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China’s military: Details of the Pentagon report

The Pentagon has released a new report claiming that China is working to expand its military. Here are some of the details of the report:



The report claims the China-Taiwan balance of military force “continues to shift in Beijing’s favor.”

It predicts China’s People’s Liberation Army is likely to steadily expand its military options for Taiwan through 2020, including those to deter, delay or deny “third party” intervention – a veiled reference to potential U.S. involvement in any conflict.


The People’s Liberation Army is acquiring large numbers of highly accurate cruise missiles, many of which have ranges in excess of 115 miles.

China is also developing an anti-ship ballistic missile, the DF-21D, which has a range exceeding 930 miles and is armed with a maneuverable warhead.

China also may be developing a new road-mobile inter-continental ballistic missile.

However China’s program to develop JL-2 submarine-launched ballistic missile, which has an estimated range of some 4,600 miles has faced repeated delays. The Pentagon had forecast it would achieve initial operating capability by 2010.


China launched its first carrier for a maiden run earlier this month (above top right), a refitted former Soviet craft, but the Pentagon said it still will take several additional years for China to achieve a minimal level of combat capability on an aircraft carrier, given the level of training for carrier pilots.”China likely will build multiple aircraft carriers with support ships over the next decade.”


The report says the January test flight of China’s stealth fighter jet, the J-20 (above bottom right), “highlights China’s ambition to produce a fighter aircraft that incorporates stealth attributes, advanced avionics and super-cruise capable engines over the next several years.” The US expects the J-20 to become operational by 2018.

It will give the PLA Air Force a platform capable of long-range, penetrating strikes into complex air defence environments.


“China’s growing economic, diplomatic and military presence and influence in Asia and globally is raising concern among many countries about China’s ultimate aims – and the threats this could present to them. These regional concerns could catalyze regional or global balancing efforts.”

“China is fielding an array of conventionally armed ballistic missiles, modern aircraft, UAVs, ground- and air-launched land-attack cruise missiles, special operations forces and cyber-warfare capabilities to hold targets at risk throughout the region.”


The report claims China is unlikely to be able to project and sustain large forces in high-intensity combat operations far from China prior to 2020. Still, it says by most accounts China is on track to achieve its goal of building a modern, regionally focused military by 2020.

China’s territorial claim to virtually the entire South China Sea “remains a source of regional contention” and is contested by Vietnam, Malaysia, the Philippines and Brunei. In the East China Sea, China also claims the Senkaku islands, which are controlled by Japan, in a long-standing dispute that caused tensions to flare in 2010.


China conducted a record 15 space launches in 2010 and expanded its space-based satellite network for intelligence, surveillance, reconnaissance, communications and meteorological operations.

China’s military strategists “regard the ability to utilize space and deny adversaries access to space as central to enabling modern, informatized warfare.”


Cyberwarfare capabilities would help China’s military gather information, slow down an adversary’s response time by crippling networks and serve as a force multiplier to kinetic attacks during a conflict. The PLA has set up “information warfare units” to attack enemy computer systems and protect Chinese networks.

Filed in: World News

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