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Reforming PLAC (People's Liberation Army of China)

Tuesday, August 10, 2010 - 16:50

In the previous century the PRC administration stuck to the strategic conception of “people’s war” which was based upon Mao Zedong’s ideas. This conception, being a generalization of the experience from the Japanese and civil wars, consisted in the presence of a multi-million reserve army following the principle “the whole nation is army.” This was determined by the fact that the PRC administration considered the third world war inevitable and believed that the potential opponent would be significantly better technically equipped, that the war would primarily take place on the continental part of China and not on water, and therefore, the advantage in numbers was the primary target as a means to make up for the weakness in technical sphere. This was what determined the continental nature of the defense strategy. Meanwhile, there were no separate Air and Marine Forces development strategies in China, and the functions of these forces were mere support of the land army.
After Deng Xiaoping’s reforms were launched the military sphere could not have been left intact — and the “people’s war” conception transformed into the “active defense” strategy which actually constitutes the PRC doctrine in the XXI century. This strategy consists in a complex of preventive political, diplomatic and economic measures targeted at the creation of favorable external conditions and minimization of instability factors.
The new strategy implied the establishment of compact, well-balanced military forces prepared for both defensive and offensive operations in accordance with the formula: “China is not going to attack anybody, but in case of foreign aggression may counterattack.”
Simultaneously, following the world’s military tendency and exploiting the growing economic power, the PRC started implementing the new technology in the sphere of modernization of the defense potential.
In the early 90 s sticking to the “active defense” strategy, the PRC administration accepted the conceptions of “fast response” and “limited war with the use of ‘high’ (science intensive) technology”. They implied the establishment of comparatively compact military forces (army, navy and air power), equipped with modern machinery and weapons and capable of immediately taking part in local conflicts. First of all, this refers to possible border conflicts, but the conceptions also imply the use of military forces in the struggle for the natural resources of the planet in case it grows severe.
Speaking about the possible border conflicts the following are usually meant:
1. Activity of the terroristic organization Eastern Turkestan whose target is the creation of an independent Islamic state in the territory of Xinjiang Uygur Autonomous Region and the adjacent regions of Kazakhstan and Kyrgyzstan;
2. mobilization of Tibet separatists who, according to the PRC administration, receive support from abroad and negatively affect the stability in the country;
3. tension on the Korean Peninsula, as in case of war between the Republic of Korea and People’s Democratic Republic of Korea there will be a great flow of immigrants to China and there is a possibility of military conflicts between the PRC and the USA whose troops are based in the RK and Japan;
4. there is a tension in the relations between the PRC and India who is rather anxious about the spread of the PRC influence. In the military aspect it also refers to the “rope of pearls” strategy (erection of dual purpose ports in Burma, Sri Lanka and Pakistan), improvement of infrastructure along the border with India, imposing a compromise on the disputed border, and the creation of the navy capable of fulfilling any operations distant from the coasts of the country.
Beijing, however, is worried by the cooperation between India and the USA in the nuclear sphere which, according to a common opinion in China, is a counterbalance for the PRC. This cooperation not only enables India to purchase nuclear materials from the USA, but also facilitates mutual martial exercises and a possibility to purchase nuclear weapons from the USA.
Also, the following are subjects of dispute between India and China: the Indian Ocean control, resources and markets in Africa, footholds in Asia.

Speaking about possible use of military forces, the PRC administration also notes: in case the struggle for the planet’s resources grows very acute the PRC as the primary importer of natural resources may use military service for its defense as it is happening now in the Gulf of Aden, or there may be a necessity of expansion which might be carried out with the use of military power.
Analyzing the changes that are now happening in the world in the military sphere, the PRC administration regards war as a combination of coordinated actions between various types of military forces coupled with the use of precision-guided weapon. Military operations are accompanied with the operations of special services, psychological operations and information war. Military activity spreads multi-directed in the area of conflict: on the ground, in the sea, in the air, in the space and in the electronic environment. The borders between the front and the rear become indistinct, the speed of military operations increases and their length decreases. The primary means of the support of military operations is intelligence service and troops and armament administration, including elements based in the space.
In accordance with these views the PRC is implementing rapid modernization of the military forces. Chief direction in the development is enhancement of IT and computer power of the forces, increase in military potential of the forces on the whole through growth in effectiveness of the cooperation between the military divisions of various types.
At the end of 2006 the PRC accepted a program for modernization of national defense system and military forces planned until the middle of the XXI century. This program if divided into three stages:
1. until 2010 — creation of fundamental basis for the reforms;
2. until 2020 — achieving general progress in the basic directions of modernization;
3. until 2050 — achievement of the primary objective — the creation of IT-enhanced military forces.



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