The Chinese Armed Forces were founded on August 1, 1927 during the Civil War. In 93 years of their modern history, they have made a colossal journey from the most backward to one of the strongest armies on the planet. Experts put it on the second or third place in the world ranking of the armed forces.
The history of the Chinese armed forces has more than four thousand years. Many ancient knowledge about the art of war is still practiced in military universities in China.
But the date of creation of the PLA is considered to be August 1, 1927, when during the uprising in the city of Nanchang, the Red Army of China was founded under the leadership of the future leader of the country Mao Zedong. The Red Army of China fought against the armed forces of the Kuomintang, then fought against the Japanese interventionists. It received the name of the PLA after the end of World War II.
Since the 50s, the PLA has experienced several significant reductions, and the most significant of them was carried out in the early 80s. Until that time, the Chinese army was mainly land-based. After the likelihood of war in the north decreased, the Chinese leadership began to pay more attention to the south – Taiwan, disputed territories in the South China Sea.
In the 90s of the last century, the leadership of the People's Republic of China began a program of modernization of the national armed forces, which led to impressive results. More attention was paid to the development of the Navy, missile forces and the air force.
The reforms of Chinese President Xi Jinping have dramatically increased the combat capability of the Armed Forces of the People's Republic of China, making it more mobile, modern and technically equipped.
On July 24, 2019, the tenth anniversary "White Book" was published in China, which has been published since 1989, under the title "China's National Defense in a new Era". The main part of the document is devoted to the structural reforms of the Armed Forces of the People's Republic of China. The White Paper also defines two main goals to be achieved in the construction of the Chinese armed forces by the end of the first half of the XXI century: by 2035, it is planned to complete the modernization of the organizational structure of the army, its weapons and equipment; by 2049, "to turn the Chinese armed forces into a world–class army."
The development of the defense sector directly depends on the economic growth of the country, which, despite the recent global crisis, demonstrates enviable stability.
Tairov R.A. and Khan A.D., July 30, 2020
An increase in military spending increases the country's defense capability, makes it more secure, and minimizes the risks caused by the geopolitical situation in the region and in the world. At the same time, defense spending stimulates the domestic market, increases employment, develops technology, and increases the competitiveness of both the country as a whole and the armed forces in particular.
The White Paper identifies further modernization of the fleet, aviation, cyber forces and satellite grouping as the main priorities. For this purpose, great importance is attached to three components – robotization, digitalization and the introduction of artificial intelligence.
China is actively developing robotics and control technologies for large groups of unmanned vehicles moving on land, water and air. The digitalization of the army is in full swing. The Chinese armed forces already use a military Internet communication system called "Closed Data Transmission Segment" at all levels of military administration. This allows you to have information about ground forces, aircraft that are at airfields and in the sky, as well as about ships and submarines, even military spacecraft.
The introduction of artificial military intelligence will allow commanders to make decisions faster, give orders to several formations and units at once, see a multidimensional map of the battlefield, and use automated combat robots.
As for the Chinese military-industrial complex, according to experts, it is among the ten most powerful defense industry in the world. Here we can identify three key factors of a sharp breakthrough in China's defense construction.
First, China has introduced a new model of defense industry management, making it more "market-oriented". And the introduction of digital technologies and related business processes at enterprises of the defense sector has allowed to reduce the number of working personnel, create consolidated production chains. Currently, many conglomerates are divided into smaller companies, forced to compete with each other for government orders and export contracts.
Secondly, in recent years, China has relied on in-depth military-civilian integration, actively using the achievements of the commercial sector in the defense industry and encouraging military factories to commercialize their developments.
Thirdly, a multiple increase in the military budget had the greatest effect. Chinese enterprises have the opportunity to attract the best university graduates, invest in scientific research and test new types of equipment.
Thus, taking into account the economic realities of China and wise governance, we can count on the fact that the set goals for the construction of the armed forces will be achieved.
As for the bilateral Kazakh-Chinese military cooperation, since the acquisition of sovereignty by the Republic of Kazakhstan, there has been a positive trend in establishing close partnership relations.
China was one of the first to recognize the independence of Kazakhstan. Over the past 30 years, the countries have brought interstate cooperation to the maximum level of strategic partnership. This mainly concerns the trade and economic sphere. In the military sphere, cooperation is not as active and fruitful, but it has great prospects.
In the conceptual documents, in the field of military security of both Kazakhstan and China, mechanisms of military and military-technical cooperation have been created, which allow them to be transferred to an active practical phase.
Military and military-technical cooperation
From 1998 to the present, the Kazakh Armed Forces have received gratuitous assistance from China in the form of military equipment for more than 160 million yuan.
Thus, according to the estimates of TSAMTO, in 2008-2015, China supplied military products to Kazakhstan for $ 75 million.
In 2016-2019, Chinese exports of military products amounted to $ 60 million, which, taking into account their deliveries in 2008-2015, is approximately 0.12% of the total share of China's total exports to Kazakhstan. This is, of course, a very small figure, but there is a tendency to expand cooperation in this area.
As for joint Kazakh-Chinese enterprises in the field of domestic defense industry, there is still little experience, but there is a large niche for the Chinese side in the segments of UAVs, MLRS, military transport aircraft, electronic industry products, etc.
Joint ventures localized in Kazakhstan could solve several tasks at once:
firstly, to ensure the transfer of technologies that stimulate the development of the domestic defense industry;
secondly, to increase the local content of products;
thirdly, it is more effective to promote a joint product to foreign markets.
For the development of military-technical cooperation between our countries, the participation of Chinese delegations and companies in international exhibitions of military and technical equipment held by the Kazakh side on the territory of the Republic of Kazakhstan is important.
The delegation from China under the leadership of the Minister of Defense of the People's Republic of China, Colonel-General Liang Guangle, visited the first exhibition in Kazakhstan "KADEX-2010" (Kazakhstan Defense Expo). More than 200 companies from 19 countries took part in the exhibition. Chinese companies did not participate in the exhibition.
253 defense enterprises from 23 countries were invited to KADEX-2012. In comparison with the 2010 exhibition, the feature of this exhibition was the presence of existing weapons. The PRC was represented by the diplomatic corps at the level of ambassador and military attache.
Three Chinese companies took part in the exhibition "KADEX-2014".
Eight Chinese companies have already participated in the exhibition "KADEX-2016" and, as part of the business program, Kazakh manufacturers have signed two contracts with them. In particular, the Kazakh company "Kaztechnology" has signed two contracts with the Chinese company "Norinco Corp", the subject of which was the transfer of equipment and technology for the production of large-caliber ammunition to Kazakhstan.
At the first anniversary – the fifth exhibition – KADEX-2018, the Chinese delegation was already represented by ten companies. Based on the industry specifics of enterprises,
which China has delegated to participate in KADEX- 2018, we can say that the offered products fully correspond to the requested positions of Kazakhstan.
Thus, there has been a positive trend in the participation of Chinese manufacturers of military and dual-use products in the exhibitions held in the territory of the Republic of Kazakhstan.
An important role in military cooperation between Kazakhstan and China is assigned to military exercises.
The planning and coordination of joint exercises take place within the framework of the SCO annual meetings at the level of defense ministers, within which the Kazakh and Chinese militaries closely cooperate.
Cooperation in the field of military education
With the development of military cooperation between Kazakhstan and China, there is a growing interest among Kazakhstani servicemen in obtaining military education in China. This is not surprising, taking into account China's successes in the defense sector and the growing level of Chinese military universities.
Over the past two decades, more than 200 Kazakhstani servicemen have studied at military universities in China. Currently, more than 30 Kazakhstani servicemen are studying in various military specialties in higher military educational institutions of China.
On the basis of the National Defense University named after the First President of the Republic of Kazakhstan - Elbasy, an auditorium of military art of the armed forces of China was opened, and in 2018, a class was opened at the republican school "Zhas Ulan", in which, as the main foreign language, Zhasulanov residents will study not only English, but also Chinese.
One of the important areas is cooperation in the field of cybersecurity. Minimizing cyber threats related to software and hardware required Kazakhstan to start creating a domestic electronic and software industry.
It is necessary to stimulate interest in this from Chinese companies, and Kazakhstan needs state support for initiatives related to ensuring regional security and the security of joint infrastructure and other projects.
An area of potential cooperation is border management. The border between Kazakhstan and China stretches for 1,520 kilometers. This, combined with the presence of threats of separatism, cross-border criminal groups, smuggling and illegal migration, reflects the common security interests of Kazakhstan and China, requires interfaced solutions to ensure the optimal functioning of crossings.
Summarizing the above, it is necessary to highlight the prospects for further development of Kazakh-Chinese military and military-technical cooperation.
The most promising areas of activity are:
Firstly, it is joint development and production of military and dual–use products in order to meet national needs and promote joint products to third-country markets. Purchases will also take place, however, they will not become the main form of cooperation and will be mainly of a point nature.
Secondly, in the creation of a bilateral mechanism to ensure regional security, as well as the security of various bilateral and multilateral projects, such as the Belt and Road, implying the protection of oil and gas pipelines, large infrastructure and other facilities.
The most likely joint projects
Firstly, the Digital Silk Road project (exchange of experience, information, training of specialists, etc.) based on the development of long-term partnerships to ensure cybersecurity.
Secondly, joint research and development work on regional security issues and the creation of a digital platform "Belt and Road".
Thirdly, the increase in the number of Kazakhstani servicemen sent to military universities in China, the strengthening of intellectual interaction in the field of military science and the exchange of experience.
Fourth, joint development of projects in the field of cybersecurity, in connection with cyber challenges to national and regional security.
Fifth, the development of regulations for military cooperation in the context of a pandemic to ensure security in border areas.