Chinese Military Trumps Diplomacy in Achieving Aims, PLA Says

China can only achieve its foreign policy aims through a military force capable of winning wars rather than through diplomacy, an editorial in China’s official army newspaper said before the 120th anniversary of a naval defeat to Japan.

The possibility of war on China’s doorstep has increased with more hot spots as “some big countries” stir up trouble in the region and Japanese militarism revives, an editorial in the People’s Liberation Daily said yesterday. Only an army genuinely able to win can act as an effective deterrent, it said.

“If soldiers with guns on the battlefield cannot get things back, do not expect diplomats to get it back at the negotiating table with their mouths,” the article said.

As its economy slows, China is carrying out a public campaign focused to remember Japan’s historical aggression. President Xi personally gave a national television address on the official commemoration of the start of the Sino-Japanese war earlier this month. Recent tensions between the two countries have also been fueled by a territorial dispute over a chain of uninhabited islands in the East China Sea.

The 1895 naval defeat against Japan was a humiliation for China’s Qing Dynasty, which later collapsed in 1912. It showed the fruits of Japan’s modernization efforts in comparison to China, which had lost a series of battles to Western colonial powers.

The war is the main topic on the PLA Daily’s website today, with a large banner headline.

Since taking over as head of the Central Military Commission, President’s Xi priority has been a military that can fight wars and win, the article said.

“Right now, China is in a critical stage of moving from large to strong, and the role of military strength in national strategy is increasing,” the PLA Daily said. “National safety and development increasingly relies on the military, and never before has the country’s fate had such a connection with the strength of the army and victory or defeat on the battlefield.”

— With assistance by Henry Sanderson

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