China's military industry has recently had a constant stream of good news, such as the commissioning of the China's first aircraft carrier "Liaoning ship", the successful test flight of the Y-20 large transport aircraft and the operation of the Beidou Navigation Satellite System. But for some one-track western media, China's improved military strength seems to have further verified the view of "China Military Threat Theory".
However, the simple integration of China's improved military strength and hegemonism is another empirical error. Contrary to some westerners' speculation, China enhances its arms just to better maintain regional and international peace.
Without a stable and peaceful external environment, China cannot realize its "Chinese dream" of achieving national rejuvenation. However, the tree desires stillness but the wind will not cease---things do not occur as people wish. The United States has accelerated its strategy of eastward movement to prevent the rise of China and China has been faced with increasingly complicated security environment in its bordering areas, and thus wars have become imminent. Obviously, as a structural contradiction, the security contradiction between the existing and emerging great powers cannot be avoided or overstepped but can only be managed and controlled.
Peace between nations is based on power balance. Strength is a prerequisite for goodwill and power is a precondition for peace. During the Cold War, it was due to the military balance between the U.S. and the Soviet Union that the two sides learnt restraint and did not escalate the Cold War into the Hot War. But upon the end of the Cold War, various regional conflicts and local wars occurred one after another. The exchange of inadequate national defense preparations for opponents' pity will only arouse opponents' greed and malice in the end. On the contrary, adequate military preparations will make opponents full of worries, thus increasing the probability of peace.
"One should never intend to do harm to others, nor should one forget to guard against the harm others might do to him." On security issue, China has to rely on itself instead of pinning its hope on opponents' "goodwill". The news that China's military strength has been improved is particularly timely, especially under the circumstances of incessant external provocation and increasing security threat on the east side of China. The greater China's military strength is, the more promising the maintenance of peace and stability in Asia-Pacific region will be.
By Tian Wenlin, special commentator of the People's Daily and associate researcher of the China Institute of Contemporary International Relations (CICIR)
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