China: white paper describes National Defense in the New Era

The Chinese army (PLA) is establishing a modernized weaponry and equipment system by commissioning the likes of Type 15 tanks, Type 052D destroyers, J-20 fighter jets and DF-26 intermediate and long-range ballistic missiles, according to a white paper issued by the Defense ministry on Wednesday, 24 July. Liu Xuanzun reports on Global Times.

China white paper describes National Defense in the New Era
Chinese Type 15 light tank in a live demonstration at China AirShow, November 2018 (Picture source: Army Recognition)

The white paper "China's National Defense in the New Era," released by the Information Office of the State Council, said China's armed forces are optimizing the overall composition of its weaponry and equipment, coordinating the efforts of all services and arms in this regard, promoting the balanced development of main battle equipment, information systems, and support equipment, with a view to comprehensively raise standardization, serial development and interoperability. Older equipment is being phased out and a system is being created that is mainly comprised of new and high-tech weaponry and equipment.

The weapons mentioned in the white paper are some of China's newest and are world-class, military observers said. The weapons listed in the white paper are likely already crucial parts of the Chinese military's arsenal and are combat-ready, they said.

The Type 15 tank is a lightweight tank capable of operating in rough terrain such as high altitude plateaus and mountainous areas, and can also be useful in landing missions, experts told the Global Times.

The Type 052D guided-missile destroyer is considered the "Chinese Aegis" due to its outstanding detection and air defense capabilities.

Considered one of the world's best fighter jets, the J-20 is stealth-capable that could rival the USAF's F-22 Raptor (no reference to the F-35 Lightning II, though).

The DF-26 missile has been dubbed the anti-ship ballistic missile, which can destroy moving mid-sized to large vessels including aircraft carriers, providing strong strategic deterrence to potential enemies, experts said.

The People's Liberation Army (PLA) has reformed the leadership and command system. Adhering to the general principle of "the Central Military Commission (CMC) exercising overall leadership, the Theater Commands responsible for military operations and the services focusing on developing capabilities," the PLA endeavors to enhance the CMC's centralized and unified leadership and its functions of strategic command and strategic management, Xinhua News Agency reports. The PLA has dismantled the long-established systems of general departments, military area commands and the force composition with a dominating land force, and established new leadership, management and operational command systems, said the white paper.

The size, structure and force composition of the armed forces have been optimized. Following the instruction to optimize structures, develop new-type forces, adjust proportions and reduce sizes, the PLA is striving to transform from a quantity-and-scale model to that of quality and efficiency, as well as from being personnel-intensive to one that is science and technology-intensive, according to the white paper.

Reform of military policies and institutions has been advanced. China's armed forces take combat effectiveness as the criterion in the reform of military policies and institutions and encourage the initiative, enthusiasm and creativity of all members of the armed forces. Reform is designed to build and improve the system of socialist military policies and institutions with Chinese characteristics, said the white paper.

In promoting defense and military development in all respects, the armed forces have been placing theoretical and political buildup at the top of the agenda, promoting innovation in defense science and technology and military theory, establishing a modernized weaponry and equipment system, building a combat-oriented modern logistics system, strengthening strategic management, governing the military with strict discipline and in accordance with the law, improving Party conduct, upholding integrity and continuing the fight against corruption, and modernizing national defense mobilization, according to the white paper.

The Ministry of Veterans Affairs has been set up. The relationship between the military and the government, and the relationship between the military and the people are getting even closer, it said.

The missions and tasks of China's armed forces were laid out in seven aspects:
- Safeguarding national territorial sovereignty and maritime rights and interests;
- Maintaining combat readiness;
- Carrying out military training in real combat conditions;
- Safeguarding interests in major security fields;
- Countering terrorism and maintaining stability;
- Protecting China's overseas interests;
- Participating in disaster rescue and relief.


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