The white paper, parts of which were published by the official Xinhua news agency, states that China will build a powerful defense force that's proportionate to its international standing and regional interests.
"China will never seek hegemony or behave in a hegemonic manner, nor will it engage in military expansion," the paper said.
The paper states that China has around 850,000 personnel in its military. Its military arsenal consists of conventional and nuclear missiles.
China is wary of regional claims to certain islands in the South China Sea. It faces additional security concerns from the Korean Peninsula.
The U.S. military has shifted its focus to the Asia-Pacific. Joint military drills with South Korea aggravated tensions with North Korea recently. The U.S. military said it was focusing more on the region now that the war in Iraq is over and the Afghan conflict is winding down.
The white paper states that China faces a wide variety of complex security challenges from conventional and non-conventional threats. The government maintains the right to rely on its military to safeguard its interests.
"Therefore China has an arduous task to safeguard its national unification, territorial integrity and development interests," it says.