IV. International Security Cooperation
As a permanent member of the United Nations Security Council and a large country in the Asia-Pacific region, China attaches great importance to, and takes an active part in, international security cooperation by sticking to its principles and promises, treating others in a sincere and friendly way, and developing cooperation. In recent years, China has actively carried out exchanges with foreign armed forces on the basis of mutual equality and mutual benefit. China has also actively participated in multilateral and bilateral security dialogues and cooperation in the Asia-Pacific region, as well as in United Nations peace-keeping operations, playing its due part in keeping peace in the region and the world as a whole.
Foreign Military Contacts
As an important component of China's overall diplomacy, China's foreign military contacts are subordinate to and serve the modernization of national defense and the armed forces. China insists on dealing with its foreign military relations independently and engaging in military exchanges and cooperation based on the Five Principles of Peaceful Coexistence. In its contacts with foreign military circles, China has always advocated the principles of mutual respect, enhancing understanding, developing friendship, mutual benefit and cooperation. Chinese armed forces have been active in participating in multilateral military diplomatic activities to bring the positive role of the Chinese armed forces into full play in the sphere of international military affairs.
China has been active in developing an omni-directional and multi-level form of military diplomacy. So far, Chinese armed forces have established relations with the armed forces of more than 100 other countries. China has set up military attach*)_*'s offices in more than 90 Chinese embassies abroad, and some 60 countries have set up their military attach's offices in China. In the last 20 years, more than 1,300 Chinese military delegations, of which some 180 were headed by senior officers, have visited over 80 countries. In the meantime, 2,100-some foreign military delegations involving several tens of thousands of persons have visited China, more than half of which were high-ranking delegations headed by defense ministers, commanders-in-chief of the armed forces or chiefs of the general staff.
China has always placed the development of military contacts with adjacent countries in a prominent position. Following the principles of good-neighborliness and friendliness, mutual benefit and cooperation and long-term stability, it has developed extensive and beneficial contacts with the armed forces of those countries, especially contacts on the senior level. In 1996 and 1997 alone, China sent more than 100 military delegations to most of its adjacent countries, and hosted over 130 military delegations from such countries. China has placed special stress on friendly military exchanges and cooperation with developing countries, and has offered assistance in personnel training, equipment and health care to over 70 countries. Since 1973, China has trained nearly 10,000 officers at all levels as well as military technicians for developing countries, and sent over 8,000 experts to those countries. China is enthusiastic for expanding military relations with the United States and other Western countries in Europe. Proceeding from the objective of safeguarding world peace and the fundamental interests of the people all over the world, Chinese armed forces have successively resumed and improved their relations with the armed forces of those countries on the principle of increasing dialogue and narrowing differences, resulting in the deepening of mutual understanding.
Since the beginning of the 1990s China's naval vessels have visited nearly a score of countries. From March to May 1997, two formations of Chinese naval vessels made friendly visits to the United States, Mexico, Chile, Peru, Thailand, the Philippines and Malaysia, which have enhanced the friendship between the armed forces of China and the armed forces and people of those countries.
In their foreign contacts, Chinese armed forces stress technological exchanges in specialized fields. They have developed extensive exchanges and cooperation with armed forces in other parts of the world in the fields of scientific research, academic studies, military education, armed forces administration, culture, sports, and medical and hygiene work.
The positive, extensive foreign military contacts on the part of the Chinese armed forces have promoted mutual understanding and trust between the PLA and other armed forces. The Chinese armed forces, which have gone among the international community, have presented themselves before the world as a civilized force and a force of peace, a force which has made its due contributions to keeping regional peace and peace throughout the world.
Promoting Confidence-Building Measures
China places great stress on and actively promotes cooperation in confidence-building measures (CBM), considering the establishment of mutual trust between nations as an effective way to maintain security. In recent years, China has reached agreements with some neighboring countries on confidence-building measures and reduction of military forces in border areas, which is an important step China has taken to develop relations with other countries and promote regional peace and stability. These agreements reflect a new kind of security concept vigorously advocated by China and embody some principles and spirit of universal significance for Asian-Pacific security dialogues and cooperation. These include mutual and equal security; seeking security by establishing mutual trust, dialogue and cooperation without interfering in the internal affairs of other countries and without aiming at a third party; preventing military forces from threatening or harming other countries' security and stability; implementing and sticking to a national defense policy that is defensive in nature; adopting suitable confidence-building measures in border and disputed areas on a bilateral basis; and engaging in friendly contacts between military forces.
In April 1996, China and Russia, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan and Tajikistan signed the Agreement on Confidence-Building in the Military Field Along the Border Areas, which stipulates that military forces deployed in the border areas shall not be used to attack each other; each party shall refrain from staging military exercises directing against the other; there shall be restrictions on the military exercises in terms of scale, area and the number of such exercises; all the important military activities of one party in the areas between the border and 100 kilometers from the border line shall be notified to the other which shall be invited to observe the troop exercises; measures shall be taken to prevent dangerous military activities and enhance friendly exchanges of their armed forces in the border areas.
In November 1996, China and India signed the Agreement on Confidence-Building Measures in the Military Field Along the Line of Actual Control in the China-India Border Areas. The agreement provides that each side should not engage in military activities that threaten the other side or undermines peace, tranquility and stability in the border areas; that they should strictly respect and observe the line of actual control in the border areas and neither side should overstep the line of actual control in their activities pending ultimate resolution of the boundary question; that they should reduce or limit the size of field army, border defense forces, para-military forces and any other mutually agreed category of armed forces and armaments deployed in the mutually agreed geographical zones along the line of actual control to the mutually agreed ceilings; that each side shall refrain from staging military exercises directing against the other in the close proximity of the line of actual control in the border areas and restrict the scale of military exercises and provide prior notification to the other with regard to military exercises of certain scale in the close proximity of the line of actual control in the border areas; that they should prevent air intrusions by military aircraft across the line of actual control and dangerous military activities in the areas along the line of actual control; that both sides should strengthen exchanges and cooperation between their military personnel and establishments in the border areas along the line of actual control.
In addition, in 1994, China and Russia signed the Agreement on Prevention of Dangerous Military Activities and the Joint Statement by the President of the People's Republic of China and the President of the Russian Federation on Non-First-Use of Nuclear Weapons and Detargeting of Strategic Nuclear Weapons Against Each Other. In January 1998, China and the United States signed the Agreement Between the Ministry of National Defense of the PRC and the Department of Defense of the USA on Establishing a Consultation Mechanism to Strengthen Military Maritime Safety. In June of the same year, President Jiang Zemin of China and President Clinton of the United States announced that the two sides had decided not to target each other with the strategic nuclear weapons under their respective control. In addition, confidential direct redline telephone communication links have been established between the head of state of China and the heads of state of Russia and the United States.
Regional Security Cooperation
China advocates regional-security dialogue and cooperation at different levels, through various channels and in different forms. Such dialogue and cooperation should follow these principles: participation on an equal footing, reaching unanimity through consultation, seeking common ground while reserving differences, and proceeding in an orderly way and step by step. China has participated in the ASEAN Regional Forum (ARF), Conference on Interaction and Confidence-Building Measures in Asia (CICA), Council on Security Cooperation in Asia and Pacific Region (CSCAP), Northeast Asia Cooperation Dialogue (NEACD) and other activities, holding that all countries should further mutual understanding and trust by discussions on security issues through these important governmental and non-governmental channels, so as to promote regional peace and stability.
China has attended all the ARF foreign minister meetings and ARF senior official meetings. Chinese representatives of foreign and defense affairs have attended official and unofficial meetings within the framework of the forum, their topics of discussion including promotion of confidence-building measures, peace keeping, maritime search and rescue, the handling of emergencies and disaster relief, preventative diplomacy, non-proliferation, and guiding principles. In 1996 China and the Philippines jointly sponsored the Conference on Confidence-Building Measures in Beijing. Between sessions of the conference, which was crowned with success, foreign representatives were invited to visit Chinese military units and observe military exercises. China supports the ARF's creative explorations for the promotion of confidence-building measures and has made a series of constructive suggestions and opinions in this regard. For example, China advocates development of military medicine, science of military law and multilateral cooperation on conversion of military technologies and facilities for civilian use. It encourages the exchange of high-level visits by senior military officers, and port calls by naval vessels, as well as exchanges of military personnel between different countries, and supports cooperation in emergency rescue and disaster relief, maritime navigation safety, and marine environmental protection. In addition, every year China submits to the forum a statement on national defense policy and other related documents.
China has always been an active participant in the process of the CICA initiated by Kazakhstan, regarding the purpose of the conference as basically suiting China's security goal in Asia. It suggests that the conference develop steadily with full consideration of Asia's regional peculiarities and diversities. In 1996 China formally joined the CSCAP, and in 1997 established the CSCAP China Committee, which has always conscientiously participated in the council's activities. Since 1993, when the NEACD was founded, China has attended all NEACD meetings and, in 1996, hosted its fourth conference in Beijing. Along with other member states, China has also helped the NEACD to achieve unanimity on the guiding principle of cooperation between Northeast Asian countries.
China has held consultations in different forms with the United States, Russia, Japan, France, Canada and Australia on issues of common interest in the areas of security and defense. Officials and scholars of China's Ministry of National Defense and other related departments have participated, in increasing breadth and depth, in various discussions and other activities on Asian-Pacific security, which has promoted understanding and trust between China and the countries concerned, and shown China's positive intentions and efforts to maintain lasting peace in the Asia-Pacific region.
Participating in the UN Peace-Keeping Operations
As a permanent member of the UN Security Council, China has consistently engaged in efforts to maintain international peace and security. It cherishes and supports the role of the United Nations in keeping international peace and security under the guidance of the principles of the Charter of the United Nations. In order to help UN peace-keeping operations achieve success and develop in a healthy way, China holds that the following guiding principles should be stipulated and followed:
-- The aims and principles of the Charter of the United Nations must be adhered to, especially the principles of respecting the sovereignty of all countries and non-interference in other countries' internal affairs.
-- Disputes must be settled using peaceful means, such as mediation, good office and negotiation. Compulsory means should not be adopted indiscreetly, nor should military means be resorted to even for humanitarian ends.
-- Double standards should be opposed. The policies and views of any one country or a few countries should not be imposed on the UN Security Council, and military interference by a small number of countries under the guise of the UN should not be allowed.
-- In peace-keeping operations, the following principles, which have proved to be effective in the past, should be adhered to: obtaining agreement from the country concerned beforehand, strictly observing neutrality and prohibiting the use of force except for self-defense.
-- Be practical and realistic. A peace-keeping operation should not be undertaken when conditions are not yet ripe, nor should a peace-keeping force become a party to a conflict, which would be a deviation from the fundamental purpose of peace-keeping operations.
Adhering to the above principles, China has participated in UN peace-keeping operations. In 1990, China began to assign military observers to UN peace-keeping operations; since then it has sent 437 military observers in 32 groups to join six UN peace-keeping operations, viz, the United Nations Truce Supervision Organization (UNTSO) in the Middle East, United Nations Iraq-Kuwait Observation Mission (UNIKOM), Un ited Nations Transitional Authority in Cambodia (UNTAC), United Nations Mission for the Referendum in Western Sahara (MINURSO), United Nations Operation in Mozambique (ONUMOZ) and United Nations Observer Mission in Liberia (UNOMIL).
In 1992, the Chinese government dispatched an engineer unit to support the UNTAC peace-keeping operations. A total of 800 men were sent in two batches, who, in 18 months, repaired or extended four airports, repaired four highways totaling 640 kilometers, built or rebuilt 47 bridges and completed many other service projects, making useful contributions to the successful operations of the United Nations peace-keeping forces in Cambodia.
China still has 32 military observers serving with the UNTSO, UNIKOM and MINURSO. In May 1997, the Chinese government decided that in principle China would take part in the UN's stand-by arrangements and would provide military observers, civilian policemen, and engineering, medical, transportation and other logistic service teams in due time for UN peace-keeping operations.
Chinese personnel assisting UN peace-keeping operations have conscientiously fulfilled their responsibilities and made great contributions to world peace. Some of them have even sacrificed their lives. In the years to come, China will continue to participate in UN peace-keeping operations in a positive and down-to-earth manner.