Beijing to reform military to be always ready to fight and win

New guidelines are set for the People's Liberation Army. "The lessons of history teach us that strong military might is important for a country to grow from being big to being strong,” defence paper says. China is getting ready to take over America’s leadership but remains concerned that the “Thucydides Trap" will lead to military confrontation with the United States.

Taipei (AsiaNews/Agencies) – Beijing plans to reform its military in such a way that it will intensify friction with neighbouring countries and increase tensions in the Pacific region, this according to an internal paper of China’s Central Military Commission made public by Kyodo News.

The paper was published internally by the Central Military Commission in February and lays out the goals of the People’s Liberation Army (PLA) to “more effectively create a situation, manage a crisis, contain a conflict, win a war, defend the expansion of our country’s strategic interests in an all-round fashion and realize the goals set by the party and Chairman Xi.”

If the reforms progress, the paper points to greater friction with China’s neighbours, starting with Japan, in the East and South China Seas and elsewhere. It also suggests the willingness of China to overtake the United States in military strength.

Military reform began in 2015 when Xi announced that the 2.3 million strong PLA would be downsized by 300,000.

On the strategic front, the paper said that while the PLA has focused its war preparedness on coastal defence, it must strengthen its capabilities on land, at sea and in the air, in addition to developing beyond the traditional area of operation in a new era.

“As we open up and expand our national interests beyond borders, we desperately need a comprehensive protection of our own security around the globe,” it said.

Another chapter explained the necessity of its military reforms. It said that the United States, Russia, Japan and seven other countries become strong countries because they have a strong military, and to have a strong military, reforms are necessary.

“The lessons of history teach us that strong military might is important for a country to grow from being big to being strong,” it said. “A strong military is the way to avoid the ‘Thucydides Trap’ and escape the obsession that war is unavoidable between an emerging power and a ruling hegemony.”

A Thucydides Trap is a phrase used to refer to when a rising power (like China) causes fear in an established power (like the United States) that escalates toward war.

Military reforms are therefore a significant “turning point” for any given emerging country to “overtake a slower vehicle on a curve,” it said, suggesting that the United States is in its decline.

Another chapter stressed the need to be loyal to President Xi and the Party. History proves that as long as the party keeps a tight grip on the military, it can withstand rigorous challenges both at home and abroad, it said.