BEIJING – The official website of China’s Ministry of National Defense (www.mod.gov.cn) went into full operation on Monday, marking the 84th anniversary of the founding of the People’s Liberation Army (PLA) after two years of trial operation.
A statement from the ministry hailed the move as “a significant step in promoting transparency” and “an important move in the modernization of China’s national defense and armed forces.”
The website, authorized by the Central Military Commission, features authoritative and up-to-date defense information, including defense expenditures, national defense white papers and transcriptions of press conferences, the statement said.
There is also a version of the website created specifically for mobile device users, complete with video clips that can be viewed on tablet computers and mobile phones, the statement said.
The website’s official launch came just one month after President Hu Jintao, who is also chairman of the Central Military Commission, made a keynote speech at a grand gathering commemorating the 90th founding anniversary of the Communist Party of China (CPC) in which he proposed implementing a “major strategic thinking” model of military development.
“The scientific development of national defense and the army should be the general guideline to follow, and priority should be given to accelerating the development of methods through which troops’ combat effectiveness is raised,” Hu said.
The PLA Daily newspaper carried an editorial on Monday, or Army Day, calling upon PLA officers and soldiers to utilize the model proposed by Hu and to promote the development of national defense and the army under its guidance.
The editorial said “remarkable achievements” have been seen in the armed forces over the past month as the model has begun to be implemented.
The paper also called on PLA officers and soldiers to enhance risk awareness and to be mindful of their mission, as international military competition has become increasingly fierce and modern wars are swiftly evolving.
AIRCRAFT CARRIER PROGRAM
With the approach of the PLA’s founding anniversary, a series of military-themed events have taken place over the past few weeks.
China confirmed last week that it is pursuing an aircraft carrier program and is refitting an imported aircraft carrier for the purposes of research and training.
The carrier was originally built by the Soviet Union, which failed to complete the ship’s construction before collapsing in 1991. Ukraine purchased the vessel at that time, disarming it and removing its engines before selling it to China in 1998.
Geng Yansheng, a defense ministry spokesman, said the necessity of acquiring an aircraft carrier for China comes from the fact that the country has a very long coastline and a large amount of territorial waters.
China has more than 18,000 kilometers of continental coastline.
From the First Opium War in 1840 to the foundation of the People’s Republic in 1949, China has suffered more than 470 seaborne offenses and invasions.
The Outlook Weekly, an influential Chinese political magazine, carried a cover story on the construction of China’s modern navy in its most recent issue, stating that it is “reasonable” for China to acquire aircraft carriers.
China can only attain a real presence in the world’s oceans after it obtains aircraft carriers, the report said.