China’s military and security developments over the past few years have proven to be a significant modernization of its military capabilities. In an annual report released yesterday concerning the country’s military capabilities, the Department of Defense reported to Congress its analysis.
Even though the report states, “China’s ability to sustain military power at a distance, today, remains limited” the ramping up of its cruise and ballistic missile program remains the most active in the world. Combined with its significant soldiering and numerical capabilities, China is growing to become not only a major economic powerhouse but a military projectionist as well.
Since the Tiananmen Square protests of 1989, China has promised its citizenry a continuation of Communistic control coupled with a vague-free market prescription to make its population rich and amaurotic to true democratic change. After the US military’s precision strikes in the 1991 Gulf War, Chinese military doctrine implied a major change in investments from conventional Joint Strike weaponry to long-range precision strike capabilities. Coupled with what Joshua Kurlantzick states as “Soft Power”, China has moved from being not only an economic giant, but well on its way of becoming a military power player.
Although the report states the Chinese military capabilities are far from exuding power comparable to the US’s 7th fleet, to counteract such military might, its researchers are developing an anti-ship missile named the Dong Feng 21D capable of reaching distances of 900 miles. Essentially holding the ability to strike naval units in and around the West Pacific Ocean. Even though US anti-missile capabilities are far above global standards, the Dong Feng 21D’s introduction will, in the words of Defense Secretary Robert gates, “[have the] ability to disrupt our freedom of movement and narrow our strategic options.”
Yes, China has been modernizing its conventional weaponry, most of which is aimed at Taiwan. But its significant expansion in military capabilities comes in the form of its Cyber-Warfare and its implications beyond the Asia-Pacific Region. With an annually doubling Defense budget, China’s military prowess will continue to expand its military might. Coupled with its Dong Feng 21D missile, this continues to create an “anti-access area-denial capacity” (DoD Annual Report) which, in the event of an armed conflict, might hinder the US and its allies to come in aid to country’s such as Taiwan.