China Seeks Ability To Force
'Reunification' With Taiwan


(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 of China."
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 peaceful means."
"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 report said.
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 cruise missiles.
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.


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