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China to Embrace New 'Active Defense' Strategy

By Franz-Stefan Gady
May 26, 2015
Today, China released its first defense white paper outlining a new military strategy that
emphasizes a more active defense posture and a greater Chinese naval presence farther
from the Peoples Republics shores. Issued by the State Council Information Office, it is the
ninth defense paper published since 1998, but the first to focus exclusively on strategy.
While the document contains various new observations, the principal doctrine of the Chinese
military appears to be unaltered: winning local wars under conditions of informationization.
Thus, network-centric warfare and the growing informatization of the battlefield are seen as
particularly important for the PLAs preparation for military struggle (PMS).
The world revolution in military affairs (RMA) is proceeding to a new stage. Lon g-range,
precise, smart, stealthy and unmanned weapons and equipment are becoming increasingly
sophisticated. Outer space and cyber space have become new commanding heights in
strategic competition among all parties, the paper notes.
Given recent tensions over Chinese maritime claims (some of its offshore neighbors take
provocative actions and reinforce their military presence on Chinas reefs and islands that
they have illegally occupied) and external countries () busy meddling in South China Sea
affairs, the paper places a premium maritime combat readiness:
In line with the evolving form of war and national security situation, the basic point for PMS
will be placed on winning informationized local wars, highlighting maritime military
struggle and maritime PMS.
Additionally, the paper elaborates on Chinese aspirations towards a blue-water navy and an
increased Chinese naval presence outside territorial waters:
In line with the strategic requirement of offshore waters defense and open seas protection, the
PLA Navy (PLAN) will gradually shift its focus from offshore waters defense to the
combination of offshore waters defense with open seas protection, and build a
combined, multi-functional and efficient marine combat force structure. The PLAN will
enhance its capabilities for strategic deterrence and counterattack, maritime maneuvers,
joint operations at sea, comprehensive defense and comprehensive support.
However, despite this grand rhetoric, many Chinese and Western military analysts (see: Is
the Chinese Military Weaker Than We Think?) have in the last few years pointed out that the
Chinese military appears incapable of conducting information-centric, integrated joint
operations, which are required to fight and win future local wars under informatized
conditions whether on shore or in the maritime domain.
Also, at least for now, the major focus of the PLAN will remain on anti-surface warfare
instead of abruptly progressing into new uncharted territories. However, the paper does hint

at the growing Chinese desire to further develop its expeditionary capabilities in the light of
the militarys new more active defense posture:
In line with the strategic requirement of mobile operations and multi-dimensional offense and
defense, the PLA Army (PLAA) will continue to reorient from theater defense to trans-theater
mobility. In the process of building small, multi-functional and modular units, the PLAA will
adapt itself to tasks in different regions, develop the capacity of its combat forces for different
purposes, and construct a combat force structure for joint operations. The PLAA will elevate
its capabilities for precise, multi-dimensional, trans-theater, multi-functional and sustainable
The defense white paper also emphasized that China will accelerate developing its cyberwar
capabilities given that the international strategic competition in cyberspace has been turning
increasingly fiercer. It also plans to further expand its space program, strengthen its nuclear
forces refine the militarys medium- and long-range strike capabilities, and refocus the PLA
Air Forces (PLAAF) mission from from territorial air defense to both defense and offense,
and build an air-space defense force structure that can meet the requirements of
informationized operations.
The paper attests China a generally favorable external environment, however it also singles
out a few regional actors that could spell trouble for Beijing.
For example, with regard to Taiwan, the paper notes that Taiwan independence separatist
forces and their activities are still the biggest threat to the peaceful development of crossStraits relations. It also singles out Japan as one of Chinas biggest current security threats
noting that Tokyo is sparing no effort to dodge the post-war mechanism, overhauling its
military and security policies.
When it comes to Chinas allies, Russia is first and most prominently mentioned in the report,
which emphasizes the strategic partnership between Beijing and Moscow and the need to
foster a comprehensive, diverse and sustainable framework to promote military relations in
more fields and at more levels.
While attacking the United States meddling in the Asia-Pacific region on multiple
occasions in the paper, the report closes with a more conciliatory tone towards Washington
pointing out that:
Chinas armed forces will continue to foster a new model of military relationship with the
U.S. armed forces that conforms to the new model of major-country relations between the two
countries, strengthen defense dialogues, exchanges and cooperation, and improve the CBM
mechanism for the notification of major military activities as well as the rules of behavior for
safety of air and maritime encounters, so as to strengthen mutual trust, prevent risks and
manage crises.

Japan to join U.S., Australia war games amid growing China

By Matt Siegel
May. 26, 2015 - 03:30PM JST
SYDNEY Japan will join a major U.S.-Australian military exercise for the first time in a
sign of growing security links between the three countries as tensions fester over Chinas
island building in the South China Sea.
While only 40 Japanese officers and soldiers will take part in drills involving 30,000 U.S. and
Australian troops in early July, experts said the move showed how Washington wanted to
foster cooperation among its security allies in Asia.
The Talisman Sabre biennial exercises, to be held in locations around Australia, will
encompass maritime operations, amphibious landings, special forces tactics and urban
I think the U.S. is trying to get its allies to do more, said Euan Graham, director of the
International Security Program at the Lowy Institute in Sydney.
There is an obvious symmetry between Japan as the upper anchor of the Western Pacific
alliance and ... Australia as the southern anchor.
All three nations have said they were concerned about freedom of movement through the seas
and air in the disputed South China Sea, where China is creating seven artificial islands in the
Spratly archipelago, a vital shipping corridor.
Some security experts say China might impose air and sea restrictions in the Spratlys once it
completes construction work that includes at least one military airstrip. China has said it had
every right to set up an Air Defense Identification Zone but that current conditions did not
warrant one.
China claims most of the South China Sea. The Philippines, Vietnam, Malaysia, Taiwan and
Brunei also have overlapping claims.
The Japanese personnel will embed with U.S. forces while 500 New Zealand troops will join
Australian contingents, according to the Australian Defense Force website.
Japanese Defense Minister Gen Nakatani rebuffed suggestions the exercises were aimed at
China, telling Reuters that Japan simply wanted to improve military cooperation with the
United States and Australia.

Security cooperation between Canberra and Tokyo has already flourished under Prime
Ministers Tony Abbott and Shinzo Abe, with Japan seen as the frontrunner to win a contract
to supply next generation submarines to the Australian navy. U.S. commanders have publicly
supported such a tie-up.
U.S. Assistant Secretary of Defense David Shear highlighted Washingtons goal of boosting
cooperation between its allies in testimony to the U.S. Senate this month.
To expand the reach of these alliances, we are embarking on unprecedented trilateral
cooperation, he said.
In some cases this cooperation directly benefits our work on maritime security. For example,
were cooperating trilaterally with Japan and Australia to strengthen maritime security in
Southeast Asia and explore defense technology cooperation.
Winning the submarine deal would be a big boost for Japans defense industry and potentially
pave the way for the sale of advanced Japanese weapons to countries such as the Philippines
and Vietnam, which are at loggerheads with Beijing over the South China Sea, experts have
Australia also hopes to sign a deal with Japan this year that would smooth the passage of
military personnel into one anothers country for joint exercises, the Sydney Morning Herald
newspaper reported over the weekend.
Deals such as this would likely become more common as Abbott and Abe push to cement the
security ties they have fostered before they leave office, said the Lowy Institutes Graham.
There will be more of this, and its important in the next couple of years that the relationship
beds in because otherwise ... you could quickly find it isnt a self-sustaining relationship, he