Japan Institute for National Fundamentals

Speaking out

Fumio Ota

【#304(Special)】 Five Lies in China’s Defense White Paper

Fumio Ota / 2015.06.04 (Thu)

June 1, 2015

     China released a new national defense white paper on May 26. It is titled "China's Military Strategy" compared with "China's National Defense" for the previous one published in April 2013. Although the previous one specified the numbers of troops, ships and aircraft and a list of Joint Exercise and Training with Foreign Armed Forces, International Disaster Relief and Rescue and UN Peacekeeping Operations, the new one includes no such information and is less transparent. It also puts forward "Preparation for Military Struggle (PMS)" as a new term and spends one chapter for explaining the term, meaning preparation for potential military clashes in the South/East China Seas.
     In early May, the U.S. Department of Defense submitted an annual report to Congress on "Military and Security Developments Involving the People's Republic of China.” Comparing it with the Chinese national defense white paper, I found Chinese commitments' deviation from actual actions on five points and would like to discuss them here.

China denies South China Sea land reclamation as expansion
     1. In the Preface, the white paper says China “will never seek hegemony or expansion.” The previous white paper did not include the word of expansion. But China's land reclamation and base construction at disputed rocks and reefs in the South China Sea represents nothing other than "expansion."
     2. Chapter 4 on “Building and Development of China’s Armed Forces” says China has “opposed to the weaponization of and arms race in outer space.” But the Pentagon report says China conducted a test of satellite destruction technology on July 23 last year to follow up a satellite destruction test in January 2007 that dispersed massive debris in outer space.
     3. The same chapter says, “China is confronted with grave security threats to its cyber infrastructure.” This indicates China as a cyber attack victim. But China is well known for its cyber attacks, including a May 2014 incident in which then U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder announced the indictment of five People's Liberation Army officers for their alleged industrial espionage.
     4. This chapter also states China “will never enter into a nuclear arms race with any other country.” But China is known among experts as the only country among nuclear powers that is remarkably expanding nuclear forces.
     5. The final chapter on “Military and Security Cooperation” discusses “military confidence-building measures.” But China has taken a confidence destroying measure by sending DONGDIAO class AGI, a 6,000-ton intelligence collection ship for electronic intelligence and other spying activities along with other naval ships when the Chinese Navy was invited for the first time to join the U.S.-led Rim of the Pacific (RIMPAC) naval exercises last year. This prompted U.S. Senate Armed Services Committee Chairman John McCain to recommend Defense Secretary Ash Carter to refrain from inviting China to join the next RIMPAC exercises.

Deception represents Chinese tradition
     What China does fails to meet what it says. When we read official documents of China, we must recognize that deception represents China's long tradition since more than 2,500 years ago, when famed Chinese military strategist Sun Tzu in his Art of War said, "All warfare is based on deception." in the first Chapter.

Fumio Ota is a JINF Planning Committee Member and a former Director of Defense Intelligence Headquarters in the Japan Defense Agency.