China’s Military Modernizing to Invade Taiwan, Says Pentagon Report

Ann Santiago
January 18, 2019

The U.S. Defense Intelligence Agency (DIA) has published a new report warning that China's rapidly modernizing military poses a potent threat to security in Asia.

The Chinese military, known as the People's Liberation Army (PLA), "is likely to grow even more technologically advanced, with equipment comparable to that of other modern militaries", the report stated.

While DIA is most concerned about an eventual military action against Taiwan, in the near future its primary concerns rest in the South and East China Seas, where the Chinese military has built up and militarized artificial islands in areas claimed by China and other nations.

The report released Tuesday by the Defense Intelligence Agency said China saw a almost threefold increase in defense spending from 2002 to 2018.

The report suggested China's fear that foreign forces might attempt to interfere in an operation to take Taiwan has driven the development of "a range of systems to deter and deny foreign regional force projection", such as American carrier strike groups.

According to the DIA report, China has been acquiring technology "by any means available" - and its military is now more advanced than ever. It has used domestic laws that force foreign partners to share key secrets in exchange as they look to have access to the vast Chinese market.

In some areas of military technology China has already taken lead over all other rivals, including the United States.

China views U.S. Navy ships, which have passed through the Taiwan Strait in recent months, as an attack on its sovereignty, according to an AFP report.

Taiwan will not bow to Chinese pressure and called for global support against Beijing's "out-of-control actions", a presidential spokesman said on Thursday, after Beijing urged companies to change the way they refer to the self-ruled island.

The People's Republic of China is "on the verge" of fielding some of the most modern weapon systems in the world and is "continuing to strengthen" its military space capabilities - despite its public stance against the militarization of space, according to a Pentagon report.

Beijing's anti-ship missile-"the world's first road-mobile, anti-ship ballistic missile", according to the DIA report-is of particular concern to USA forces, given the importance of American aircraft carriers in projecting power in East Asia.

And the Chinese leader added that "we make no promise to renounce the use of force".

Xi has stepped up pressure on the democratic island since Tsai Ing-wen from the pro-independence Democratic Progressive Party became president in 2016.

China's territorial claims in the resource-rich South China Sea are driving major logistic developments in the Spratly and Paracel Islands. Though India can not hope to match China's ever-expanding military and economic clout, even as it remains opposed to "any militarization" of the so-called "Quad" with the US, Japan and Australia to not antagonize a prickly Beijing, New Delhi certainly needs to get its act together in the IOR. "I think that they are fairly comfortable with the progress they've made in building out this infrastructure down there, and then working on negotiations with the other claimant states over a longer term", the senior defense official said.

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