Sunday, 24 February, 2008
The review, which is conducted every four years, said a key goal for the US military in the coming years will be to "shape the choices of countries at a strategic crossroads."The QDR report noted China's steady but secretive military buildup since 1996.
"Of the major and emerging powers, China has the greatest potential to compete militarily with the United States and field disruptive military technologies that over time offset traditional US military advantages absent US counter strategies," the report said.The pace and scope of China's military buildup already puts regional military balances at risk, it said.It listed an array of high end military capabilities that China is investing in.
They include electronic and cyberwarfare, counter-space operations, ballistic and cruise missiles, advanced integrated air defense systems, next generation torpedoes, advanced submarines, land and sea-base strategic nuclear missiles, and unmanned aerial vehicles.
"These capabilities, the vast distances of the Asian theater, China's continental depth, and the challenge of en route and in-theater US basing place a premium on forces capable of sustained operations at great distances into denied area," the report said.
It said US policy aims at encouraging China to choose a path of peaceful economic growth and political liberalization, rather than military threat or intimidation.But, it said, "The outside world has little knowledge of Chinese motivations and decision-making or of key capabilities supporting its military modernization.""The United States encourages China to take actions to make its intentions clear and clarify its military plans."
Ryan Henry, principal deputy undersecretary of defense for policy, said the United States wanted to be a partner in China's peaceful rise, but have the means to dissuade it from taking an adversarial path."We think China should have a military capability sufficient to meet its genuine security needs," he told reporters. He indicated those should be regional in scope.
The report also flags US worries about Russia, citing the erosion of democracy there and restrictions on non-governmental organizations and press freedoms."Internationally, the United States welcomes Russia as a constructive partner but views with increasing concern its sales of disruptive weapons technologies abroad and actions that compromise the political and economic independence and territorial integrity of other states," it said.In the case of India, the report foresaw "continued and increased strategic cooperation."
The crew of the EP-3 electronic surveillance plane survived, but, unfortunately, so did some of its secrets.A newly released Navy investigation report on the April 1, 2001, incident concludes that some of those classified materials likely were found by Chinese officials who took control of the plane when it landed on China's Hainan Island.
The crew was detained on the island for 11 days and China refused Bush administration requests to fly the damaged plane home; it was cut up and flown back to U.S. territory in pieces.
A partially censored copy of the report was provided to reporters Thursday after it was released to Jane's Defense Weekly in response to a Freedom of Information Act request. Deleted were specifics about the classified materials aboard the spy plane and procedures for handling the materials.
Investigators found no fault with the crew's performance, although they recommended that aircrews of such planes be required to practice emergency destruction drills as part of regular training.The report made no assessment of the damage caused by the likely compromise of national secrets, which likely included information about U.S. electronic surveillance targets or techniques.
The EP-3 was flying southeast of Hainan Island, five hours into a routine mission over the South China Sea, when two Chinese F-8 fighter jets approached it. One of the fighters eventually struck the Navy plane in its No. 1 propeller, ripping the fighter in half and throwing the EP-3 out of control.The U.S. plane fell into an uncontrolled dive from about 22,000 feet, descending at a rate of 4,000 feet per minute. The Chinese pilot was killed.
"The destruction of classified material was accomplished while the aircrew was probably still in shock from the aircraft collision and the subsequent rapid descent of the aircraft and with very little time prior to landing," the report said.
After reviewing the investigators' findings, Adm. William Fallon, the vice chief of naval operations, in March 2003 recommended no disciplinary action against the crew, saying they "performed well under dire circumstances." A copy of Fallon's letter was released with the investigative report.The EP-3 crew belonged to Fleet Air Reconnaissance Squadron One, based at Naval Air Station Whidbey Island, Wash. The report said they were fully qualified and ready for the mission. The EP-3 is designed to conduct reconnaissance and collect electronic signals intelligence.
Materials classified as confidential, secret and top secret were, as a matter of normal practice, carried aboard the plane in papers, magnetic tapes, computer disks and computer hard drives, the report said.After the Chinese fighter struck the Navy plane, causing the U.S. plane to shake violently and snap-roll to the left at about a 140-degree angle of bank, the aircraft commander, Lt. Shane Osborn, gave the order for the crew to prepare to bail out.Out of control, the plane fell to about 15,000 feet when it began to level off but continued to vibrate violently.
At 10,000 feet, the crew regained partial control of the plane. Procedures do not require that destruction of classified material begin in that situation. After the No. 1 engine was shut down and the plane became more controllable, the crew was redirected to "prepare to ditch," meaning they would stay with the plane as it went down.Although not required at that point, the crew began to destroy classified material, the report said. Some was jettisoned out a hatch, and equipment was smashed with an ax and other hard objects such as metal containers. Upon landing at a military air base on Hainan Island some remaining classified papers were shredded.
The Chinese military ordered the Americans off the plane and took control of it. The investigation report said the crew had hidden some classified materials on the plane and hand-shredded some papers."Therefore, compromise of undestroyed classified material is highly probable," it concluded.
The South Korean newspaper Hankyoreh is reporting that it's obtained information on a top-secret dossier that claims China plans to build a nuclear-powered carrier by 2020. Those claims, if true, would certainly have big implications for China's military power -- extending the reach of China's navy out to Guam as the article notes:
A source close to Chinese military affairs said on March 27 that China has been promoting the construction of a 93,000-ton atomic-powered carrier under a plan titled the "085 Project." The nation also has a plan to build a 48,000-ton non-nuclear-powered carrier under the so-called "089 Project," added the source. China had so far been known to be pushing ahead with construction of a non-nuclear-powered carrier, but not an atomic-powered one.
Once the proposed Chinese carriers are deployed, the radius of the Chinese NavyÂ¡Â¯s range is expected to reach Guam, where a U.S. base is located. Thus, military experts are worried about ChinaÂ¡Â¯s moves prompting an arms race in Northeast Asia.
The dossier said the construction of the nuclear-powered carrier will be completed in 2020. China State Shipbuiling CorpÂ¡Â¯s Jiangnan shipyard located on Changxing Island near Shanghai, will be responsible for its design and construction. The size is similar to former SovietÂ¡Â¯s unfinished atomic-powered carrier Ulyanovsk, the dossier states. China reportedly secretly purchased the design of Ulyanovsk from Russia. When the nuclear-powered carrier is finished, China will own an aircraft carrier which is on par with the U.S.Â¡Â¯s newest of such vessels, the 97,000-ton atomic-powered USS Ronald Reagan, which recently docked at Busan Port to participate in a joint exercise between the South Korean and U.S. militaries.
UPDATE #1: Michael Goldfarb at the Weekly Standard says the carrier report, if true, may be nothin' more than a big bullseye, but it demonstrates China's commitment to being a world power.
I'd still contend that, as Brookes put it, Chinese carriers would be "nuthinâ€™ but big, fat gray targets," but that doesn't change the fact that an aircraft carrier would boost Beijing's ability to project "soft power." And deploying a Nimitz-sized nuclear carrier would, like the ASAT test, show that China is to be considered a military superpower.
UPDATE #2: Dave, a self-declared DANGER ROOM fan (which we always appreciate) tells me that the Korean newspaper's big scoop has actually been around for some time (okay, but in Chinese). He also notes the newspaper has confused the "085" with the "089" (the latter being the nuclear-powered carrier).
Monday, 18 February, 2008
The level of priority accorded to improving SOF capabilities seems to have grown even further over the past few years, as reflected by a passage in Chinas 2006 National Defense White Paper, which identifies improving special operations capabilities as one of the Armys major military modernization priorities. The white paper states, the Army aims at moving from regional defense to trans-regional mobility, and improving its capabilities in air-ground integrated operations, long-distance maneuvers, rapid assaults and special operations.â€ This increasingly strong interest in special operations capabilities almost certainly derives from Chinese analysis of the role of special operations units in the conflicts in Afghanistan and Iraq. It appears that Chinese analysts have devoted a considerable amount of attention to observing and analyzing the performance of U.S. and coalition special operations forces in both of these conflicts. Indeed, the Academy of Military Science (AMS) and Central Military Commission (CMC) reportedly established special research taskforces to analyze the role of special operations in Operation Enduring Freedom .
Chinese analysts argue that the role of SOF in Operation Enduring Freedom (OEF) and other recent conflicts underscores their increasing importance in fighting local wars under informatized conditions. For example, one recent Chinese article concludes that special operations forces have emerged from the shadows and moved to the center of the stage as a result of their central role in recent conflicts. According to the author of this analysis, SOF achieved "striking results in battle" in Afghanistan and the status of special operations forces increased even further following their widespread employment in Operation Iraqi Freedom (OIF), during which they conducted a variety of missions, including special reconnaissance, targeting for air strikes, direct action in the enemy's rear area, disruption of enemy logistics and search and rescue, as well as playing a key role in the decapitation strategy and participating directly in major combat operations . According to the author of this article, the influence of special operations is no longer relegated to the tactical and operational levels. On the contrary, the author asserts, SOF units are capable of directly achieving strategic aims. Consequently, the author concludes, SOF units have become an important force in high-tech local wars; they are indispensable to commanders because of their flexibility and utility, not only in low-intensity conflicts, but also in mid-to-high intensity warfare. Accordingly, the modernization of SOF units should receive a very high priority and the development of elite units should focus on informatized construction and realistic training.
This analysis is consistent with the findings of a number of recent articles in PLA Daily and other Chinese newspapers, which have highlighted the role of U.S. and coalition SOF in the war on terror, especially in Afghanistan and Iraq. Most of these articles reflect a favorable view of the potential contributions of SOF, but some also address the challenges of conducting special operations. For example, a January 2007 article on U.S. air strikes against al-Qaeda operatives in Somalia stated that opportunities to target the leaders of terrorist groups have been limited by the difficulties of acquiring actionable intelligence on the whereabouts of these elusive high-value targets.
Chinese Views on the Characteristics of Special Operations Forces
Chinese assessments of the role of foreign special operations forces in recent conflicts are an important influence on the development of the PLAs own SOF capabilities. Although much of the available Chinese writing on special operations focuses on assessing foreign experiences, some publications offer insights into how the PLA plans to apply these lessons learned to its own operations. At a general level, PLA writings on special operations define SOF units as elite combat units capable of conducting operations that may achieve strategic results despite their small numbers. For example, according to a 2002 China Militia article, the principle characteristic of small, elite special forces units, which are "very well equipped" (zhuangbei jingliang) and "highly trained" (xunlian yousu), is that they are "of unimposing stature but very strong and capable" (duanxiao jinghan) .
Some Chinese military publications go into greater detail, analyzing the characteristics of SOF and describing the potential roles of PLA special operations units in future warfare. Most notable in this regard is The Science of Campaigns, which defines campaign special warfare (zhanyi tezhong zhan) as a series of combat operations conducted by specially trained and equipped elite forces employing special tactics . Among the strengths of SOF units, according to this volume, are their survivability, self-reliance and flexibility (linghuoxing). SOF groups range in size from just a handful to a few dozen and serve multi-functional objectives. They usually operate in the enemys campaign deep areas, where they carry out operations that are integral to the success of a campaign. They are capable of conducting a variety of missions, and rapidly changing elements of their missions when necessary to achieve their general objectives. Chinese writers emphasize that the success of special warfare operations depends upon the elements of surprise and covertness. It is most difficult for an enemy to defend against special operations attacks when they are sudden and covert. This means that to complete their missions successfully, SOF teams must launch surprise attacks, striking at unexpected times and locations with unexpected combat methods and means. Given these characteristics, special warfare is timed mainly to take advantage of the darkness of night, bad weather, and the enemys negligence.
Based on this analysis of the characteristics and capabilities of SOF, PLA writers discuss a number of potential missions. According to The Science of Campaigns, for example, SOF can be employed to achieve a variety of general operational and strategic objectives, including attacking critical targets and infrastructure, paralyzing the enemys combat system, reducing the enemys combat capabilities, interfering with the enemys combat operations and creating favorable conditions for the main force. More specifically, SOF missions may include:
conducting strategic reconnaissance and collecting intelligence; capturing or assassinating key enemy personnel; engaging in harassment actions; participating in psychological operations; taking part in information and electronic warfare campaigns and launching direct attacks on targets such as airbases, ports, bridges, command and control facilities, radar sites, critical weapons systems, transportation and communications hubs and other rear area logistics facilities, bases and depots. If required, SOF can also provide direct support to main forces by concentrating a certain number of special forces to seize key targets and key points in an enemys deep area in order to directly help the offensive of the main force. In addition, other sources indicate that SOF units may participate in a variety of potential domestic missions, such as counter-terrorism operations, hostage rescue and perhaps even responding to unexpected incidents such as riots and outbreaks of social unrest.
Implications for a China-Taiwan Conflict
Although PLA writers generally refrain from discussing potential SOF missions in Taiwan scenarios, the more general analysis they provide sheds some light on how China would likely employ its special operations capabilities in a cross-Strait conflict. Indeed, these writings suggest that Chinese SOF would likely conduct a broad range of direct action, strategic reconnaissance and other special missions in the event of a conflict with Taiwan. Similarly, the U.S. Department of Defense assesses that specific missions assigned to PLA SOF units in Taiwan contingency operations would likely include conducting reconnaissance and surveillance; locating or destroying C4I assets, transport nodes, and logistics depots; capturing or destroying airfields and ports; and destroying air defense facilities.
In a Taiwan conflict, PLA special operations units would probably play a particularly important role in strategic reconnaissance and battle damage assessment (BDA) missions by supplementing Chinas growing space-based and airborne intelligence, surveillance, and reconnaissance (ISR) capabilities. For example, SOF units could provide targeting data for precision strikes against critical military targets such as Taiwans major airbases or other government and military facilities. They could also assess the effectiveness of attacks on such targets. Moreover, Chinese media reports indicate that SOF units would conduct strategic reconnaissance missions perhaps as far away as several hundred or thousand kilometers,â€ which suggests that PLA SOF might also attempt to conduct such missions against U.S. military bases in the region. Potential direct action missions would include attacks on Taiwans airbases, command and control facilities, ISR assets, and key logistics and transportation targets such as major highways and bridges. PLA SOF could also support the efforts of main forces by seizing control of ports or airfields to facilitate their arrival on the island.
Whether independently conducting strategic reconnaissance and direct action missions or supporting main forces, PLA SOF would almost certainly play an important role in almost any type of military operation against Taiwan, ranging from a limited, coercive use of force to a full-scale amphibious invasion. In particular, special operations might be an especially critical factor in a decapitation strategy scenario, in which the PLA would attempt to overthrow Taiwans democratically elected government by capturing or killing senior civilian officials and paralyze the military by degrading the ability of commanders to communicate with forces in the field . As part of a decapitation strike, analysts in Taiwan have speculated that the PLA would launch missile strikes or carry out special operations attacks against the Presidential Palace in Taipei and other important national-level command and control facilities to eliminate pro-independence leaders and paralyze the armed forces . In such a scenario, SOF units would probably infiltrate Taiwan long before the initiation of hostilities and then undertake missions, such as seizing key leadership facilities, attacking key communications nodes and supporting psychological and information operations. Although this would seem like a very high-risk strategy for the PLA, and one with a significant probability of failure, the threat of a potential decapitation strike cannot be ruled out entirely. Indeed, Taiwan has used scenarios involving PLA decapitation strikes in some of its recent military exercises .
Chinese analysts have carefully studied the role of foreign SOF in military operations from the Falkland Islands War to the U.S.-led invasion of Iraq in 2003. Based on Chinas analysis of U.S., British, and other foreign special operations in recent years, Chinese strategists envision SOF playing a variety of roles conducting strategic reconnaissance and direct action missions, participating in psychological and information operations and possibly supporting main forcesin future military conflicts. Although often implied rather than stated explicitly in Chinese writings, this almost certainly includes Taiwan contingencies. There are many uncertainties regarding actual Chinese special operations capabilities, but even if PLA SOF units are not on par with the worlds leading special operations units, they could nevertheless pose a serious threat to Taiwanand perhaps to U.S. forces as wellin a variety of conflict scenarios, ranging from a coercive campaign intended to achieve limited political objectives to a full-scale invasion attempt. Preparing to counter the Chinese SOF threat thus represents a growing challenge for planners and policymakers in Taiwan and the United States.
Beijings Unprecedented Focus on Africa
The international attention on Chinas relations with Africa is in part a result of the Chinese leaderships decision to make the resource-rich continent one of its foreign policy priorities in recent years. Hus latest trip to Africa is his second within a span of one year, the third as Chinas President and the fifth since he became a member of the Politburo in the early 1990s. In the summer of 2006, Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao toured seven African countries. Since 2004, six senior Chinese leaders from the nine-member Politburo Standing Committee of the Chinese Communist Party have visited Africa, covering most of the countries on the continent . The Chinese foreign ministers decision to select an African country as his first foreign trip of each year since 1991 indicates the extensive focus that Chinese leaders have placed upon Africa and, in doing so, reveals the importance that Beijing has attached to that part of the world.
The watershed event in Sino-African relations was the elaborate Forum on China-Africa Cooperation (FOCAC) summit held in Beijing last November. As a part of the 2006 Chinas Year of Africas and in commemoration of the 50th anniversary of Chinas diplomatic relationship with Africa, 48 out of the 53 African countries sent their leaders to Beijing for a gathering that no other country in the world has yet been able to assemble. Beijings streets and subways were filled with celebratory signs; President Hu, standing at the Great Hall of the People, received all 48 African leaders, most of them presidents or prime ministers and over the course of the following days, promised a long list of future initiatives of cooperation bundled with generous financial incentives:
- A new type of China-Africa strategic partnership, characterized by â€œpolitical equality and mutual trust, economic win-win cooperation and cultural exchanges, was announced as an overall framework in bilateral relations.
- Additional high-level bilateral visits in order to maintain the positive momentum of Sino-African relations were proposed. The foreign ministers of China and the African countries will hold political consultations in New York on the sideline of the UN General Assembly to exchange views on major issues of common interest.
- China and Africa will work to more than double the current trade volumes by 2010, reaching $100 billion in bilateral trade.
- China will encourage investment in Africa by setting up a China-Africa development fund amounting to $5 billion and establishing special economic zones in Africa.
- Beijing will provide African countries with $3 billion in preferential loans in the next three years, while also canceling $1 billion of debt from African countries.
- Trade deals signed between Chinese and African corporations during the summit totaled $1.9 billion.
- In addition to providing a $37.5 million grant for anti-malarial drugs in the next three years, Beijing will assist African countries in building 30 hospitals and 30 demonstration centers for the prevention and treatment of malaria
- China will build 100 rural schools in Africa over the next three years and double the number of current scholarships given to African students to study in China from 2,000 to 4,000 by 2009 .
The Three Notables: Sudan, Zambia and South Africa
President Hus much publicized African trip is clearly a strategic step and a committed follow-up to the FOCAC summit. To carry out Beijings promise of enhanced cooperation, Hu delivered offers and initiatives at every stop of his eight-country tour. Three particular countries on Hus itinerary, however, generated more headlines than the others: Sudan, Zambia and South Africa. Each country represents a specific challenge that Beijing faces in its African diplomacy.
Of the three countries, China has the most significant energy interests in Sudan, and its oil companies have been operating in the country since the departure of the Western oil majors in the mid-1990s. The state-owned China National Petroleum Cooperation has the largest overseas production in Sudan, and other Chinese firms have also invested heavily in refineries, pipelines and other infrastructure projects. Bilateral trade reached $2.9 billion in the first eleven months of 2006. China is Sudans largest trading partner, while Sudan is Chinas third-largest trading partner in Africa . In recent years, Beijing has been facing increased international criticism for its unwillingness to use its significant economic leverage to persuade the Sudanese government to cease its sponsorship of atrocities in the Darfur region. In what seemed to be a response to the criticism and possibly a departure from Chinas traditional policy of non-interference in other countries domestic affairs, Hu presented a four-point proposal on seeking a resolution on Darfur during his meeting with Sudanese President Omar Hassan Ahmed al-Bashir. The most important point was Hus support of a United Nations peacekeeping mission in Darfur . While it is too early to conclude from such a mild case of interference that there are any major changes in Chinas foreign policy tenets, Hus Sudan encounter certainly reflects Beijings desire to stabilize Sudan and to be perceived as a responsible power by the international community.
In Zambia, the rapid influx of Chinese businessmen and investment in the countries rich copper and other commodity sectors has resulted in accusations that many of the Chinese owners have exploited the local workers. Not long ago, the opposition leader in Zambias election ran on an anti-China platform, and though he lost the election, accusations of low wages and other mistreatment in Chinese-owned mines linger. Hus stop in Zambia was marked by efforts from both sides to defuse criticisms, with Beijing offering Zambia $800 million in special loans and canceling $350 million in debts that Zambia owed to China. The two governments also announced the establishment of a special economiczone. While Hu emphatically rejected the view that China is simply replacing the old colonial powers, interested in extracting Africas resources for its own economic benefits, Chinas own record of labor protection during the past three decades is a troubling one; extraordinary efforts will be required if fair labor laws are to be strictly enforced abroad.
Chinas presence in South Africa is likewise being questioned, though the debate has been centered upon the extent to which bilateral economic ties between the two countries are competitive or complementary. South Africa is Chinas largest trading partner on the continent, with bilateral trade totaling $6.3 billion in 2005, up 42.4 percent year-on-year . As the most advanced economy in Africa, South Africa's domestic economy has received serious challenges from the arrival of Chinese products. There are significant concerns that Chinese imports are resulting in the loss of manufacturing jobs in South Africa. Facing concerns that South Africa may end up in a neocolonial relationship, exporting resources to China and receiving more expensive valued-added manufacturing goods in return familiar pattern that characterizes Africas past colonial trade relations with Europe Hu pledged to address the issue of trade imbalances between China and Africa, which are heavily in Chinas favor.
Africa a Zero-Sum Game?
Regarding the prospects of further China-Africa cooperation, the issues raised during Hus latest trip to Africa will almost certainly resurface again. Zhongnanhais economic interests in the continent as well as its global aspirations guarantee that China will not be disengaging from Africa in the near future. In fact, Chinas policymakers and academics will pay even closer attention to these contentious problems, and Beijing is likely to continue to adjust its policies toward Africa in order to both advance its relations with the continent and to fend off international criticism.
Such resolve may only be reinforced, rather than weakened, by the recent decision of the U.S. military to create an Africa Command (USAFRICOM). The fact that the announcement coincided with President Hus tour of Africa may lead China to believe that the United States intends to compete with it for both geopolitical influence and resources on the continent. Yet, such a move is likely to reinforce Beijings awareness of the current limitations of its global reach, and could strengthen the voices inside Chinas military and policymaking circles that call for the development of even greater power projection capabilities.
The irony is that both China and the United States have similar interests in gaining access to Africas vast energy and raw material resources, and both require a stable environment on the continent in order for them to achieve their objectives. The two major powers could also work together to tackle many of the development problems facing African countries. It is therefore in Beijings interests to forge a truly win-win situation in its relations with Africa, while exploring a cooperative framework with the United States and the EU countries to ensure that the major powers do not engage in hostile policies that harm both the African people as well as their own interests.
Wednesday, 13 February, 2008
China’s entire fleet of approximately 55 general-purpose submarines conducted a total of six patrols during 2007, slightly better than the two patrols conducted in 2006 and zero in 2005.
The 2007 performance matches China’s all-time high of six patrols conducted in 2000, the only two years since 1981 that Chinese submarines conducted more than five patrols in a single year.
The new information, obtained by Federation of American Scientists from the U.S. Navy under the Freedom of Information Act, also shows that none of China’s ballistic missile submarines have ever conducted a deterrent patrol.
Just what constitutes a Chinese “patrol” is secret, according to the U.S. Navy, but it probably refers to an extended voyage away from the homeport area (see here for further definitions). The seven Chinese patrols conducted in 2007 is but a fraction of the number of patrols conducted by the U.S. submarine force, which musters well over 100 patrols per year. But a comparison of U.S. and Chinese submarine patrol levels is not possible because the two navies have very different missions. China has no overseas military commitments and uses its submarine fleet almost exclusively as a coastal defense force, whereas the U.S. submarine force is constantly engaged in forward operations alone or with allies.
The Chinese patrol rate compares better with that of the Russian Navy, which has largely ceased forward submarine operations compared with those of the Soviet Union during the Cold War. Russian general purpose submarines conducted seven patrols in 2007.
In historic perspective, the six Chinese submarine patrols conducted in 2007 continues a trend that China in this decade has sent slightly more submarines on patrol than during the 1990s. Whereas Chinese submarines in the 1990s conducted an average of 1.2 patrols each year, the average has been 3.4 patrols since 2000.
About Those Boomers
Twenty-five years after it launched its first ballistic missiles submarine, Xia (Type 092), China has yet to conduct its first deterrent patrol. The new information confirms that neither the Xia, nor the two new Jin-class (Type 094) ballistic missile submarines - the first of which was launched in 2004 - have ever conducted a deterrent patrol.
The single-warhead Julang-1 sea-launched ballistic missile developed for the Xia has been test launched twice, but is not thought to be fully operational and has been referred to by the U.S. intelligence community for years as the CSS-NX-3 (X for experimental). Each Jin-class submarine has 12 launch tubes for the new Julang-2 sea-launched ballistic missile, which the U.S. intelligence community estimates will carry a single warhead.
The future mission of the missile submarines appears to be regional because the range of the missiles and operational constraints facing the submarines limit the targets that can be held at risk. The range of the Julang-2 is estimated by the US intelligence community at more than 8,000 km (4,970+ miles), which brings Hawaii and Alaska (but not the continental United States) within reach from Chinese territorial waters. Assuming they made it out of port past lurking U.S. attack submarines, the Chinese missile submarines would have to sail through the narrow straight between South Korea and Japan into the Sea of Japan for its Julang-2 missiles to be able to strike the Seattle area.
The Bo Hai Bay has been suggested as a possible deployment area for China’s missile submarines because it would offer more protection against hostile attack submarines. From the shallow bay, the Julang-2 missiles could be used to target Guam and Alaska, India, Russia, and - at the limit of its range - Hawaii.
There are also rumors - one apparently even with a photo - that China may plan to homeport some of its ballistic missile submarines at the new submarine base under construction at Hainan Island in the South China Sea. The infrastructure includes what appears to be a waterway entrance to an underground facility similar to the underground facility at Jianggezhuang submarine base near Qingdao where the Xia is based. Hainan Island has access to deeper waters than Jianggezhuang, but is also less protected. From Hainan Island the Julang-2 would be within range of Guam, India and most of Russia, but not Hawaii.
The U.S. Navy has assessed that China might build as many as five Jin-class submarines “in order to provide more redundancy and capacity for a near-continuous at-sea SSBN presence,” but is yet unclear whether China plans to develop a near-continuous sea-based deterrent or just a surge capability for deployment in a crisis. If all current ballistic missile boats became fully operational, China could deploy a maximum of 36 warheads at sea, although at least one of the boats would probably be in overhaul at any given time. Whatever the future mission, absent any deterrent patrols so far, the Chinese military will first have to learn how to operate the missile submarines in a way that would matter.
Despite the rebound in general purpose submarine patrols, dramatic reports from recent years about Chinese submarines operating inside Japanese territorial waters or surfacing close to U.S. aircraft carriers have been largely absent in 2007. The meaning of the patrol rebound is yet unclear. After all, it follows a complete absence of submarine patrols in 2005, the fourth year since 1981 that China’s submarine fleet did not conduct any patrols despite introduction of several new classes of more advanced submarines for greater reach. That modernization has (not yet) manifested itself in the form of a clear increase in submarine patrols.
The patrol number does not say anything about what the submarines did during the six patrols. They might have been basic attempts to sail far from shore to test navigational equipment or communication with the homebase, or they might have included more advanced tactical operations. They might have been conducted by six different submarines, or only a couple.
Yet for the Chinese submarine force overall, six patrols do not provide very much operational experience for more than 50 submarines and their crews. If China did plan a more extended reach for its submarine force, one might expect the patrol rate to continue to increase in the next couple of years. Only the future will tell. But the operational experience from the 55 patrols conducted by the entire submarine force between 1981 and the end of 2007 suggests that China’s submarine force - at least for now - remains a coastal defense force.
This Air Independent System (AIP) will equip the first two submarines diesels with the type Agosta-90B, delivered in 1999 by DCN Cherbourg and 2003 by the arsenal of Karashi.
Built like the second submarine in technology transfer, Hamza, launched this summer in Pakistan, was equipped right from the start with the MESMA. For DCN, the tests at sea of the building, envisaged in the next months, will be crucial, these tests being the first in natural size for the French AIP. If this countryside is conclusive, DCN can hope to take ascending some on its German competitor TKMS and its system containing fuel cells.
The AIP system is very quiet and produces no exhaust heat making the submarine very diffcult to detect compare to the traditional propulsion system submarines, the AIP system will give the submarine a considerably increased autonomy in diving, spending 4 days with nearly three weeks. Making turn a generator which supplies a steam turbine, the system functions according to the same principle as the nuclear propulsion, the hot source being replaced by ethanol. Direct consequence, the ship does not have any more needs to supply its engines in air via the snorkel.
In the future, the fuel of the MESMA will be rather diesel, which will make it possible for the submarines to embark one type of fuel.
The first two Pakistani submarines, Khalid and Saad, will receive a new section of 9 meters containing the AIP, during a major maintenance action. Their length will be carried, as for first Agosta, from 67 to 76 meters and displacement in diving of 1760 to 1980 tons.
"The people involved in the project consider the AIP integration fairly challenging initially when assembly facilities were being set up so it was skipped for the first two submarines. Khalid and Saad both will be equipped with AIP system during their normal overhaul. The AIP was always on the roadmap for all three Agosta 90Bs in the PN service."
In addition to this program, DCN always hopes to sell Pakistan submarines of the type Marlin, or Scorpène. On this contract, the French are in the competition with TKMS.
Speculation with "China's aircraft carrier threat" still going on overseas
A couple of overseas media and scholars abroad have speculated on the same popular topic concerning China's aircraft carriers. In late March, a media unit in South Korea once again troted out the "aircraft career threat" theory with a reportage that China is expected to build a nuclear-powered aircraft carrier of the 90000-ton class and will go into service in 2020.
As a matter of fact, such allegations on Chinese aircraft carriers have emerged repeatedly from the beginning of 2006.
To date, Senior Colonel Li Jie, an ace researcher with the Institute of Naval Military Affairs in China, has clarified the subject in his interview with the China Central Television or known popularly as CCTV.
Some allegations on the "aircraft carrier threat" theory are based solely on the "Minsk" and "Kiev" carriers anchored offshore respectively in south China's Shenzhen city and the industrial and business city of Tianjin in north China, the two decommissioned aircraft carriers China had purchased are currently for travelers to visit at scenic sites. Meanwhile, a defense affairs journal in Canada went so far as to hype a cement-structured facility modeled on the carrier vessel in an outlying Shanghai park, and took it as an evidence to prove China is currently building its own aircraft carriers.
"Cement Vessel" does not have any military value
The most eccentric, absurd assertion is a "cement aircraft carrier" or simply a concrete-made vessel constructed on the picturesque"Dianshan Lake" in the outlying Qingpu district on outskirts of Shanghai, which was erected solely for sightseers.
China is said to finish building three 60000-ton aircraft carriers by 2016, and this is simply an out-and-out fantastic story! First, it is out and out impossible for China to build three such vessels of 60,000 to 90,000 tons within a span of nine years. And it will take at least about 5 billion US dollars to build such a large-size aircraft carrier. Let alone the costf for an aircraft fleet carried by the vessel.
If the costs for maintaining the relevant facilities, for the training and living allowance of the crew and the formation of carriers are included, such a carrier would cost anywhere from 17 billion to 18 billion dollars in the United States. And the total spending is almost unbearable or unthinkable for an ordinary country.
It is up to China to decide whether or not it will build aircraft carrier
Media from overseas concocted the "China threat theory" with respect to the Chinese aircraft carrier topic and kept stepping up and upgrading the assertion. Then, what is the aim of the overseas media in peddling China's "carrier threat" theory?
With its rise and vigorous development, quite a few personages feel fearful whenever China makes any move, and they will proceed to contain, intercept and besiege it. Moreover, they have a psychology to curb its development, Li acknowledged. Furthermore, some countries very much want to have a hypothetical foe to serve as a target for their attack in times of war, he added. Then, they can ask Congress or other institutions concerned for more money to beef up their national war capacity.
The speculation in such promotions will not produce any negative effect on the part of China, as it has its own strategic thinking and correct policy alignment. What weaponry China wants to develop and what road it wants to take will all be decided by China itself. In developing any type of weapon, China has to take into account its own specific national conditions. The first and foremost is economic strength, that is, whether the overall national strength has ascended to such a level. The second is whether its science and technologies can match the norms with which to build carrier vessels. And the last but not the least is whether China is in need of such carriers from its strategic point of view.
To date, China is capable of building aircraft carrier, Huang Qiang, a spokesman for the Commission of Science, Technology and Industry for National Defense of China (CSTIND), was quoted as saying. Furthermore, Zhang Yunchuan, the CSTIND chairman, said in March 2007 that China was doing researches for the building of aircraft carriers through its self-reliant efforts. "China stands for strategic active defense and, even when it owns aircraft carriers, it will definitely not intrude into or occupy any other nation or resort to force with the use of carrier vessel," Zhang said.
"Personally, I say China should have aircraft carriers"
Li Jie, also a noted researcher with the Institute of Naval Military Academy, told reporters in an interview with them that he personally deemed China was entitled to own aircraft carriers, which not only symbolize the image of a nation but demonstrate a mighty, deterrent force. A brief account of his interview reads as follows:
Q: Do you feel China should own aircraft carriers personally as you have been carrying out researches with regard to the naval military issue for so many years?
Li: As far as I'm concerned, I feel China should own carrier vessel. To build an aircraft carrier is not merely an "aircraft carrier" issue but poses an image of a nation, apart from producing a tremendous deterrent.
Q. In addition to attention from worlwide, a debate has been going on at home whether China should build aircraft carrier. What faction are you in favor of and do you know the view of the opposing faction?
Li: One is the problem technologically, and possibly not so far been attainable in technology.
Q. Is China capable to make the best and first-rate aircraft carriers? And this is the second point.
Li: Another issue is the ratio of efficiency to costs. In the words of ordinary citizens, "the loss somewhat outweighs the gain." In other words, you've spent so much but it is not so useful.
Q. What will you say to those who have spread so many absurdities on China's carrier vessels, if they come to talk to you?
Li: I'll scathingly refute their nonsense point by point.
Q. Once China has its own aircraft carrier, will the threat theory be more serious?
Li: China has a set objective as we have just mentioned, and we do not care what others might say.
An American military intelligence officer, asked some years ago how far the Chinese could project their military power, answered only half-jokingly: “About as far as their army can walk.”
That is changing rapidly today as China’s leaders fuel the budgets of the People’s Liberation Army, which comprises all of their armed forces. Says a new report from the Council on Foreign Relations, the think tank in New York, China is driven both by “a clear operational objective,” which is to take Taiwan, the island Beijing claims, and “a clear strategic objective,” which is to be a modern power.
China’s military priorities are four: the navy, in which submarines take first place; the air force of jet fighters and long range bombers; space, not only threatening U.S. and other satellites but putting up their own; and what the Chinese call the Second Artillery, their land-based nuclear weapons including 1,000 missiles aimed at Taiwan.
“Submarines currently dominate China’s naval development,” say analysts Andrew Erickson and Andrew Wilson, writing in a recent U.S. Naval War College Review. China has long been rumored to be eager to build aircraft carriers but for now, these analysts say, discussion of submarines “is much more advanced and grounded in reality than that of carriers.”
At first, the Chinese got submarines and submarine technology from the Soviet Union and, to a lesser extent, from France and Israel. Now they are building their own. Moreover, they are retiring older boats and replacing them with fewer but more advanced boats, both diesel-electric and nuclear powered.
Over the next eight years, the Chinese plan to have in operation five Han- and six Shang-class nuclear-powered submarines whose mission will be to attack aircraft carriers and other surface warships. In addition they will have 15 Song and 17 Ming diesel-electric boats with the same task but closer to home, according to Global Security, a private research organization.
China also plans to put to sea a nuclear-powered submarine, Jin, armed with ballistic missiles tipped with nuclear warheads and to retire an older boat, Xia, with the same arms. An analyst in Taiwan, Cheng Dai-ch’eng, wrote: “The communists are probably not going to use their submarine-launched missiles against us, but against the United States who may come to our aid in future conflicts.”
The Chinese have vigorously denied that their navy is a threat to other countries. An article in Huangiu Shibao, a government newspaper, asserted last month that Americans were “talking nonsense about details of China having expanded its submarine fleet.” Some Americans agree, at least in part, saying it will be many years before Chinese submarines will be able to challenge the U.S. Navy.
Even so, Chinese military planners have revised their operational thinking on attack submarines. Before, they patrolled close to China’s coast to repel an invasion. Now, says a fresh study from the U.S. Office of Naval Intelligence, they are deployed farther out to resist invasion, protect territorial sovereignty and safeguard the nation’s maritime rights.
Chinese submarines have been detected well past what the Chinese call the first island chain that runs from Japan through Taiwan and the Philippines to Indonesia. “Offshore defense” evidently calls for Chinese submarines to venture “as far as the PLA Navy’s capabilities will allow it to operate,” the Office Naval Intelligence says. Some Chinese officers suggest that a future objective will be patrols as far east as Hawai’i.
A critical question is Chinese seamanship. An American naval officer has 500 years of seagoing experience behind him, 250 years of the British navy and 250 years since the sailing ships of Salem plied the seven seas and John Paul Jones founded the U.S. Navy. American submariners have 100 years of experience, since the early 20th century, to draw on.
In contrast, China in 5,000 years of history has produced only one great sailor, Adm. Zheng He or Cheng Ho, who sailed the Pacific and Indian oceans in the 15th century. Chinese submariners, hampered by the Sino-Soviet split and the chaos of the Cultural Revolution in the 1960s and 1970s, are just beginning to learn their craft in highly complicated vessels.
U.S. military leaders, including Secretary of Defense Robert Gates, have for many months contended that the Chinese should be more open about their military intentions, including why they are expanding their submarine fleet. Pointing to China’s surging economy that pays for the boats, an American submariner, wondered out loud: “I suppose they do it because they can.”
Monday, 11 February, 2008
In his first visit to China as chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, Marine Gen. Peter Pace went directly into meetings with Defense Minister Gen. Cao Gangchuan and other top leaders of China’s 2.3 million-member armed forces.
His four-day visit also includes a seminar at the Military Science Academy, visits to military installations and meetings with regional military leaders in the northern city of Shenyang and Nanjing in the east.
China earlier this month announced a 17.8 percent annual rise in defense spending to about $45 billion, prompting calls from Washington and Tokyo for Beijing to show greater transparency about its military aims. The funding jump was the highest since 1995, although experts believe real Chinese defense spending may be much higher.
January’s test, in which a Chinese missile warhead blew a defunct Chinese weather satellite apart, also was strongly criticized. U.S. officials said it called into question China’s self-proclaimed opposition to the weaponization of outer space.
However, in a news conference Wednesday, Pace said he did not regard China as a threat and hoped to further rebuild military ties that have languished since an in-air collision between a U.S. spy plane and a Chinese jet fighter over the South China Sea in 2001.
He said he would urge additional joint search-and-rescue exercises and expand contacts between officers, including having junior officers from China and the U.S. attend courses together.
“When you get to know each other and know how each other thinks, you build trust and confidence,” Pace told reporters in Japan, a close U.S. ally where he began his regional tour. “I’m looking for ways to respect China as a nation that deserves respect.”
Recent months have seen the People’s Liberation Army move tentatively to re-engage with the U.S. military, beginning with an invitation last year to observe war games from the former commander of U.S. forces in the Pacific, Adm. William J. Fallon.
That was followed by a joint search-and-rescue exercise and the restoration of consultation mechanisms on maritime security, humanitarian disaster relief and military environmental protection.
Most recently, U.S. and Chinese ships joined those from other nations in anti-terrorism drills hosted by Pakistan.
Reporting Pace’s arrival, China’s official Xinhua News Agency said the visit was the “latest sign of the warming ties between the two armed forces.”
However, the report also cited as an example of obstacles facing the relationship the U.S. plan to sell 218 AMRAAM medium range air-to-air missiles and another 235 Maverick missiles to Taiwan, the self-governing island that China has vowed to unify with by force if necessary.
Washington is Taiwan’s main arms supplier and is legally bound to respond to threats against it.
Pace was welcomed with a full-dress arrival ceremony at the Chinese Defense Ministry in western Beijing. Along with Cao, he was due to meet with Gen. Liang Guanglie, chief of the PLA’s General Staff Department, and Gen. Guo Boxiong, China’s top general.
The blueprint for such an assault, drawn up by two hackers working for the People’s Liberation Army (PLA), is part of an aggressive push by Beijing to achieve “electronic dominance” over each of its global rivals by 2050, particularly the US, Britain, Russia and South Korea.
China’s ambitions extend to crippling an enemy’s financial, military and communications capabilities early in a conflict, according to military documents and generals’ speeches that are being analysed by US intelligence officials. Describing what is in effect a new arms race, a Pentagon assessment states that China’s military regards offensive computer operations as “critical to seize the initiative” in the first stage of a war.
The plan to cripple the US aircraft carrier battle groups was authored by two PLA air force officials, Sun Yiming and Yang Liping. It also emerged this week that the Chinese military hacked into the US Defence Secretary’s computer system in June; have regularly penetrated computers in at least 10 Whitehall departments, including military files, and infiltrated German government systems this year. Cyber attacks by China have become so frequent and aggressive that President Bush, without referring directly to Beijing, said this week that “a lot of our systems are vulnerable to attack”. He indicated that he would raise the subject with Hu Jintao, the Chinese President, when they met in Sydney at the Apec summit. Mr Hu denied that China was responsible for the attack on Robert Gates, the US Defence Secretary.
Larry M. Wortzel, the author of the US Army War College report, said: “The thing that should give us pause is that in many Chinese military manuals they identify the US as the country they are most likely to go to war with. They are moving very rapidly to master this new form of warfare.” The two PLA hackers produced a “virtual guidebook for electronic warfare and jamming” after studying dozens of US and Nato manuals on military tactics, according to the document.
The Pentagon logged more than 79,000 attempted intrusions in 2005. About 1,300 were successful, including the penetration of computers linked to the Army’s 101st and 82nd Airborne Divisions and the 4th Infantry Division. In August and September of that year Chinese hackers penetrated US State Department computers in several parts of the world. Hundreds of computers had to be replaced or taken offline for months. Chinese hackers also disrupted the US Naval War College’s network in November, forcing the college to shut down its computer systems for several weeks. The Pentagon uses more than 5 million computers on 100,000 networks in 65 countries.
Jim Melnick, a recently retired Pentagon computer network analyst, told The Times that the Chinese military holds hacking competitions to identify and recruit talented members for its cyber army.
He described a competition held two years ago in Sichuan province, southwest China. The winner now uses a cyber nom de guerre, Wicked Rose. He went on to set up a hacking business that penetrated computers at a defence contractor for US aerospace. Mr Melnick said that the PLA probably outsourced its hacking efforts to such individuals. “These guys are very good,” he said. “We don’t know for sure that Wicked Rose and people like him work for the PLA. But it seems logical. And it also allows the Chinese leadership to have plausible deniability.”
In February a massive cyber attack on Estonia by Russian hackers demonstrated how potentially catastrophic a preemptive strike could be on a developed nation. Pro-Russian hackers attacked numerous sites to protest against the controversial removal in Estonia of a Russian memorial to victims of the Second World War. The attacks brought down government websites, a major bank and telephone networks.
Linton Wells, the chief computer networks official at the Pentagon, said that the Estonia attacks “may well turn out to be a watershed in terms of widespread awareness of the vulnerability of modern society”.
After the attacks, computer security experts from Nato, the EU, US and Israel arrived in the capital, Tallinn, to study its effects.
Sami Saydjari, who has been working on cyber defence systems for the Pentagon since the 1980s, told Congress in testimony on April 25 that a mass cyber attack could leave 70 per cent of the US without electrical power for six months.
He told The Times that all major nations – including China – were scrambling to defend against, and working out ways to cause, “maximum strategic damage” by taking out banking systems, power grids and communications networks. He said that there were at least a thousand attempted attacks every hour on American computers. “China is aggressive in this,” he said.
Programmed to attack
Malware: a “Trojan horse” programme, which hides a “malicious code” behind an innocent document, can collect usernames and passwords for e-mail accounts. It can download programmes and relay attacks against other computers. An infected computer can be controlled by the attacker and directed to carry out functions normally available only to the system owner.
Hacking: increasingly a method of attack used by countries determined to use electronic means to gain access to secrets. Government computers in Britain have a network intrusion detection system, which monitors traffic and alerts officials to “misuse or anomalous behaviour”.
Botnets: compromised networks that an attacker can exploit. Deliberate programming errors in software can easily pass undetected. Attackers can exploit the errors to take control of a computer. Botnets can be used for stealing information or to collect credit card numbers by “sniffing” or logging the strokes of a victim’s keyboard.
Keystroke loggers: they record the sequence of key strokes that a user types in. Logging devices can be fitted inside the computer itself.
Denial of service attacks: overloading a computer system so that it can no longer function. This is the method allegedly used by the Russians to disrupt the Estonian government computers in May.
Phishing and spoofing: designed to trick an organisation’s customers into imparting confidential information such as passwords, personal data or banking details. Those using this method impersonate a “trusted source” such as a bank or IT helpdesk to persuade the victim to hand over confidential information.
Thursday, 7 February, 2008
Here is an excerpt from Unrestricted Warfare:
“Whether it be the intrusions of hackers, a major explosion at the World Trade Center, or a bombing attack by bin Laden, all of these greatly exceed the frequency bandwidths understood by the American military...”Surprisingly, Osama bin Laden is mentioned frequently in this book.
Now NewsMax.com is making the CIA translation of this shocking book available to all Americans.
On Sept. 11, 2001, Americans and the world witnessed one of the most horrific acts ever to take place on American soil.Our media and government were quick to declare the acts of that day as simply terrorism by a nationless group known as al-Qaeda.In reading China’s military manual Unrestricted Warfare, you will learn that the events of Sept. 11 were not a random act perpetrated by independent agents.Instead, Chinese military planners believe that terrorism is just one of the many tools at the hands of nations and their terrorist allies to wage total war against the United States.
You will be surprised to learn:
* The two PLA colonels who authored Unrestricted Warfare have been hailed as heroes in China since Sept. 11
* The Chinese state-run propaganda machine is cashing in on the terror attacks ... producing books, films and video games glorifying the strikes as a humbling blow against an arrogant nation.
* Chinese Communist Party officials are saying that President Jiang Zemin has obsessively and gleefully watched and re-watched pictures of the aircraft crashing into the World Trade Center.
* The CIA’s own translation agency reported that this book identifies the U.S. as China’s main enemy, and details how a weak nation can destroy America using unorthodox attacks – like the 9-11 attacks.
* China is preparing itself and encouraging others to engage the U.S. in total war. The book is chock full of plans and strategies, from using computers, to smuggling illegal immigrants, to manipulating the stock markets, to influencing the U.S. media, to using weapons of mass destruction – all to destroy America.
Recent press reports indicate that China has assisted and continues to assist militarily and economically the Taliban and al-Qaeda – even after Sept. 11.
The doctrine of total war outlined in Unrestricted Warfare clearly demonstrates that the People’s Republic of China is preparing to confront the United States and our allies by conducting “asymmetrical” or multidimensional attacks on almost every aspect of our social, economic and political life.The media and Congress are keeping a lid on this book because of the implications of U.S.-China economic and trade relations.
But now you can bypass them by getting a copy yourself!
Here’s what others say about Unrestricted Warfare:
“You need to read Unrestricted Warfare because it reveals China’s game plan in its coming war with America.. ... China thinks it can destroy America by using these tactics.”
Report Warns of Chinese Military Machine
China Will Fight for 'Living' SpaceAccording to a recently released report from a top-level Washington think tank, China plans to win a war over Taiwan within a week.
"PLA authorities have pledged that they can capture Taiwan within seven days," states the report.The report, "China's Great Leap Forward," published by the Hudson Institute, outlines a chilling view of China's evolving "military juggernaut."
There are many in Washington who believe that the Chinese leadership will not engage in active combat for fear of losing trade dollars and ruin the scheduled Olympic games in Beijing. In contrast, the report is filled with quotes from top-level Chinese officials that have not been published in the U.S. mass media. For example, Chinese President Hu Jintao, often viewed in the Western press as a moderate in PRC politics, is clearly cited as confident that waging war in the Pacific will not affect China's global trade.
According to General Secretary Hu Jintao, "We believe that the war will not obstruct the holding of the 2008 Olympic Games."The Hudson report outlines a terrifying scenario of a Chinese invasion force landing "between 200,000 and 400,000 troops" on Taiwan. The Chinese air force (PLAAF) will then use "mammoth forces" to overwhelm Taiwan's small air forces. The PLAAF will mobilize 3,000 aircraft to "annihilate" Taiwan's air defenses.
"We must capture Taiwan, even if that means we have to sacrifice the lives of tens of thousands of soldiers!" notes the report, quoting an unnamed Chinese general.
Reunification of the Motherland
Beijing is solidly on the path of forcing Taiwan to "return to the Motherland" even if it means war with the United States. The Hudson Institute report concludes that the Chinese military is not afraid to fight America.
"Beijing is also prepared to fight the United States if such a confrontation proves unavoidable. The PLA [People's Liberation Army] will mobilize its destroyers equipped with SSN-22 anti-ship cruise missiles, Kilo-class submarines, and Chinese Aegis warships to clash with the Seventh Fleet, and will use information warfare to destroy U.S. satellites and command-and-control systems," states the Hudson report.
The conclusions of the Hudson report mirror statements issued by the Chinese army that trade and economic growth are secondary issues. According to an official report by the CMC (Central Military Command), China is confident that it must overwhelm Taiwan and deal with American military forces within the next few years.
"Taking into account of possible intervention by the U.S. and based on the development strategy of our country, it is better to fight now than future – the earlier, the better. The reason being that, if worst comes to worst, we will gain control of Taiwan before full deployment of the U.S. troops. In this case, the only thing the U.S. can do is fighting a war with the purpose of retaliation, which will be similar to the Gulf War against Iraq or the recent bombing of Yugoslavia," notes the Chinese army report.
The Chinese army also makes it clear that it has fought U.S. forces before and prevailed. According to the PLA report, the "strategic superiority" of the U.S. military forces has not been tested in a war against a large country.
"In contrast, using the Vietnamese War as an example, our forces do have the experience of fighting the U.S. forces under modern warfare conditions. In that war, the Chinese forces were mainly responsible for air defense and accumulated a whole set of experience in this regard," notes the Chinese army report.
The Chinese leadership is also confident about fighting a nuclear war with America. The Chinese military makes it clear that it is willing to go to nuclear war with America.
"In comparison with the U.S. nuclear arsenal, our disadvantage is mainly numeric, while in real wars the qualitative gap will be reflected only as different requirements of strategic theory. In terms of deterrence, there is not any difference in practical value. So far we have built up the capability for the second and the third nuclear strikes and are fairly confident in fighting a nuclear war. The PCC has decided to pass through formal channels this message to the top leaders of the U.S."
War With Russia
The Hudson report also notes that Washington and Taipei are not alone in worrying about the emergence of Chinese global military power. Recent events inside Moscow show growing concern inside the Kremlin about the monster on Russia's eastern border. Russian military experts now warn, "Thanks to Russia, Chinese military might is growing even faster than its economic might."
"According to General-Major V. Slipchenko, the ultimate goal of Chinese military reform consists in the creation of a military establishment that guarantees 'living space' within 'strategic borders.'
These 'strategic borders' must shift according to the expansion of China's Integrated State Power, the primary components of which are economic and military might," warns the Hudson report.
"Nor should it be forgotten that China's geopolitics as formulated by Mao gave priority to expanding the country's borders, especially by annexing Russian territories," states the report.
"According to Russian military scientists, the process of settling Chinese people in the Far East is proceeding almost unchecked. Even now it is acquiring a massive character which creates the preconditions for a conflict situation and the use of force."
"In January 2005, General-Lieutenant V.I. Ostankov, director of the General Staffs Military-Strategic Studies Center, warned that the strengthening of China's economic might and its growing population require tremendous resources. Because the repository of the world's natural resources has already been divided up, it seems logical that the vector of Chinese expansion will be directed toward the abutting regions of Russia (above all, Siberia and the Far East) as well as of Kazakhstan and other countries of Central Asia."
"Some Russian analysts have gone so far as to charge that Russian nuclear weapons are in fact a 'non-deterrent' against China. The Chinese leadership is said to be willing to sacrifice 'hordes' of its citizens in pursuit of its geostrategic objectives," concludes the Hudson report.
In the Paracels, the Chinese have established a major presence on Woody Island and have built a 350-meter pier and a 2,600-meter airstrip, which is capable of handling all types of People's Liberation Army (PLA) aircraft. There are also oil tanks, gun emplacements and ammunition storage bunkers, which underline the perception that this island could be used as a staging point to support offensive operations in the Spratlys. There also reports of the existence of Silkworm antiship cruise missile installations on Woody Island. The Silkworm has a range of some fifty-nine miles and could be used to threaten nearby shipping traffic.
In mid-1995, a new Chinese signals intelligence (SIGINT) station was established on Rocky Island, just to the north of Woody Island. Rocky Island is one of the highest points in the area, and thus provides good coverage of military signal activity in this part of the South China Sea. This station could also support air or surface warning for air missions or ship targeting.
Friday, 1 February, 2008
I. Current Chinese Nuclear Policy
It can be safely said that of all the nuclear states, the nuclear policy of China has so far been the most consistent. From the day China first exploded an atomic bomb, its nuclear policy-related statements have remained unchanged. Five major components can be derived from these statements:
No First Use Policy
No first use (NFU) has been most frequently and consistently repeated in numerous Chinese government statements ever since China became a nuclear weapon state in 1964. By conceding the first use option, China has limited itself to retaliatory nuclear use only. China has also called all nuclear weapon states to commit themselves to a NFU policy at any time and in any circumstances.
Security Assurance to Non Nuclear Weapons States and Nuclear Free Zones
China has been very critical of the use of nuclear threats against non-nuclear weapon states and non-nuclear weapons zones. It has repeatedly called on all the nuclear weapon states to agree to a legally-binding, multilateral agreement under which they would pledge not to use or threaten to use nuclear weapons against non-nuclear weapon states and nuclear free zones. This policy component limits China’s potential nuclear adversaries to just the few nuclear weapon states. Apart from the negative security assurance, which China gives unconditionally to all non-nuclear weapon states, China issued its first formal positive security assurance with the other four declared nuclear weapon states in April 1995, promising to come to the aid of any non-nuclear weapon state subject to nuclear attack and pursue appropriate punishment against the attacking state, under the auspices of the UN Security Council. This policy has become part of the UN Security Council Resolution 984.
Limited Development of Second Strike, Retaliatory Capability
China has repeated its intention to maintain a very small nuclear arsenal on many occasions. In its 2003 Defense White Paper, China states that it “has always exercised utmost restraint on the development of nuclear weapons, and its nuclear arsenal is kept at the lowest level necessary for self-defense only.” However, to make this small arsenal a credible deterrent, China has to make it survivable to a first nuclear strike, even that strike is overwhelming and devastating. In Chinese literature, “few but effective” (jinggan youxiao) are the words most frequently used to describe its necessary arsenal.
Opposition to Nuclear Deployment outside National Territories
China is opposed to the policy of extended nuclear deterrence, or the policy of providing "nuclear umbrellas" by nuclear weapon states to their allies. In consistence with China’s long standing policy of not sending or stationing any troops outside China, it is also officially opposed to the deployment of nuclear weapons outside national territories, and has stated that China will never deployed nuclear weapons on any foreign soil.
Complete Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons and Thorough Nuclear Disarmament
China first called for the complete prohibition and thorough destruction of nuclear weapons in its proposal for a world summit in1963, before its first nuclear explosion. On the same day of China’s first nuclear explosion, it again stated that “the Chinese government hereby solemnly proposes to the governments of the world that a summit conference of all the countries of the world be convened to discuss the questions of the complete prohibition and thorough destruction of nuclear weapons, and that as the first step, the summit conference conclude an agreement to the effect that the nuclear powers and those countries which may soon become nuclear powers undertake not to use nuclear weapons either against non-nuclear countries and nuclear-free zones or against each other." This has evolved into China’s basic position on nuclear disarmament and it has never given up its efforts to promote an international convention to ban nuclear weapons.
The above major components of Chinese nuclear policy, if interpreted through the lens of Western deterrence terminology, can be characterized as:
Strategic Rather than Operational and Tactical Deterrence
Mao Zedong, in elaborating China's reason to develop nuclear weapons, said “we will not only have possession of more aircraft and artillery pieces, but also atom bombs. In today’s world, we must have this thing if we don’t want to be bullied by others.” The original purpose of nuclear development in China was to “break up the nuclear threat and smash the nuclear blackmail (dabuo he weixie, fensui he ezha).” As a political instrument, nuclear weapons are to be utilized mainly at the level of grand strategy, not as a winning tool in military operations. The military value of nuclear weapons lies only in its deterrent effect against nuclear attack. The officially declared missions of the Second Artillery Force are twofold:
1. To deter the use of nuclear weapons against China, and
2. To launch an effective nuclear counter-attack in the case of such an attack.
No distinction has been made in categorizing nuclear operations. A nuclear strike against China—whether conducted at strategic, operational or tactical level, with high or low yield warheads, or deadly or tolerable lethality—is perceived as the utmost form of warfare in Chinese war categorization, which must be responded strategically. In Chinese strategic literature, we only see the discussion on how to deter a nuclear war from happening, on how to prevent a conventional conflict from escalating into a nuclear war, and how to retaliate after suffering a nuclear attack—but never how to win a nuclear war. The primary Chinese perception is that nuclear wars are not to be won, but to be prevented.
Retaliatory—Rather than Denial—Deterrence
Many Chinese cite Deng Xiaoping when explaining China's nuclear thinking. He explained, in a meeting with foreigners in 1983:
"While you have some deterrence force, we also have some; but we don't want much. It will do just to possess it. Things like strategic weapons and deterrence forces are there to scare others. They must not be used first. But our possession will have some effect. The limited possession of nuclear weapons itself exert some pressure. It remains our position that we will develop a little (nuclear weapons). But the development will be limited. We have said repeatedly that our small amount (of nuclear weapons) is nothing. It is only to show that we also have what you have. If you want to destroy us, you yourself have to suffer some punishment at the same time."
Deng’s statement echoed Mao’s nuclear thinking in several aspects:
1. Nuclear weapons are desirable only for its deterrent value, not for battlefield utility.
2. Nuclear weapons, if ever used, will be used to cause the enemy as much pain as possible, so as to enhance its deterrent value in the first place. Therefore, China has to adopt counter-value as opposed to counterforce targeting strategies, in order to strengthen its deterrence posture.
3. Only a small number of nuclear weapons will satisfy China’s deterrent needs—to convince potential nuclear adversary of a possible nuclear retaliation. Both Mao and Deng are very explicit that the deterrent effectiveness does not increase in proportion with numbers of nuclear weapons. A survivable and invulnerable small arsenal can be equally effective in terms of deterrence. Deterrence effect depends on invulnerability to nuclear strikes, not on large amount of nuclear attack capabilities. Accordingly, what China has been seeking is a nuclear arsenal that is small in size but good in quality.
4. As confined by its adherence to NFU policy, China has to focus its nuclear development efforts on “second strike capabilities” which must be credible and survivable in order to have deterrent effect.
Central Rather than Extended Deterrence
By declaring to counter-attack with nuclear weapons only after being attacked by nuclear weapons, China has preserved nuclear capabilities to protect its own most vital interests—that is, the existence of the nation. Even during the Cold War years, China has never provided nuclear umbrella to any other country in the world. For China, the concept of extended deterrence has simply not entered into it nuclear calculus—yet.
General Rather than Immediate Deterrence
The mutual deterrence exercised by the two nuclear superpowers during the Cold War had been directed at one another. They were both the ones to deter, and the ones to be deterred. They formed a bilateral deterrent relationship, in which each side was very clear whom it wanted to deter, and what it wanted to deter them from. Their deterrence was more of an immediate nature. China had never comfortably fitted into the bipolar context. It had been in one of the poles for some time, then outside of both poles for some time, and then it tried to be closer to the other pole. In addition, China had not had the luxury of a nuclear umbrella for most of the Cold War years. Therefore, China’s nuclear deterrence had been more of a general nature—in which China tried to form a multilateral deterrent relationship with all the nuclear powers, which only made clear what China wanted to deter.
Defensive Rather than Offensive Deterrence
One famous tenet laid down by Chairman Mao Zedong is the Sixteen Character Guideline for the use of force—“We will never attack unless we are attacked; and if we are attacked, we will certainly counterattack” (ren bu fan wo, wo bu fan ren; ren ruo fan wo, wo bi fan ren). Behind this guideline is a sober headed analysis of power balances. The PLA and its predecessors entered and won most wars as an inferior side against great odds. So a defensive posture had always been preferred to an offensive one.
However, Chinese forces have managed to turn from being the weaker into the stronger party in the course—usually a protracted course—of previous conventional wars. When applied to nuclear policy, this Guideline simply means a rejection of preemptive thinking. The renunciation of the first-use option, the willingness to accept vulnerability, the confinement to retaliatory nuclear use, the principle of attacking only after being attacked (hou fa zi ren), the focus on second strike capabilities, and the reservation of nuclear means as the last resort to protect only the most vital national interests, all point to the defensiveness of China’s nuclear policy. Although nuclear weapons are inherently offensive weapons, when deterrence strategies are applied in the way China does, they acquire a pure defensive posture.
Minimum Rather than Limited or Maximum Deterrence
If I am to choose from Western deterrence classifications to describe Chinese nuclear deterrence posture in general, I would have to use the handy concept of “minimum deterrence” as compared to maximum or limited deterrence. Personally, I think the word “minimum” has too strong a quantitative connotation that is misleading. It sometimes suggests a quantitative standard instead of a qualitative standard. The word “minimum” has for some time been officially used in Chinese government documents.
But what I want to emphasize is that Chinese strategists take the concept as a relative one, defined not only by pure numbers, but more importantly by such key criteria as invulnerability of nuclear forces, assurance of retaliation, and credibility of counter-attack. When a Chinese document says that China intends to possess nuclear weapons only at the minimum (or lowest) level for the needs of self-defense, that means to have the minimum but assured capabilities for a retaliatory second strike. Some studies have suggested a shift of Chinese nuclear posture toward limited deterrence, where China could employ nuclear weapons to deter both conventional and nuclear wars, and even to exercise escalation control in the event of a conventional confrontation. However, the basic logic of China’s nuclear thinking dictates nuclear weapons as deterring—not as a means of winning against nuclear weapons.
II. Factors Shaping China’s Nuclear Thinking after the Cold War
Many factors have exerted an impact on China’s nuclear calculus since the end of the Cold War. Listed below are three major ones.
Factor One: The Changing Nuclear Environment
The end of the Cold War and the collapse of the bipolar international system led to the fall of nuclear weapons as a predominant strategic consideration. A major nuclear exchange has become just a remote possibility. Local limited wars, national and ethnic armed conflicts, territorial disputes, nuclear and military technology proliferation, international terrorism, and transnational organized crime have risen in significance as major threats to international and regional peace and stability.
China’s nuclear environment has been more complex:
1. First, the Strategic Partnership formed between China and Russia removed the prospect of a Russian nuclear first strike.
2. Second, the possibility for military conflict between China and the United States (both nuclear powers) over Taiwan has increased.
3. Third, there have emerged on China’s periphery two new nuclear weapon states—India and Pakistan, with the former explicitly taking China to be a nuclear adversary.
4. Fourth, the DPRK is seeking nuclear weapons against the common wish that the Korean peninsula be nuclear free. Such move may result in cascading effects such as more robust BMD systems in the Northeast Asia region, which in certain cases would reduce the deterrent effect of China’s small nuclear arsenal; and potential incentives for Japan and even the ROK to go nuclear.
Paradoxically, China evaluates its overall nuclear security to be improving instead of worsening—although surrounded by more nuclear weapon states than any other in the world. Reasons for this evaluation are manifold:
1. First, it would be too far fetched to envision a military conflict between China and Russia, let alone one involving nuclear confrontation.
2. Second, China formed with India a very credible mutual deterrent relationship the moment it went nuclear. Pakistan, a long time friend of China, has been locked into amutual deterrent relationship with India as well. The pair of deterrent relationships brought about a more earnest effort from both India and China for settling territorial disputes by political means, and reduced the danger of large scale conventional conflicts between India and Pakistan.
3. Third, China was less concerned about its two new nuclear neighbors, for the general nature of China’s nuclear deterrence can readily accommodate the changing nuclear deterrence needs.
4. Fourth, China is actively engaged in the Six Party talks, and was confident that a nuclear free Peninsula can be achieved—which is in China’s best interests. So far and in the foreseeable future, changes in the nuclear environment pose no challenges so great that China has to reconsider its nuclear policy.
Factor Two: Taiwan
Taiwan hadn’t been a predominant issue until the mid 1990s, when the pro-independence forces gained momentum on the island. Cross-strait conflicts were a continuation of the 1945-49 civil war, and nuclear weapons had no role to play in civil war scenarios.
However, the Taiwan issue has been complicated by possible U.S. military intervention in case of a military crisis. This constitutes the only conceivable scenario in which two nuclear weapon states might fight face-to-face. China has always complained, with good reason in my view, that the United States is the largest external factor impeding China’s reunification, peacefully or by force.
With the Taiwan Relations Act, the United States has somewhat committed itself to the defense of Taiwan. The 2002 Nuclear Posture Review (NPR) released (or leaked) by the U.S. Department of Defense even implies the use of nuclear weapons in “military confrontation over the status of Taiwan.” Such confrontation is categorized as “immediate contingencies” for which the United States has to set “requirements for nuclear strike capabilities.” So far, China has never—in any government statements or official documents—threatened nuclear use in the cross-strait conflict.
Taiwan is China’s top security concern, and the only scenario for which China seriously considers the use of force. Do nuclear weapons really play a role in such a scenario? My judgment is “no.” If what we are talking about is a “local war under the conditions of internationalization,” it would be useless for China to try to deter U.S. conventional intervention with nuclear weapons. It is the United States, not China that has the nuclear capabilities to control or even dominate conflict escalation. To win a nuclear war over the United States is quite different from deterring a nuclear war with the United States. China is definitely the much weaker side, so far as the nuclear balance is concerned.
Faced with a similar situation, Mao Zedong and Deng Xiaoping had decided the option for China decades ago—that is to use nuclear weapons only as a deterrent against all nuclear uses, be it strategic or operational. To prevent the opponent’s nuclear use is the only way to neutralize his nuclear superiority. China’s long standing nuclear policy still serves China’s national interests even today.
Factor Three: U.S. Development and Deployment of BMD System
China’s strong opposition to U.S. BMD development and deployment has been adequately conveyed and extensively studied in the United States, for this issue has been a decade-long topic for hot debates. Unlike other issues, Chinese concerns over BMD has had the most vocal and vehement expression by government officials, scholars, military officers, and even ordinary people who post their views in Internet chat rooms.
On December 13, 2001, President Bush officially announced that the United States would withdraw from the ABM Treaty—a cornerstone arms control regime set up in the 1970s. Six months later, the United States was free of any legal bindings against its development and deployment of BMD systems. The later deployment decision by President Bush came as no surprise. China had succeeded in stopping the United States from setting up a missile defense system, which threatens to break the delicate deterrent balance between China and the United States. A national missile defense system, no matter how limited it would be, would no doubt cause a rededuction in China’s deterrent effects against U.S. nuclear use.
American scholars always have difficulties understanding why the Chinese should worry about a shield to protect their own homeland. However, this very defensive shield—when used against the only flying dagger the opponent throws at it before taking the deadly blow—would be very offensive in nature. We all know the famous paradoxical logic in deterrence relations: nuclear force to be used as a last resort against enemy cities is defensive in nature and stabilizing in function, while a leak-proof umbrella against nuclear attack is offensive in nature and destabilizing.
China is also reasonably sensitive to any BMD systems covering Taiwan. Only a limited missile shield would relieve Americans of possible Chinese nuclear retaliation, permitting them to intervene more readily and threaten nuclear use at it did in the 1958 Taiwan crisis. It could encourage Taiwan to take more provocative moves towards independence by reducing the deterrent effect of the PLA’s missile force. It would signify semi-alliance relationship between the United States and Taiwan. And it will reduce the effectiveness of China’s military operations against the island.
China has a further reason to worry about BMD—that is BMD development cooperation, and future joint deployment, between the United States and Japan. This would indicate a closer alliance relationship and a more coordinated course of action during future Taiwan conflict between the two Cold War allies. An upper-tier BMD system jointly deployed by the two countries in the name of protecting allies and overseas troops would be readily turned into BMD systems to offset mainland missile attack against Taiwan. It would also be a complicating development when Sino-Japanese relations are getting sour, and the concern over Japan’s rearming is genuine.
Therefore, BMD development and deployment is by far the most significant factor impacting China’s nuclear calculus. China has to think how to maintain a guaranteed retaliatory second strike capability in the face of a U.S. BMD system. It’s also necessary to review sufficiency and survivability of the arsenal. At the core of the Chinese concern is the credibility of the mutual deterrent relationship that China needs to deter American nuclear threats or nuclear use in cross-trait conflict.
III. Prospects for China’s Nuclear Deterrence in the 21st Century
The fact that China belonged to neither of the Cold War blocs has some implication in observing and anticipating the future of China’s nuclear deterrence. The general rather than immediate nature makes it easier for China’s nuclear policy to adjust to the 21st century world. Never before had China fixed upon any nuclear adversaries, nor will it pick a specific nuclear enemy today. Even the newly emerging nuclear threat from India can be readily dealt with by existing policy.
The issue of Taiwan has forced the Chinese to face up to the possibility of military conflict with the United States over Taiwan. However, such conflict should have been assumed nuclear-irrelevant but for the issuance of the NPR by the U.S. Department of Defense.
Through the NPR, the Chinese know for sure that in the United States' perception, China is a nuclear target, and Taiwan is a scenario in which nuclear weapons are to be used. Even if nothing could be worse for China than a nuclear confrontation with the United States, China has to brave itself to this, for the most vital of all vital national interests is involved here. However, it would be totally wrong to assume China is going to deter U.S. conventional military intervention by threatening nuclear use, for China can hardly make such threats credible.
So far, the most significant factor that will influence China’s nuclear calculus will be U.S. deployments of national and advanced theater missile defenses. For China has to reevaluate the sufficiency of its nuclear arsenal to counter U.S. missile defense systems and retain a guaranteed ability to retaliate. However, such reevaluation results only in the variation of the size of nuclear arsenals, not in the change of the policy’s basic nature. The concern in China is over the credibility of its retaliatory deterrence against American nuclear use.
Both Taiwan and BMD are important factors that will have impacts on Chinese nuclear calculus:
* The former highlights the necessity and urgency of ensuring a mutual deterrent relationship with the United States to prevent nuclear use in the Taiwan conflict, which might have not been so important or urgent before. Only in this way, has Taiwan become relevant to China’s nuclear policy.
* The latter emphasizes the concern over the credibility of Chinese deterrence against the United States. Concerns over Taiwan and BMD combine to form the focus of China’s nuclear modernization—the maintenance of sufficient nuclear capabilities that can survive a first strike to inflict unacceptable damage on the enemy in a retaliatory strike.
Put in more accurate words, China’s nuclear modernization is to keep valid its long-standing nuclear policy. China’s nuclear policy in the 21st century will retain all the characteristics that I have specified above, and suggest no deviation from the current one. So far, the three factors do not provide enough reasons for China to move up to the limited deterrence posture.
Another thing that may interest us is how China would translate its nuclear deterrence requirement into concrete numbers (two-digit or three digit warheads and delivery vehicles). While this subject is beyond my capacity to discuss, I think the most important thing is to understand the underlying logic, not to guess at the numbers. That is, China has to keep a credible retaliatory nuclear force which can survive a massive first strike and launch a counter-strike at the enemy.
If the nuclear logic does not change fundamentally, the nature of the policy would not change. Slight increases or decreases in the numbers only reflect changes in calculating the sufficiency of the second strike capability. All three generations of Chinese leaders have expressed their intent to keep the arsenal small, only “at the minimum level for self-defense.” Any excess in numbers would be an unnecessary drain on the nation’s limited budgetary resources. On the other hand, even if the size of the arsenal doesn’t vary, a change in the underlying logic would trigger a major shift of the policy—such as a shift from a minimum to a limited deterrence posture, where nuclear weapons could be designed and planned for winning wars instead of deterring wars.
The last point concerns the nuclear relationship between China and the United States. It is in China’s vital interests to have a certain degree of deterrent effect over other nuclear weapon states, be it Russia, the United States, and potentially India. At the same time, China is willing to accept vulnerability as its NFU policy indicates. China has been having such a deterrent relationship during the Cold War period with the Soviet Union from the 1970s, and later with the United States from mid 1980s, though the significance of such deterrent relationship lessened because China and the United States enjoyed an ever-improving and stable relation until 1989.
Since the mid-1990s, both Taiwan and BMD have threatened to break such a relationship—the former by gaining U.S. defense commitment, the latter by offsetting China’s ability to retaliate. These two factors are actually American factors. If China, the United States, and all the other nuclear weapon states want to share regional and global security, peace and stability, they have to share a certain degree of insecurity first. And that means accepting some vulnerability by pledging to a NFU policy, so as to form a multilateral deterrent relationship among the “Haves,” and offering more security assurance to the “Have-nots.”
In today’s world, security, like many other things, is relative. If one party seeks absolute and overwhelming superiority, it can only do so at the expense of others—which results in the loss of both trust and security.