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Defense analysts say the new white paper – the previous one having been released in 2015 – is in more than one way a direct response to the US’s 2017 National Security Strategy and its 2018 National Defense Strategy. Both of these documents effectively made China the key objective in strengthening US military forces and single it out as America’s primary strategic competitor.
In its 2019 version, the new Chinese white paper addresses every key point of the above-mentioned two US reports, and says the Chinese actions they describe as threats are just and peaceful.
The document describes Taiwanese, Tibetan and Turkistani separatism as direct threats to the country’s national security, but also stressed that the modernization of the Chinese People’s Liberation Army (PLA) and its military expansion in the South China Sea and the Pacific are entirely of a defensive nature.
Without mentioning the actual amount of military spending by the two countries, the paper points out that the United States spends 3.5 percent of its GDP on military forces while China only spends 1.3 percent.
It also stresses that all Chinese military and naval movements in past years have been solely driven by the aim of “safeguarding national unity”.
Title image: Chinese aircraft carrier Liaoning (photo: AFP)