Report: Chinese military able to operate far afield

China’s military is developing capabilities to conduct “new historic missions” far beyond the communist country’s borders, according to an annual Pentagon report to Congress.

Described as “military operations other than war,” the missions include counter-piracy and counterterrorism operations, humanitarian assistance and disaster relief, U.N. peacekeeping, protecting sea lanes and protecting space-based assets, the report states.

For example, the People’s Liberation Army in December deployed its 10th task force to the Gulf of Aden to support international counter-piracy efforts.

The report estimates China’s defense budget as $106 billion in 2011, an 11.2 percent increase from the year before. The report notes that the budget could be as high as $180 billion.

Mr. Helvey said there could be associated defense spending not included in China’s reported budget, such as research and development, nuclear force modernization, foreign acquisitions of weapons systems, and local contributions to local military forces.

Full article: Report: Chinese military able to operate far afield (New York Times)

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