- (AFP) - China is modernizing its military to make possible
a forcible reunification with Taiwan and thwart US efforts to intervene,
a Pentagon report said.
- "Preparing for a potential conflict in the Taiwan
Strait is the primary driver for China's military modernization,"
said the report released Friday to the US Congress.
- "While it professes a preference for resolving the
Taiwan issue peacefully, Beijing is also seeking credible military options,"
said the report, entitled "The Military Power of the People's Republic
- US officials and other experts said it was the first
time one of the Pentagon's annual reports to Congress on the Chinese military
has called into question China's commitment to a peaceful resolution of
its differences with Taiwan, which Beijing regards as a renegade province.
- It broke new ground as well by emphasizing that China
is exploring strategies that would use missile strikes, blockades and even
cyberwarfare rather than a DDay-style invasion to bring Taiwan to heel.
- The report highlighted for the first time China's potential
threat to neighboring countries -- not just Taiwan.
- The report estimated China's total military spending
at 65 billion dollars a year, more than triple the 20 billion dollars in
defense spending publicly reported by Beijing. It added that China's military
spending could increase three or four-fold by 2020.
- "Both Beijing and Taipei have stated that they seek
a peaceful resolution to the unification issue," the report said.
"However, the PRC's ambitious military modernization casts a cloud
over its declared preference for resolving differences with Taiwan through
- "Beijing has refused to renounce the use of force
against Taiwan and has listed several circumstances under which it would
take up arms against the island," it said.
- In a section headed "key developments," the
report said China was moving "toward the goal of surprise, deception
and shock effect in the opening phase of a campaign" and said it was
exploring coercive strategies designed to bring Taiwan to terms quickly.
- "Beijing's military training exercises increasingly
focus on the United States as an adversary," the report said.
- Its air defense training concentrates on attacking stealth
aircraft, cruise missiles and helicopters, while defending against precision
strikes, electronic warfare and enemy reconnaissance, it said.
- In 2001, People's Liberation Army training emphasized
maritime and amphibious operations and included more combat units, the
- In the Nanking Military Region opposite Taiwan, China
has deployed approximately 350 short range ballistic missiles and has increased
the size of its deployed missile force at a rate of 50 a year, according
to the report.
- "The accuracy and lethality of this force also are
increasing," it said. "The PLA is developing variants of the
CSS-6 that enable attacks against Okinawa when forward deployed or against
Taiwan when deployed further inland."
- The report said China is upgrading its force of intercontinental
ballistic missiles, replacing its 20 CSS-4 Mod 1 missiles with a longer
range Mod 2 version.
- In addition, it is developing two extended range versions
of the DF-31: a solid propellant, mobile ICBM and a solid propellant submarine-launched
ballistic missile, according to the report.
- The report said China was relying heavily on Russia and
other former Soviet republics to modernize its forces.
- It is beefing up its air force with Su-30 and Su-27 fighter
aircraft from Russia, airborne early warning aircraft, and precision guided
weapons. It has extended the reach of its fighter aircraft by refueling
them in the air.
- "China has been upgrading its air facilities along
the Taiwan Strait," the report noted.
- At the same time, China has sought to improve its ability
to project force at sea with submarines capable of extended patrols and
surface ships with more capable air defenses and more lethal anti-ship
- They include Russian-made Sovremmennyy-class guided missile
destroyers and Russian Kilo SS submarines, one of the quietest diesel electric
submarines in the world.
- "China will acquire a new nuclear-powered attack
submarine class, the Type 093 Class SSN, which will carry wire-guided and
wake-homing torpedoes and cruise missiles," the report said.
- An array of new space systems, airborne early warning
aircraft, long-range unmanned surveillance planes, and over the horizon
radar will enable it to target naval activity in the western Pacific.
- Electronic warfare, cyberwarfare, space laser weapons
and radio frequency weapons are other areas China has explored.
- Copyright © 2002 AFP.