On the very first day of 2016, China’s Central Military Commission (CMC) released a guideline on deepening national defense and military reform. A day before that, the CMC announced the establishment of the General Command of Army, the People's Liberation Army (PLA) Rocket Force and the PLA Strategic Support Force. The PLA is now standing at a new historical crossroads.
As Chinese people enjoy their New Year holiday, few of them think of gunshots or war. Ordinary people can now rest easy thanks to China’s strong defense, which is as precious as air. This requires the continuous development of national defense.
China’s national interests and current international situation are constantly changing, so is the task of the Chinese army. Hence, the PLA and relevant mechanisms have to be adjusted accordingly to keep up with the pace of China’s rise.
The task that confronts China’s armed forces is arduous and more than just safeguarding the nation’s maritime and land territories. As China’s international cooperation grows, more Chinese enterprises go global and the country embraces greater responsibility to maintain regional and world peace, a strong Chinese army is needed.
China must have a strong military. In possession of nuclear weapons, China doesn’t need to worry about military aggression. But there is more about national security. The Chinese army's special mission to safeguard China’s national path has long been under pressure due to differences from Western practices. During China's rise, friction with the US has gone beyond broad geopolitics. If China has a big gap with the US in terms of military prowess, this will affect its international position and other countries' attitude toward China.
With a strong army, China can be more politically appealing, influential and persuasive, and will make it easier to network. As we gain more trust from other countries, many of them will no longer be dependent on the US for security and on China for economic benefits.
A comprehensive and thorough military reform therefore comes into place at the right time. It is highly anticipated and encouraging. It will entail specific measures, but there are certain standards. First, our military equipment will be improved. Besides, the army will be more capable of using the equipment and soldiers’ morale will be boosted. Moreover, our military strength has to be demonstrated to the world. The army needs to be able to fight battles and provide real deterrence. The supreme art of war is to subdue the enemy without fighting.
As the latest military reform sets a lofty target and involves a wide range of aspects, it will meet many challenges and difficulties in the process. But the target will be reached with the consensus, direction and determination that have been made. When the reform succeeds, it will benefit not only China but the whole world.