The State Council issued China’s Military Strategy 2015, a White Paper, on 26 May. It gives ample space to clarifying China’s strategic intentions. The Paper makes clear that China continues to vouchsafe never to seek hegemony but will be ready for “counter-attack if attacked”.
It reaffirms China’s strategic goal is to realize a moderately prosperous society by 2021, the centenary of the Communist Party of China (CPC), and the China Dream of a “prosperous, strong, democratic, culturally-advanced and harmonious” socialist nation by 2049, the centenary of the PRC.
On the other hand, the Paper stresses that while a world war is unlikely, a rising China now faces a host of uncertainties including “hegemonism, power politics, and neo-interventionism”, "fermented color-revolutions" as well as “international competition for redistribution of power, rights and interests”, terrorism, hotspot issues, and risks of “small-scale wars”.
These challenges are informed by the United States’ “rebalancing” strategy and Japan’s resurgence, some of China’s neighbours’ “provocative behaviour”, issues over Taiwan, and threats to China’s strategic Sea Lines of Communication (SLOCs).
China recognizes the Revolution in Military Affairs (RMA) in terms of long-range, precision, smart, stealth, and unmanned weapons, including outer-space and cyber varieties.
China therefore needs to embrace “Active Defence” pushing from land to “Open Sea Protection”.
In this regard, the PLAA (Army) will focus on “trans-theatre mobility” in “multi-dimensional, multi-functional, and sustainable operations”.
The PLAN (Navy) should develop both “offshore water defence” and “open sea” operations as a “modern maritime military force” to safeguard China’s territorial sovereignty, maritime rights and interests, including SLOCs.
The PLAAF (Air Force) hould develop into an “Air-Space Defence Force” equipped for “informatized warfare”, “airborne operations”, “strategic projects”, and “comprehensive support”. It will continue to develop early warning, air strike as well as air and missile defence capabilities. While opposing outer-space weaponization, China will continue to secure “space assets” and seek to maintain “outer-space” security.
The PLASAF (Second Artillery) will be fully prepared to deliver “strategic deterrence”, both nuclear and conventional, including medium and long-range precision strikes, missile penetration, rapid reaction, and survivability. However, China unconditionally pledges never to use nuclear arms first nor enter into a nuclear arms race.
The Paper embodies a variety of military concepts such as “Joint Operations”, “Integrated Systems”, “Civil-Military Integration (CMI)”, and “Preparation for Military Struggle (PMS)” including reconnaissance, command and control, Outline of Military Training and Evaluation (OMTE).
The Chinese military is to be equipped with highly-professional personnel, training and “strategic management”, embracing science and technology and productive of forward-looking military theories and strategies. It should also be prepared to undertake Military Operations Other Than War (MOOTWs) as well as Humanitarian Assistance and Disaster Relief (HADR).
The Paper also emphasizes all-around, pro-active, non-aligned military-to-military and security co-operations with both Russia and the United States as well as many other countries and regions across the globe, including the hosting of military events.
To avoid unwanted military escalation, attention is to be given to “emergency notification, military risk precaution, crisis management, and conflict control”. The object is to deepen mutual understanding, mutual trust and mutual learning in a spirit of “Mutual Respect, Equality, Mutual Benefit, and All-Win Cooperation”.