Sunday, 24 February, 2008

Pentagon Report Singles Out China As Potential Military Rival

A major review of US military strategy Friday singled out China as the country with the greatest potential to challenge the United States militarily.The Quadrennial Defense Review (QDR) rated Russia as a "country in transition" that is unlikely to pose a military threat on the scale of the Soviet Union, and said India is emerging as "a great power and a key strategic partner."
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."

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