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  1. Background:
    1. 1949 - Formation of the People's Republic of China: On Oct.1, 1949, Mao Zedong declared the formation of the People's Republic of China.
    2. 1953-59 - Korean War - China fought the US-led UN Forces.
    3. 1958 - Estimated 30 Million Chinese Died in a Famine
    4. 1959 - China crushed rebellion in Tibet, Dalai Lama and followers flee to India.
    5. 1962 - Sino Indian Border war.
    6. 1964 - China tested its first nuclear bomb.
    7. 1971 - China took Taiwan's seat at the UN as the officially recognised Government of China.
    8. 1972 - US President Richard Nixon's pathbreaking visit to China
    9. 1976 - Death of Mao Zedong
    10. 1978 - Deng Xiaoping became the Supreme Chinese leader
    11. June, 1989 - Chinese Army crushed Tiananmen Square protests, killing many people
    12. 1993 - Jiang Zemin became the President of China
    13. 1997 - Death of Deng Xiaoping, Hong Kong returned to China by the British
    14. 2001 - China joins the World Trade Organisation (WTO)
    15. 2003 - Hu Jintao became the sixth President of China
    16. 2003 - Wen Jiabao became the Prime Minister of China
    17. China’s Role in Asia-Pacific Security:
      • Key Role in Asia-Pacific Security: According to the US Defence Department lasting security in Asia-Pacific is not possible without a constructive role by China. As a nuclear weapon state, a leading regional military power and global player with permanent seat in the UN Security Council, China plays a key role in Asia-Pacific security.
      • Post-Cold War Regional Security: In the post Cold-War era, regional security is related to stability in ties among China, the US and Japan. Worsening relations between these countries will have their fallout on the entire region, according to analysts.
      • Unresolved Territorial Disputes: There are a number of unresolved territorial disputes in the region involving maritime boundaries and possible mineral resources. The disputes in the region include the Spratlys Islands, the Paracels, the Senkaku or the Takeshima islands and Russo-Japanese dispute over the Northern Territories.
      • Resurgence of China: China?s emergence as an economic power accompanied by a huge military modernisation programme has made its neighbours apprehensive. In 1996 China launched missiles near Taiwan and practically stopped all shipping in the Taiwan Straits which are international waters. The region is finding it difficult to adjust to a resurgent China.
      • Counter Balance by the US: Japan and Taiwan are trying to strengthen their alliance with the US because of China's belligerent actions. The US is consolidating its position in the region and has argued for a beefed-up missile defence in the region to address concerns about China.

    18. Modernisation of China’s Military:
      • Increase in Defence Spending: In March 2001, China announced an increase in its defence allocation by 17.7 per cent. The enhancement marks a double-digit increase in defence spending for the 13th year in a row. Analysts feel that the China?s defence spending is actually much more than what is officially quoted.
      • Conventional Weapons: Analysts point out that in the last five years, China has received conventional weapons, hardware and military technology worth $4 billion, making it the ninth major receipt in world today.
      • Seventh Major Arms Exporter: In the last five years, China has exported arms worth $ 2.5 billion making it the seventh major arms exporter in the world.
      • Enhanced Air Superiority: China?s air superiority will be enhanced by its recent import of SU-27 SK Flanker aircraft, SU-37 multi-role aircraft, KA-31 AEW Helicopters and others. China has also been able to obtain the design and technology of their weapons. This has increased its air defence and offence capabilities considerably.
      • Enhanced Naval Capability: China has recently acquired Kilo-class submarines, along with deals for Sovermenny class destroyers. This shows that China?s intentions of not confining itself to the South China Sea alone but to penetrate deep into the Indian Ocean as well, according to analysts.
      • Range of Missiles: China has a range of ballistic missiles some of which carry „beyond continental" reach. Analysts point out that most of these lethal missiles are manufactured by China?s own defence industries.
      • PLA being Modernised: Defence experts point out that the People?s Liberation Army (PLA) of China is being modernised to carry out any kind of future war under modern high-tech conditions. The largest standing army in the world has reduced from 4.75 million in 1980s to 2.5 million in the late 1990s.
      • Military Modernisation to Become a Global Power: China has been carrying out its military modernisation for the last two decades, especially after the Gulf War, according to Defence analysts. It has carried out comprehensive military reforms and modernisation programmes with an aim of achieving a global power status.
      • Shift from Land-Based Forces to Naval and Air Forces: Defence experts point out that China has shifted emphasis away from land-based forces along the Russian borders in favour of PLA?s navy (PLAN) and air force (PLAAF), stationed mainly in South China.
      • Increase in Navy and Air Force Budget: The navy's share in China's recent defence budget increased by 35 per cent and that of the air force by 29 per cent. The army?s share was reduced by 29 per cent.
      • Deployment of Modern Defence Equipment: PLAN (navy) and PLAAF (air force) will now deploy air refuelable fighter aircraft, the latest short and long range air-to-air weapons, airborne early warning aircraft (AWACS), anti-submarine (ASW) and anti-surface warfare (ASuW) platforms.
      • Intelligence Facility on the Coco Island: Defence analysts point out that China has already established an extensive signals intelligence facility on the Great Coco Island in Myanmar which is just a few miles from Andamans. This will enable it to monitor Indian missile launches from Balasore and rocket and satellite launches from Sriharikota.
      • Naval Bases in Myanmar: The Chinese navy (PLAN) is associated with Myanmar naval bases at Munaung, Hainggyi, Katan Island, and Zadalkyi Island, according to defence analysts. China also intends to construct a road and waterway link from its southern Yunan province to the Myanmar port of Yangon, which will provide it direct access to the Bay of Bengal.

    19. China’s Military Reforms:
      • Waging Successful battles in the Information Wars: Mr. Jiang Zemin, the chairman of China's Central Military Commission (CMC) indicated that China is embarking on a scientific process of military reform to wage successful battles in the emerging era of information war.
      • Pruning the Strength of the PLA: There are indications that the People's Liberation Army (PLA) may prune its strength of servicemen by 200,000 personnel by 2005.
      • Reinforcing Overall Combat Capabilities: The other objective was to reinforce the army's mobility, competitiveness and its overall combat capabilities.

    20. China's Foreign Policy:
      1. Significant Change in China's Foreign Policy in 2006: Analysts point out that the year 2006 witnessed a significant change in China's foreign policy, signalling that the Asian giant was ready to accept its new status as a world power.
      2. China's Concept of a Harmonious World, a Theoretical Basis for Its Changed Role in International Affairs: China is now acknowledging its status as a major power in the international system, as is evidenced by the development of a theory of international relations - the concept of "harmonious relations". The concept of harmonious relations developed by the Chinese President Hu Jintao encompasses the broad notions of multilateralism, prosperity for all through common development, tolerance and diversity, according to analysts.
      3. Reasons Behind China Playing a More Active Role in International Affairs:
        • Active International Role to Sustain Its Double-Digit Economic Growth: Analysts point out that China has to play a more active role in international affairs to sustain its booming double-digit economic growth. China imports a large proportion of oil and other natural resources required to sustain its economic growth. Thus, China has begun to actively engage energy and natural resources rich countries of Latin America, Africa, and Central Asia. These countries are also valuable as emerging markets for Chinese products.
        • Stable Security Environment is Required for Sustaining the Economic Growth: Ensuring regional peace and stability is essential for China as economic growth can be sustained only in a stable security environment in the immediate neighbourhood, according analysts. This can be achieved only when China plays an active role in international affairs.
      4. China's Diplomatic Success:
          Resolution of the North Korean Problem: China won global appreciation for bringing North Korea back to the negotiating table which resulted in North Korea agreeing to stop its nuclear programme in exchange for oil and security guarantees. China's mediatory role in the resolution of the North Korean problem - a potential global flash point - has given it a considerable clout in international affairs, according to analysts.
        • Increase in China's Contribution to UN Peacekeeping Troops and Peace Building Fund: China increased its contribution to UN peacekeeping troops and also pledged $3 million to the UN Peacekeeping Fund.
        • China also provided aid to 86 developing countries in 2006.

      5. Criticism of China's New Diplomacy:
        • China's Military Modernisation Programme Criticised: Countries like the US and Japan have criticised China's military modernisation programme, pointing to the opaque nature of the programme.
        • China's Willingness to Deal with Corrupt and Oppressive Regimes Criticised: Human rights groups have criticised China's willingness to deal with corrupt and oppressive regimes in countries like Angola and Sudan. China has used its power at the UN in defence of African countries like Sudan widely condemned by the West.
      6. China's Growing International Status Irrefutable: Analysts point out that China has proved its growing international status by taking leadership of a number of regional and international forums, initiating bilateral security dialogues and military exchanges, and providing aid and technical assistance to countries in Africa where the traditional powers like the US are cautious to tread.

    21. China's Economy:
      • Economic Development of China: The People?s Republic of China (PRC) is on a path of growth marked by consistent economic growth, radical restructuring of its State Owned Enterprises (SOEs), Industrial and Infrastructural development, growing Foreign Direct Investment (FDI), a positive trade balance, and as a member of the World Trade Organisation (WTO).
      • China has $1 Trillion Foreign Exchange Reserves: In January 2007, China's foreign exchange reserves, the largest in the world, topped $1 trillion for the first time. This put pressure on the Government to let the currency (yuan) become stronger to help rein in lending and avoid the risk of inflation.
      • China has Doubled its National Output in Five Years: Analysts point out that China has almost doubled its national output in five years with unprecedented industrialisation, urbanisation and inward investment. The Gross Domestic Product (GDP) of China is currently $ 2.7 trillion and the annual per capita income of China's 1.3 billion people exceeds $2,000, way behind that of the US ($42,000).
      • China Fourth Largest Economy in the World: China surpasses Britain as the fourth largest economy in the world. The top three economies in the world are the US, Japan and Germany. However, China is catching up with its double digit economic growth compared to a single digit (around 4%) growth of the other leading economies.
      • Fears of Economic Overheating: Investments in construction and factories in China have increased by per cent raising concerns of overheating of the economy. The falling prices of steel and cars indicated overcapacity in these sectors.
      • Majority of China's Population is Poor: Analysts point out that majority of the population in China is poor by western standards. The National Bureau of Statistics pointed out that 27 years of double-digit economic growth have taken the average income of the Chinese to $2,000 making it better than Morocco, but far behind the US, Europe and Japan.

    22. China's Increasing Defence Budget:
      • Annual Increase of 18 Per Cent in 2008: China's official defence budget for the year 2008 would be $57.2 billion, with an increase of 17.6 per cent over 2007. Officially, China's defence expenditure was just 1.4 per cent of its GDP and 10 times less than the US ($600 billion).
      • China Accused of Understating Its Defence Budget: The US and Japan accuse China of understating its defence budget. According to Pentagon reports the real defence budget of China is over $100 billion, when the overall military spending is accounted for.
      • China's Army the Best-Funded in Asia: According to a Pentagon report the Chinese army is the best-funded in Asia and third in the world after the US and Russia.
      • China's Defence Spending to Modernise Its Forces: The Pentagon report points to China's efforts to increase its ballistic missile strength and modernise its conventional forces with large defence acquisitions from abroad ranging from advanced fighter jets to computerised information systems.
      • China Denies Understating Its Defence Spending: China's Defence Minister Cao Guangchuan denied that his country has understated its defence spending by insisting that raising the living standards of the country's poor made it impossible to massively increase defence expenditure.

  2. Current Situation in China:
    1. China’s White Paper on National Defence in 2008 (January 2009):
      • China committed to peaceful development and military modernisation, according to a white paper issued by China on national defence in January 2009.
      • China’s ambition basically to accomplish mechanisation [of the military] and make major progress in information technology by 2020 and realising modernisation by mid-21st century.
      • China’s strategic guideline of active defence aimed at winning local wars in conditions of information technology.
      • China aimed at developing a complete set of scientific modes of organisation, institutions and ways of operation by 2020.
      • Specified China’s long-standing policy of “no first use of nuclear weapons.” Reaffirmed China's will to implement “a self-defence nuclear strategy”.
      • The Second Artillery Force is China’s core force of strategic deterrence. “In peacetime, the nuclear missiles of the Second Artillery Force are not aimed at any country.”
      • The Chinese Military would take a more open approach to communicating and exchanging with other militaries for world peace and stability.
      • China’s security situation was improving steadily. The situation across the Taiwan Straits had taken a significantly positive turn.
      • China was still confronted with long-term, complicated, and diverse security threats and challenges - the threats of separatist forces of Taiwan independence, East Turkistan independence and Tibet independence.
      • The US continues to sell arms to Taiwan in violation of the principles established in the three Sino-US Joint Communiqués, causing serious harm to the Sino-US relations as well as to peace and stability across the Taiwan Straits.
      • China’s defence expenditure has remained at a reasonable level. Though defence expenditure increased from 1988 to 2008, the total amount and per-service-person share remained lower than those of some major powers.
      • China would never seek hegemony or engage in military expansion now or in future, no matter how developed it becomes.

    2. Chinese Economy:
      • China became the Third -Largest Economy in the World Overtaking Germany: In January 2009, China overtook Germany to become the world?s third-largest economy earlier than expected. The estimates for China's GDP were revised higher with the economy believed to have grown by 13 per cent in 2007, up from an earlier estimate of 11.9 per cent.
      • China’s Economy Slowed down in 2008: China?s economic growth slowed down in 2008 with the GDP growth recorded at a seven-year-low of 9 per cent. The widening global financial crisis affected the world's fastest growing economy.
      • China Declared Emergency Over Severe Drought: In February 2009, China declared a state of emergency after the worst drought in half-a-century wiped out crops in northern China with millions of people left without drinking water. However, China?s wheat supply and grain security would not be influenced by the drought that had parched more than 40 per cent of the country?s wheat land, according to the China?s Agricultural Minister.
      • The rising unemployment would be the biggest challenge to China’s economy in 2009, according to a survey conducted by China's Economic Monitoring and Analysis Centre.

  3. Conclusion:
    1. India Concerned about China's Rapid Military Modernisation and Military Infrastructure Development:
      • Defence analysts point out that India is concerned at China's rapid modernisation of its 2.3 million strong People's Liberation Army (PLA).
      • India also remains concerned about China's military infrastructure development in Tibet and its growing military cooperation with countries in India's neighbourhood like Myanmar, Sri Lanka, Bangladesh, Maldives and Seychelles.

    2. Sino-Pakistan Military Cooperation a Complex Challenge for India: Defence analysts opine that the trans-border military index between India and China could grow in favour of China in view of China acquiring new capabilities like anti-satellite weapons. The continuing Sino-Pakistan military cooperation also presents a complex challenge for India.
    3. China Adopting a Two-Pronged Strategy to Manage its Growing International Status:
      • Reassuring Neighbours of Its Peaceful Intentions: Analysts point out that China has adopted a two-pronged strategy to manage its growing international status. The strategy lays emphasis on reassuring the neighbours of China's peaceful intentions. China has tried to ally the fears of its neighbours who continue to suspect the modernisation drive of the PLA.
      • Modernising the PLA: The other part of the strategy is to modernise the PLA into a military force capable of significant power projection. China has been upgrading its nuclear arsenal to include greater number of mobile intercontinental ballistic missiles like the DF-31A and the JL-2 submarine-launched missiles.

    4. Joint Military Exercises Used as a Diplomatic Tool to Allay Criticism of the Opaque Nature of Its Military Modernisation: Analysts observe that China has been using joint military exercises with its neighbours as a diplomatic tool to allay fears and criticism of the opaque nature of its military modernisation. China held joint exercises with India in 2007 and 2008. It also conducted joint exercises with Russia and other Central Asian countries under the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation. China also conducted joint training with Thailand's armed forces.
    5. China Emerging as Military Rival to the US - China's Military Build-Up Put Regional Military Balances at Risk: The US is concerned at China's rapid military modernisation. The US feels that China has the potential to compete militarily with it. It also pointed out that China's military build-up in the last decade puts regional military balances at risk.
    6. China's Proactive Diplomacy in the New Era: Analysts point out that China has been pushing for a proactive role in the new era under the diplomatic banner of peace, development and cooperation. China has brought out a white paper in this regard which emphasises the need for a long-lasting and stable international environment of peace for China's development, which in turn, will promote world peace and progress.
Published date : 27 Jan 2010 05:03PM

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