In an address to RUSI Members, Maj Gen Gong Xianfu, Vice Chairman of the China Institute for International Strategic Studies (CIISS) outlined China's national security and defence policies in the wake of the recent leadership transition in Beijing.
The past year has seen an escalation in tension in the South China Sea and territorial disputes flare between China and Japan over the Diaoyu/Senkaku Islands. The DPRK continues to develop its nuclear and ballistic-missile programmes in violation of UN resolutions and the security of the Korean peninsula remains uncertain.
In a speech to Australia's parliament in November 2011, US President Obama announced that he had directed his national security team to make the US presence and mission in the Asia Pacific a top priority. He emphasised that reductions in US defence spending would not come at the expense of the Asia Pacific.
In the UK, we understand that this does not mean that the US will turn its back on Europe and NATO but it has prompted the strategic community to consider more carefully the implications of the US 'pivot' to Asia. China's military modernisation is widely viewed as a key driver of the rebalancing of the Pentagon's resources in the Asia-Pacific region.