III. Fulfilling the Missions and Tasks of China's Armed Forces in the New Era
In the new era, to meet the strategic demands of national security and development, China's armed forces firmly implement the missions and tasks entrusted by the CPC and the people. They endeavor to provide strategic support for consolidating the leadership of the CPC and the socialist system, safeguarding national sovereignty, unity and territorial integrity, protecting China's overseas interests, and promoting world peace and development.
Safeguarding National Territorial Sovereignty and Maritime Rights and Interests
China has a land border of more than 22,000 km and a coastline of over 18,000 km, China surpasses most of countries in the number of neighboring countries, the length of land border, and the complexity of maritime security. Therefore, it is a daunting task for China to safeguard its territorial sovereignty, maritime rights and interests, and national unity.
China's armed forces maintain a rigorous guard against encroachment, infiltration, sabotage or harassment so as to safeguard border security and stability. China has signed border cooperation agreements with 9 neighboring countries and set up border meeting mechanisms with 12 countries. China's armed forces have established mechanisms for exchanges with neighboring countries at three levels: national defense ministry, Theater Commands (TCs), and border troops. They conduct regular friendly mutual visits, working meetings, joint patrols and joint exercises targeting transnational crime with their foreign counterparts. They work together with Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Russia and Tajikistan to implement the border disarmament treaty. They strive to promote stability and security along the border with India, and take effective measures to create favorable conditions for the peaceful resolution of the Donglang (Doklam) standoff. They enhance control along the border with Afghanistan to guard against the infiltration of terrorists. They strengthen security management along the border with Myanmar, so as to secure stability and public safety in the border areas. Since 2012, China's border troops have completed over 3,300 joint patrols and conducted over 8,100 border meetings with their foreign counterparts. They have cleared mines from 58 square kilometers of land, closed 25 square kilometers of landmine area, and disposed of 170,000 explosive devices such as landmines along the borders with Vietnam and Myanmar.
China's armed forces defend important waters, islands and reefs in the East China Sea, the South China Sea and the Yellow Sea, acquire full situation awareness of adjacent waters, conduct joint rights protection and law enforcement operations, properly handle maritime and air situations, and resolutely respond to security threats, infringements and provocations on the sea. Since 2012, China's armed forces have deployed vessels on over 4,600 maritime security patrols and 72,000 rights protection and law enforcement operations, and safeguarded maritime peace, stability and order.
China's armed forces conduct air defense, reconnaissance and early warning, monitor China's territorial air and peripheral air space, carry out alert patrols and combat takeoff, and effectively respond to emergencies and threats to maintain order and security in the air.
Aiming at safeguarding national unity, China's armed forces strengthen military preparedness with emphasis on the sea. By sailing ships and flying aircraft around Taiwan, the armed forces send a stern warning to the "Taiwan independence" separatist forces.
Maintaining Combat Readiness
Maintaining combat readiness is an important assurance of effective response to security threats and fulfillment of tasks. The Central Military Commission (CMC) and the TCs' joint operations commands perform combat readiness duties strictly, and conduct regular inspections and drills to ensure combat readiness at all times. Consistent efforts are made to improve the capabilities of joint operations command to exercise reliable and efficient command over emergency responses, and to effectively accomplish urgent, tough and dangerous tasks. In 2018, the CMC conducted surprise inspections throughout the armed forces and organized readiness drills for the units, covering 21 provinces, autonomous regions and municipalities directly under the central government, and parts of the East China Sea and South China Sea.
The PLA and the People's Armed Police Force (PAP) give greater priority to combat readiness. Efforts are made to strictly act on relevant regulations and procedures, fulfill readiness duties, conduct targeted exercises and training, and maintain standardized order, with a view to staying ready to act when required and effectively carrying out readiness (combat) duties.
Carrying Out Military Training in Real Combat Conditions
Military training is the basic practice of the armed forces in peacetime. China's armed forces put military training in an important position and take combat effectiveness as the sole and fundamental criterion. In order to enhance realistic training, they optimize the policy framework and criteria in this respect, establish and improve the relevant supervision system, conduct supervision on military training for emergencies and combat across the services, implement the responsibility system for training and readiness, and organize extensive contests and competitions to encourage officers and soldiers to step up military training.
Military training in real combat conditions across the armed forces is in full swing. Since 2012, China's armed forces have carried out extensive mission-oriented training tailored to the specific needs of different strategic directions and exercises of all services and arms, including 80 joint exercises at and above brigade/division level.
The TCs have strengthened their leading role in joint training and organized serial joint exercises codenamed the East, the South, the West, the North and the Central, to improve joint combat capabilities.
The PLA Army (PLAA) has organized training competitions and conducted live exercises codenamed Stride and Firepower. The PLA Navy (PLAN) has extended training to the far seas and deployed the aircraft carrier task group for its first far seas combat exercise in the West Pacific. It has organized naval parades in the South China Sea and the waters and airspace near Qingdao, and conducted a series of live force-on-force exercises codenamed Mobility and systematic all-elements exercises. The PLA Air Force (PLAAF) has strengthened systematic and all-airspace training based on operational plans. It has conducted combat patrols in the South China Sea and security patrols in the East China Sea, and operated in the West Pacific. It has completed a series of regular system-vs.-system exercises such as Red Sword. The PLA Rocket Force (PLARF) has organized force-on-force evaluation-oriented training and training based on operational plans at brigade and regiment levels, strengthened training for joint strikes, and completed regular exercises such as Heavenly Sword. The PLA Strategic Support Force (PLASSF) has made active efforts to integrate into the joint operations systems. It has carried out confrontational training in new domains and trained for emergencies and combats. The PLA Joint Logistic Support Force (PLAJLSF) has striven to align itself with the joint operations systems, and conducted exercises such as Joint Logistics Mission 2018. The PAP has developed to meet the requirements of nationwide coverage, effective connectivity, all-area response and integrated functions, and conducted a series of exercises including Guard.