As China becomes a superpower, so with it comes the need for a stronger military.
President Xi Jinping told the Navy this weekend that he wants his military to train harder, strengthen their defense capabilities and protect the country’s “sovereignty, security and development.”
Last week, President Xi was at the Shenyang military theater of operations where he visited a training session aboard China’s first aircraft carrier, the Liaoning.
J-15 Flying Sharks took off and landed during his visit. There, Xi was briefed on how soldiers were progressing in their training and urged military leaders to “train harder.”
China is becoming more involved in regional military disputes.
It is currently locking horns with Manila, where president Benigno Aquino III canceled a planned trip to Beijing last week. Both countries have been battling over island real estate in the South China Sea. Last year, China took control of a tiny shoal near the northwestern coast of the Philippines, and this year it demanded that the Philippine Navy withdraw from the Second Thomas Shoal farther south. The Philippines asked the United Nations to solve the disputes.
In the East China Sea, there’s the ongoing fight with old rival Japan. The two have been going at it for months because of oil rich islands known as the Diaoyu Islands.
People forget that China is a superpower now, says Charles Stucke, chief investment officer at Guggenheim Investment Advisors. ”As a super power, China has status to bargain that other countries don’t have,” he says. China’s new found status as a powerhouse might require a stronger military to go with it. China now has two items of soft power in its foreign policy tool kit: showing the flag on shiny new aircraft carriers, and showing southeast the money. China is the major trading partner for nearly everyone in the region.
China has hand, as in the upper hand.
The rise of China has long been a growing concern among U.S. foreign policymakers. Of particular concern is the strength of Chinese military power and its relation to U.S. military capability.
A 106-page report by the Council on Foreign Relations titled “Chinese Military Power” (published in 2003) concluded that China is at least two decades behind the United States in terms of military technology and capability. If the United States continues to dedicate significant resources to improving its own military forces, as expected, the balance between the United States and China, both globally and in Asia, is likely to remain decisively in America’s favor beyond the next twenty years, according to the report’s authors.
If current trends continue, and if Japan continues to eschew a role as a regional military power, China will surely become the predominant military power in Asia, the report concludes.
China’s Military Goals & Trends
China is investing in military programs and weapons designed to improve extended-range power projection and operations in emerging domains such as cyberspace, outer atmosphere and electronic warfare. Current trends in China’s weapons production will enable the Chinese military to conduct a range of operations in Asia well beyond Taiwan, it’s favorite buzzing ground at the moment. The others will undoubtedly include the South China Sea, western Pacific, and even in the Indian Ocean, according to the State Department’s Annual Report to Congress on China.
Key systems that have been either deployed or are in development include ballistic missiles, anti-ship and land attack cruise missiles, nuclear submarines, modern surface ships, and their first-ever aircraft carrier, the Liaoning.
According to the State Department, China is working on a range of technologies to attempt to counter U.S. and other countries’ ballistic missile defense systems, including maneuverable reentry vehicles, decoys, jamming, thermal shielding, and anti-satellite weapons. China’s official media also cite numerous artillery training exercises featuring maneuver, camouflage, and launch operations under simulated combat conditions.
Investments in new missile technologies and training will strengthen China’s defense and enhance its strategic strike capabilities. Increases in the number of mobile intercontinental missiles and the beginning of submarine deterrence patrols will force the Chinese military to implement even more sophisticated command and control systems.
That will ultimate lead to what Xi wants: a high tech, greatly expanded and dispersed military force.
Full article: China Pres Urges Military To Expand, Strengthen (Forbes)