By Du Xiaodan
China has released its fifth white paper on national defense since 1998.
The new document provides an overall defense situation in 2006 and the
military's modernization drive over the last two years.
In 2006 the upgrading of a modern army for self-defense continued to be
the priority for the Chinese military.
Defense authorities set the military's development as subject to the
country's overall growth.
he 2006 defense budget reached 35 billion US dollars a 14% increase
since the previous year.
However, comparing this figure to the overall finance expenditure, the
defense budget is decreasing in proportion.
And in comparison with other major countries, China's defense budget
doesn't appear appalling.
The white paper says the budget is equally distributed into three areas,
for soldiers' life expenditure, training, and equipment.
To strengthen the military's defensive capability, China has been
streamlining its army and upgrading military equipment.
In 2005, the PLA reduced its number to 2.3 million, by disarming 200,000
soldiers. This means China has reduced 1.7 million military staff since
Meanwhile, the army is modernizing its equipment to keep up with
advanced information warfare. Scientific research and innovation are
encouraged to enable the PLA safeguard national security and stability.
Chinese soldiers are also going beyond the national border. Under the
command of the United Nations, China has sent nearly 6,000 military
staff on global peacekeeping missions.
Some have sacrificed their lives for world peace.
The deepening international cooperation also saw increased bilateral and
multilateral military exchanges.
In 2006, China's military cooperation with the United States, Europe and
Asian countries has reached high levels.
Through platforms such as the Shanghai Cooperation Organization, China
enhances its military cooperative mechanism.
War games also help strengthen mutual understanding, and the combat
The white paper says China will continue to modernize its army for
defensive purposes, to ensure the smooth development of the national
China's defense policy never threatens another country, neither now nor
in the future.