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Brief #105: Government Work Report 2022 (foreign policy & national security)

Chinese premier Li Keqiang delivered this year's Government Work Report this morning (March 5) to the gathering of the National People’s Congress.

An official version of the report will be released at the end of the Two Sessions (March 4 to 11). In the meantime, here are copies of the report (both in Chinese and English), courtesy of Wang Zichen.

This note looks at what Li said on foreign policy and national security. Direct quotes from Li are at the bottom of the post.

Foreign policy

On foreign policy, Li restated Beijing’s general position: China continues to pursue a foreign policy of peace and peaceful development and is willing to work with other countries to promote world peace, stability and prosperity. Nothing new here.

On the Belt and Road Initiative, Li said that China will deepen practical cooperation and open up new areas of cooperation; develop further land-sea transit routes to China's west; and guard against risks for China's outbound investment through regulating effectively.

On Taiwan, again, restating Beijing’s policy: opposing “Taiwan independence,” reiterating the importance of the one-China principle and the 1992 Consensus, etc.

In short, nothing new or exciting on the foreign policy front from this year’s Government work Report. Not surprising given that the report’s focus is on economic and social development.

National security

Li said that China would step up resource exploration and improve the national strategic goods reserve system this year to ensure food and energy security. Also, China will work to implement a comprehensive resource conservation strategy.

On national defence, here are this year’s military modernisation tasks:

  • enhance military training and combat readiness;
  • accelerate the modernisation of the military logistics system;
  • accelerate innovations in defence science and technology;
  • complete the reform of the defence mobilisation system; and
  • raise public awareness of national defence.

Li also urged governments at all levels to support the development of national defence and the armed forces.

Russia’s military failures in Ukraine highlights the importance of military training, logistics support, and the corrosive effects of corruption on military effectiveness. You can be sure that Chinese civilian and military leaders will be taking notes.

Direct Quotes from Li:

On foreign policy:

China will continue to pursue an independent foreign policy of peace, stay onthe path of peaceful development, work for a new type of international relations, and endeavor to build a human community with a shared future. We will pursue the Global Development Initiative and promote the shared values of all humanity. China will always work to safeguard world peace, contribute to global development, and preserve international order. We stand ready to work with all others in the international community to make new and greater contributions to promoting world peace, stability, development and prosperity.

On Belt and Road Initiative:

We will promote high-quality cooperation under the Belt and Road Initiative. We remain committed to the principle of achieving shared growth through consultation and collaboration. We will, on the basis of consolidating cooperation on enhancing connectivity, move steadily to open up new areas of cooperation. New land-sea transit routes for the western region will be further developed. We will carry out outbound investment and international cooperation in a well-regulated way, and effectively guard against overseas risks.

On Taiwan:

We remain committed to the major principles and policies on work related to Taiwan, to the Party’s overall policy for resolving the Taiwan question in the new era, and to the one-China principle and the 1992 Consensus. We will advance the peaceful growth of relations across the Taiwan Strait and the reunification of China. We firmly oppose any separatist activities seeking “Taiwan independence” and firmly oppose foreign interference. All of us, Chinese on both sides of the Taiwan Strait, should come together to advance the great and glorious cause of China’s rejuvenation.

On food and energy security:

We will ensure food and energy security. We will ensure the supply of grain and other major agricultural products as well as an adequate supply of electricity to meet people’s living needs and conduct normal business operations and production. We will implement a comprehensive resource conservation strategy. To enhance China’s capacity for resource production and supply, we will step up petroleum, natural gas and mineral exploration and development, improve the national strategic goods reserve system, and ensure the supply of primary products. Price levels will be kept generally stable.

National security and military modernisation:

Last year, we made major strides in strengthening national defense and the armed forces, getting off to a good start in this endeavor in the 14th Five-Year Plan period. This year, we will fully implement Xi Jinping’s thinking on strengthening the armed forces and the military strategy for the new era, work toward the goals for the centenary of the People’s Liberation Army in 2027, and strengthen Party leadership and Party building in all aspects of the military. We will enhance military training and combat readiness, stay firm and flexible in carrying out military struggle, and safeguard China’s sovereignty, security and development

We will move faster to modernize the military’s logistics and asset
management systems, and build a modern weaponry and equipment management system. We will continue the reform of national defense and the military and step up innovations in defense science and technology. We will implement the strategy of strengthening the military by training competent personnel in the new era, run the military in accordance with the law and strict discipline, and promote high-quality development of the military. We will improve the layout of defense science, technology and industry.

We will finish reforming the defense mobilization system and raise public
awareness of national defense. Government at all levels must give strong support to the development of national defense and the armed forces, so unity between the military and government and between the military and the people will remain rock solid.

By Adam Ni