China's Rapidly Modernizing Military Has U.S. Senior Officials Concerned

Posted January 18, 2019

The country is said to be employing "more sophisticated satellite operations" and is "probably testing on-orbit dual-use technologies" that could be applied to counterspace missions.

Huang's remarks came after one of China's top government-linked think tanks, the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences, said in a report earlier this month that 66 of the world's 500 largest companies have used "incorrect labels" for Taiwan.

China is expanding its access to strategic foreign ports like Pakistan's Gwadar and Sri Lanka's Hambantota to pre-position the logistic framework necessary to support the growing presence of its military in the Indian Ocean and beyond, the Pentagon has said.

"China continues to develop a variety of counterspace capabilities created to limit or prevent an adversary's use of space-based assets during crisis or conflict", the DIA report states.

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China in 2015 announced its intention to build military facilities in Djibouti, citing reasons "to help the Navy and Army further participate in United Nations peacekeeping operations, carry out escort missions in the waters near Somalia and the Gulf of Aden and provide humanitarian assistance".

The PLA exercises control of China's airspace, filling a role similar to that which the Federal Aviation Administration plays in controlling airspace in the United States, it said. "Finally, as new threats emerge and as other militaries adjust their acquisition, strategies, and structure, China knows the PLA must be prepared to fight in new realms and adapt to the modern, high-tech battlefield".

China's growing military might means it has advanced capabilities in the air, at sea, in space and in cyberspace that will "enable China to impose its will in the region", the report notes.

These bases, and other improvements to the PLA's ability to project power during the next decade, will increase China's ability to deter by military force and sustain operations overseas, the report said. "China and Russian Federation have the largest remote sensing satellite fleets outside the US".

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As of May 2018, China's reconnaissance and remote sensing fleet consisted of more than 120 satellites - all created to collect data for civil, commercial, or military owners and operators. "We will have to interact with them, engage with them, deal with them, monitor them broadly more than we ever had to before, when they were very regionally focused near their own shores".

"China shifted funds and efforts to acquiring technology by any means available", the report read.

China has spent increasingly more money each year for more than a decade - including some $200 billion in 2018 - to modernize its weaponry and professionalize its People's Liberation Army, which has roughly 2 million troops, Defense Intelligence Agency officials determined in the report, "China Military Power". "In some areas, it already leads the world".

But the new weapons are not the leading concern, the report said, pointing instead to the possibility that China may soon feel confident enough in its capabilities to use its military force.

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Taiwan held live-fire exercises along its east coast on Thursday - the first since Chinese President Xi Jinping reasserted Beijing's willingness to use military force to bring the self-ruled island under its control.