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.”
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.
“A meeting between leaders is not simply for the sake of shaking hands and taking pictures, but to resolve problems,” Chinese deputy foreign minister Li Baodong told reporters ahead of a G20 summit next week that both Chinese President Xi Jinping and Abe will attend.
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 demand accounts for roughly 20% of the GDP of Southeast Asia nations.
“If China’s economy ever falters, and if it has a global economic impact, then we might see more problems for Japan in the mid and long term than we’d see in China,” Stucke says.
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 current force structure provides effective defense against any effort to invade and seize Chinese territory. However, while China will have the advantage of proximity to Asia, coupled with a growing importance to those regional economies, the United States could take a backseat. This is one reason why Washington keeps its naval and air presence in the region, in an effort to offset Bejiing’s ability to leverage future military capabilities into advantage against the U.S. and allied interests.
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.
The need to ensure trade, particularly oil supplies from the Middle East, has prompted China’s navy to conduct counter-piracy operations in the Gulf of Aden around Somalia and Yemen.
Moreover, the desire to protect energy investments in Central Asia, along with potential security implications from cross-border support to ethnic separatists, could also provide an incentive for military investment or intervention in this region if instability surfaces.
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.Source: Forbes – “China Pres Urges Military To Expand, Strengthen”– Kenneth Rapoza
- Xi Jinping’s Overlooked Revelation on China’s Maritime Disputes (thediplomat.com)
- China Escalates Islands Challenge to Japan on Philippine Success – Bloomberg (bloomberg.com)
- Clean-up shows Xi is in charge – Arthur Kroeber (chinaspeakersbureau.info)
- China moves to isolate Philippines, Japan (chinadailymail.com)
- China’s Xi Jinping disappoints world by promoting Maoist revival (chinadailymail.com)
- China’s Xi Vows to Protect Maritime Interests (hngn.com)
- China probes PetroChina executives (bbc.co.uk)
- China’s maritime ambitions making waves in Pacific (channelnewsasia.com)
- Xi Jinping promotes six PLA generals (wantchinatimes.com)
- China bans Philippines president unless Manila withdraws from territorial dispute (chinadailymail.com)