Friday, February 5, 2010

US Annual Threat Assessment 2010: What Does It Say about China?

US Annual Threat Assessment 2010 is out ...

Four areas of PLA modernisation have been identified as challenging its neighbours: China's military relationship across the developing world; its aggressive cyber activities; its development of space & counterspace capabilities; its expansive definition of maritime & air space with consequent implications for restricted freedom of navigation for other states.

The report adds: "Important PLA modernization programs include: ballistic and cruise missile forces capable of hitting foreign military bases and warships in the western Pacific; anti-satellite (ASAT) and electronic warfare weapons to defeat sensors and information systems; development of terrestrial and space-based, long-range intelligence, surveillance, and reconnaissance systems to detect, track, and target naval, air, and fixed installations; and continuing improvements to its increasingly capable submarines to place naval surface forces at risk. Many of these programs have begun to mature and improve China’s ability to execute an anti-access and area-denial strategy in the Western Pacific."

What is worrying is the increasing trend in China to find military solutions to geopolitical problems. The Taiwan issue remains a territorial issue that can be sorted out through non-military means; militarization of the conflict can lead to additionally security burden in the region. China has argued time and again that its military modernisation is geared towards a Taiwan scenario, but many of the capabilities that China has acquired in the recent past go well beyond Taiwan.

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