations with those states directly involved on the basis of respecting historical facts and international law. China continues to work with regional countries to jointly maintain peace and stability. It firmly upholds freedom of navigation and overflight by all countries in accordance with international law and safeguards the security of sea lines of communication (SLOCs).

To solve the Taiwan question and achieve complete reunification of the country is in the fundamental interests of the Chinese nation and essential to realizing national rejuvenation. China adheres to the principles of “peaceful reunification”, and “one country, two systems”, promotes peaceful development of cross-Strait relations, and advances peaceful reunification of the country. Meanwhile, China resolutely opposes any attempts or actions to split the country and any foreign interference to this end. China must be and will be reunited. China has the firm resolve and the ability to safeguard national sovereignty and territorial integrity, and will never allow the secession of any part of its territory by anyone, any organization or any political party by any means at any time. We make no promise to renounce the use of force, and reserve the option of taking all necessary measures. This is by no means targeted at our compatriots in Taiwan, but at the interference of external forces and the very small number of “Taiwan independence” separatists and their activities. The PLA will resolutely defeat anyone attempting to separate Taiwan from China and safeguard national unity at all costs.

Never Seeking Hegemony, Expansion or Spheres of Influence

This is the distinctive feature of China’s national defense in the new era.

Though a country may become strong, bellicosity will lead to its ruin. The Chinese nation has always loved peace. Since the beginning of modern times, the Chinese people have suffered from aggressions and wars, and have learned the value of peace and the pressing need for development. Therefore, China will never inflict such sufferings on any other country. Since its founding 70 years ago, the People’s Republic of China (PRC) has never started any war or conflict. Since the introduction of reform and opening-up, China has been committed to promoting world peace, and has voluntarily downsized the PLA by over 4 million troops. China has grown from a poor and weak country to be the world’s second largest economy neither by receiving handouts from others nor by engaging in military expansion or colonial plunder. Instead, it has developed through its people’s hard work and its efforts to maintain peace. China has made every effort to create favorable conditions for its development through maintaining world peace, and has equally endeavored to promote world peace through its own development. China sincerely hopes that all countries will choose the path of peaceful development and jointly prevent conflicts and wars.

China is committed to developing friendly cooperation with all countries on the basis of the Five Principles of Peaceful Coexistence. It respects the rights of all peoples to independently choose their own development path, and stands for the settlement of international disputes through equal dialogue, negotiation and consultation. China is opposed to interference in the internal affairs of others, abuse of the weak by the strong, and any attempt to impose one’s will on others. China advocates partnerships rather than alliances and does not join any military bloc. It stands against aggression and expansion, and opposes arbitrary use or threat of arms. The development of China’s national defense aims to meet its rightful security needs and contribute to the growth of the world’s peaceful forces. History proves and will continue to prove that China will never follow the beaten track of big powers in seeking hegemony. No matter how it might develop, China will never threaten any other country or seek any sphere of influence.

Implementing the Military Strategic Guideline for a New Era

This is the strategic guidance for China’s national defense in the new era.

The military strategic guideline for a new era adheres to the principles of defense, self-defense and post-strike response, and adopts active defense. It keeps to the stance that “we will not attack unless we are attacked, but we will surely counterattack if attacked”, places emphasis on both containing and winning wars, and underscores the unity of strategic defense and offense at operational and tactical levels.

Implementing the military strategic guideline for a new era, China’s armed forces strive to keep in alignment with and contribute to the general strategies of the Communist Party of China (CPC) and the country, adopt a holistic approach to national security, strengthen the awareness of potential dangers, crises and wars, and actively adapt to the new landscape of strategic competition, the new demands of national security, and new developments in modern warfare, so as to effectively fulfill their tasks and missions in the new era.

To respond to the security threats facing the country, China’s armed forces take solid steps to strengthen military preparedness and comprehensively enhance combat capabilities for the new era. Efforts have been made to build the military strategy into a balanced and stable one for the new era, which focuses on defense and coordinates multiple domains. Based on the idea that China’s national defense is the responsibility of all Chinese people, China’s armed forces give full play to the overall power of the people’s war by innovating in its strategies, tactics and measures.

China is always committed to a nuclear policy of no first use of nuclear weapons at any time and under any circumstances, and not using or threatening to use nuclear weapons against non-nuclear-weapon states or nuclear-weapon-free zones unconditionally. China advocates the ultimate complete prohibition and thorough destruction of nuclear weapons. China does not engage in any nuclear arms race with any other country and keeps its nuclear capabilities at the minimum level required for national security. China pursues a nuclear strategy of self-defense, the goal of which is to maintain national strategic security by deterring other countries from using or threatening to use nuclear weapons against China.

Continuing to Strengthen the Military in the Chinese Way

This is the path forward for China’s national defense in the new era.

Building a fortified national defense and a strong military commensurate with the country’s international standing and its security and development interests is a strategic task for China’s socialist modernization. Drawing lessons from history, China strengthens its national defense and military to provide security guarantee for its peaceful development.

To strengthen China’s national defense and military in the new era, it is imperative to comprehensively implement Xi Jinping’s thinking on strengthening the military, thoroughly deliver on Xi Jinping’s thinking on military strategy, continue to enhance the political loyalty of the armed forces, strengthen them through reform and technology, run them in accordance with the law, and focus on the capabilities to fight and win. Efforts will be made to advance the integrated development of mechanization and informationization, speed up the development of intelligent military, create a modernized military force structure with Chinese characteristics, improve and develop socialist military institutions with Chinese features, and constantly enhance the capabilities to fulfill the missions and tasks in the new era.

The strategic goals for the development of China’s national defense and military in the new era are:

  • to generally achieve mechanization by the year 2020 with significantly enhanced informationization and greatly improved strategic capabilities;
  • to comprehensively advance the modernization of military theory, organizational structure, military personnel, and weaponry and equipment in step with the modernization of the country and basically complete the modernization of national defense and the military by 2035; and
  • to fully transform the people’s armed forces into world-class forces by the mid-21st century.

In the Service of Building of a Community with a Shared Future for Mankind

This is the global significance of China’s national defense in the new era.

The dream of the Chinese people is closely connected with the dreams of peoples around the world. Peace, stability and prosperity in China present opportunities and benefits to the rest of the world. A strong military of China is a staunch force for world peace, stability and the building of a community with a shared future for mankind.

China’s armed forces advocate common, comprehensive, cooperative and sustainable security, uphold justice while pursuing shared interests, and actively participate in the reform of global security governance system. Efforts are made to deepen bilateral and multilateral security cooperation, promote a coordinated, inclusive and complementary cooperation among security mechanisms, and contribute to a security architecture featuring equality, mutual trust, fairness, justice, joint contribution and shared benefits.

Committed to the principle of win-win cooperation, China’s armed forces will fulfill their international responsibilities and obligations, and provide more public security goods to the international community to the best of their capacity. They actively participate in the UN peacekeeping operations (UNPKOs), vessel protection operations, and international efforts in humanitarian assistance and disaster relief (HADR), strengthen international cooperation in arms control and non-proliferation, play a constructive role in the political settlement of hotspot issues, jointly maintain the security of international passages, and make concerted efforts to respond to global challenges such as terrorism, cyber security and major natural disasters, thus making a positive contribution to building a community with a shared future for mankind.