(Corrects Xi's comments in paragraph 8 to clarify he meant
building up China's military power to make the country rich)
BEIJING, April 15 Chinese President Xi Jinping
held the first meeting of a new national security commission on
Tuesday, saying China needed a coordinated approach to domestic
and foreign challenges, including social unrest, in "the most
complex time in history".
China announced the formation of the commission in November
at the end of a key party meeting to map out reforms.
Experts say it is based on the National Security Council in
the United States and will increase coordination among the
various wings of China's security bureaucracy, split now among
the police, military, intelligence and diplomatic services.
Possible international flashpoints for China include Japan,
North Korea and the South China Sea. China says it also faces
considerable threats at home, pointing to continued unrest in
two regions heavily populated by ethnic minorities which chafe
at Chinese rule - Tibet and Xinjiang.
Xi told the commission's first meeting that China faced the
"most complex time in history" at home and abroad when it came
to its security, the official Xinhua news agency reported.
China must "implement and put into practice an overall
national security view, paying attention to external as well as
internal security", Xi was cited as saying.
While Xi listed areas ranging from economic to nuclear
security, he also said the commission had to "take political
security as its base" and "seek stability", references to
protecting the ruling Communist Party's hold on power and
dealing with domestic unrest.
"Security is the condition for development. We can only
build up our military power by making the country rich, and only
with military power can we protect the country," Xi said.
The report did not mention any specific topics that were
On Monday, Xi urged the air force to adopt an integrated air
and space defence capability, in what state media called a
response to the increasing military use of space by the United
States and others.
While Beijing insists its space programme is for peaceful
purposes, a Pentagon report last year highlighted China's
increasing space capability and said Beijing was pursuing a
variety of activities aimed at preventing its adversaries from
using space-based assets during a crisis.
Fears of a space arms race with the United States and other
powers mounted after China blew up one of its own weather
satellites with a ground-based missile in January 2007.
Visiting air force headquarters in Beijing, Xi, who is also
head of the military, told officers "to speed up air and space
integration and sharpen their offensive and defensive
capabilities", Xinhua said.
It gave no details of how China expects to do this.
China has been increasingly ambitious in developing its
space programmes for military, commercial and scientific
purposes. Xi has said he wanted China to establish itself as a
But it is still playing catch-up to established space
superpowers the United States and Russia. China's Jade Rabbit
moon rover has been beset by technical difficulties since
landing to great domestic fanfare in mid-December.
(Reporting by Ben Blanchard; Editing by Nick Macfie)