China Releases White Paper on Military Strategy

China’s People’s Liberation Army Air Force will continue to bolster its capabilities for “strategic early warning, air strike, air and missile defense, information countermeasures, airborne operations, strategic projection, and comprehensive support” as it shifts its focus from a “territorial air defense strategy” to one that emphasizes both offense and defense, according to the country’s recent white paper on military strategy. The paper, which was released less than three weeks after the Pentagon issued its annual report to Congress on Chinese military modernization, acknowledges the United States’ rebalance to the Asia-Pacific and its “enhanced military presence” in the region. And, though it does not specifically name the US, it notes that, “external countries are also busy meddling in South China Sea affairs” while “a tiny few maintain constant close-in-air and sea surveillance and reconnaissance against China.” The white paper does not specifically mention China’s recent challenge of US military aircraft conducting surveillance flights over the country’s man-made islands located in the disputed territorial waters. However, it does note that “some of its offshore neighbors” have taken “provocative actions” that reinforce “their military presence on China’s reefs and islands that they have illegally occupied.” (Read China’s strategy on the Ministry of Defense website.)