2011-05-12 (China Military Analysis cited from Xinhuanet) — The third round of China and U.S. security & economic dialogue in Washington concluded Tuesday with the two sides agreeing to a framework to boost economic ties and military trust. The Sino-U.S. relations have been highlighted again in these days by the world media.
People Forum had an exclusive interview Wednesday with Professor and Major General Pan Zhenqiang, who was Director of Strategic Research Institute, China’s National Defense University; and is currently the senior advisory member of China Reform Forum, which is a dynamic think tank dedicated to advancing cooperation and understanding between China and other countries by conducting strategic studies on issues related to the development of China’s reform and security.When talking about China’s military budget for 2011, Professor Pan argues against some foreign media’s wording ‘two-digital growth in military spending’. He holds the view that China’s military budget is increasing, merely due to the international financial crisis. Therefore, it is reasonable to spend more money on personnel, logistics and military equipment maintenance, etc. The military budget of China is much lower compared with other major powers.
Professor Pan believes that China’s existing smaller stockpile of fissile material is sufficient for current modernization. But if the U.S. moves its missile defense and space weapons plans forward, Beijing should be cautious and the attitude may be ‘wait and see’ to work out how U.S. proceed the programs. “China has no reason to change the basic policy of nuclear weaponry,” he adds.
Pan thinks China’s military modernization is necessary, while it’s not the top priority. China tries to upgrade the defense capabilities, for example, to develop the first aircraft carrier, purely for self-defense. He stresses China is now facing the challenge of soft power and the advanced military technology. What should China do would be to focus on the military technological advancement.
Western media tend to describe China’s peaceful rise as a military threat and try to drive a wedge between China and its neighbors. Professor Pan says China commits to creating a stable and peaceful international environment, particularly with its neighbors. Without the peaceful neighborhood, China can not concentrate on the domestic development. As for disputes between China and neighbors, all the problems should be settled at the negotiating table through bilateral and peaceful ways, he says.
Pan also mentions the western media exaggerating and deliberately hyping up the test flight of China’s J-20 stealth fighter. There is still a long way for China to “challenge” the U.S. space domination. China has no mood and intention to involve in a military race with any major power, and not will in the future.