Thursday, 11 October, 2007

China Fortifying Its Long-Range Military Arsenal

China's military buildup is increasingly aimed at projecting power far beyond

its shores into the western Pacific to be able to interdict even U.S.

aircraft carriers and other nations' military forces, according to a Pentagon

report released yesterday that outlines continued concerns over China's

rising strategic influence in Asia.Chinese military planners are focusing to

a greater degree than in the past on targeting ships and submarines at long

ranges using anti-ship cruise missiles.

"The People's Liberation Army is engaged in a sustained effort to interdict,

at long ranges, aircraft carrier and expeditionary strike groups that might

deploy to the western Pacific," a report said."Long-term trends in China's

development of nuclear and conventional weapons have the potential to pose

credible threats to modern militaries operating in the region," it said.The

annual report to Congress on China's military power also highlighted

Beijing's purchases of Russian weapons, its positioning of as many as 790.

Chinese strategists over whether Beijing should change its "no first use"

doctrine that bars using nuclear weapons except in response to a nuclear

attack.The 50-page report states that China's military buildup remains

primarily focused on Taiwan and India, and notes that its current ability to

sustain military power over long distances is limited. China's defense budget

is expanding apace with the new investments, the report said. Beijing

officially projects a growth in defense spending of 14.5 percent this year to

about $35 billion. But the report, citing the U.S. Defense Intelligence

Agency, puts the actual funding at twice or triple that amount -- or as much

as $105 billion -- when all military-related spending is tallied.

The report details how the Chinese military is investing in cruise missiles,

precision weapons and guidance systems that could target ships, submarines,

aircraft and airbases as far away as the "second island chain" including the

Mariana Islands and Guam. As part of this strategy, China is buying Russian

aircraft, such as the IL-76 transport and IL-78 tanker aircraft, and has

shown interest in the Su-33 maritime strike aircraft. China is in the early

stages of "developing power projection for other contingencies other than

Taiwan," said Peter W. Rodman, assistant secretary of defense for

international security affairs.

The report details how the Chinese military is investing in cruise missiles,

precision weapons and guidance systems that could target ships, submarines,

aircraft and airbases as far away as the "second island chain" . As part of

this strategy, China is buying Russian aircraft, such as the IL-76 transport

and IL-78 tanker aircraft, and has shown interest in the Su-33 maritime

strike aircraft. China is in the early stages of "developing power projection

for other contingencies".

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