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Pentagon Report to Congress on Chinese Military Development

The following is the Pentagon’s annual report to Congress, Military and Security Developments Involving the People’s Republic of China 2016. The report was released on Aug. 16, 2018.

From the report:

WHAT IS CHINA’S STRATEGY?
Since 2002, Chinese leaders – including President Xi Jinping – have characterized the 21st century’s initial two decades as a “period of strategic opportunity.” They assess that international conditions during this time will facilitate domestic development and the expansion of China’s “comprehensive national power.” The Chinese Communist Party (CCP) has distilled these objectives into President Xi’s “China Dream of national rejuvenation” to establish a powerful and prosperous China.

GROWING REGIONAL AND GLOBAL PRESENCE
China’s leaders increasingly seek to leverage China’s growing economic, diplomatic, and military clout to establish regional preeminence and expand the country’s international influence. “One Belt, One Road,” now renamed the “Belt and Road Initiative” (BRI), is intended to develop strong economic ties with other countries, shape their interests to align with China’s, and deter confrontation or criticism of China’s approach to sensitive issues. Countries participating in BRI could develop economic dependence on Chinese capital, which China could leverage to achieve its interests. For example, in July 2017, Sri Lanka and a Chinese state-owned enterprise (SOE) signed a 99-year lease for Hambantota Port, following similar deals in Piraeus, Greece, and Darwin, Australia.

A COMPREHENSIVE APPROACH TO MANAGING REGIONAL DISPUTES
China seeks to secure its objectives without jeopardizing the regional stability that remains critical to the economic development that has helped the CCP maintain its monopoly on power. However, China is also willing to employ coercive measures – both military and non-military – to advance its interests and mitigate opposition from other countries. For example, in 2017, China used economic and diplomatic pressure, unsuccessfully, in an attempt to urge South Korea to reconsider the deployment of the Terminal High-Altitude Area Defense (THAAD) system. In its regional territorial and maritime disputes, China continued construction of outposts in the Spratly Islands, but also continued outreach to South China Sea claimants to further its goal of effectively controlling disputed areas. China also maintained a consistent coast guard presence in the Senkakus. In June 2017, India halted China’s efforts to extend a road in territory disputed with Bhutan near the India border, resulting in a protracted standoff lasting
more than 70 days. In August, India and China agreed to withdraw their military forces from the vicinity of the standoff; however, both countries maintain a heightened military presence in the surrounding region.

  • .Hugo.

    china-embassyDOTorg/eng/fyrth/t1586205.htm
    .
    Q: The Report on Military and Security Developments Involving the People’s Republic of China 2018 recently released by the Pentagon played up “China’s military threat and lack of transparency” and expressed concerns over China’s strengthened national defense. What’s your comment?
    A: China is firmly opposed to the above-mentioned US report which, in total disregard of facts, makes presumptuous and irresponsible comments on China’s national defense development and its legitimate acts to safeguard territorial sovereignty and security interests.
    China stays committed to a peaceful development path and follows a national defense policy that is defensive in nature. It is always a builder of world peace, contributor to global development and defender of international order. China’s development of national defense aims to safeguard its national independence, sovereignty and territorial integrity, which is the lawful rights for a sovereign state to exercise. This is entirely legitimate and beyond reproach.
    We urge the US side to abandon the outdated cold-war and zero-sum mentality, put China’s strategic intention and national defense development in perspective, stop issuing such irresponsible report year after year and maintain the steady development of the bilateral relations and military-to-military ties between China and the US with concrete actions.

  • proudrino

    China is a threat. It doesn’t take 145 pages of a report to Congress to understand that. The only people that are denying this fact have a “D” behind their names and an agenda that puts America at risk. You know who I’m talking about. The idiots that claim freedom of navigation exercises is warmongering and any sanctions against China is tantamount to economic armageddon.

    • Cato

      Dear Proudrino,
      I have had a D behind my name all my life. I have practiced international law for decades, and I think that the Chinese legal claims in the South China Sea are preposterous. FON exercises have been conducted for decades by administrations of both parties. Plenty of Democratic congressmen and senators support them. The hard facts are that while the Trump administration has conducted a few more (and better articulated the reasons), it is not going to go to war to evict the Chinese from the artificial islands, and the Chinese are not going to go to war over FON operations, so the broad picture won’t change over the next couple of years.
      Your partisan commentary could be answered by noting that the only people denying Russia’s involvement in subverting the US elections or poisoning UK residents have an R by their name.
      Just as well to throttle it back on all sides.

      • .Hugo.

        chinese legal claims are preposterous when the US has not even agreed to sign on unclos and cannot disprove chinese history? that’s very convincing… 🙂

        • Cato

          Dear Hugo,
          The points are unrelated. China did become a party to UNCLOS and is bound by its terms. China has rights to an EEZ and territorial sea under UNCLOS. On the other hand, nothing in UNCLOS justifies the geographic scope or broad claims of the so-called Nine-Dash line.

          • Stephen

            The 9 dash line was referenced to ROC; not PRC. Let’s hope China does not try to annex all the places visited in antiquity…

          • .Hugo.

            the roc has lost its representation after losing the civil war, and its rights are inherited by the prc.
            .
            both the roc and the prc has the same territorial claim in the scs, and they even work together tacitly in the past to stop further aggression by the surrounding rogue states.
            .
            china has not just visited the place in “antiquity”, it has explored, named, developed, and governed those places, and with official records kept in its archives (some original texts are also stored in good libraries around the world, including the u.s. library of congress). 🙂
            .

          • Cato

            Dear Hugo,
            None of that is relevant under UNCLOS, other than for rights of artisanal fishing or boundaries between maritime zones. China has rights to its territorial seas and EEZ, not to 90% of the South China Sea.

          • .Hugo.

            of course it has nothing to do with unclos, but it has everything to do with china’s claims of the 4 major island chains in the scs, with them come the territorial and eez rights.

          • Stephen

            I applaud your understanding & use of the 1st Amendment.

          • .Hugo.

            i don’t have to observe u.s. laws. i only have to observe proper chinese history in this thread. 🙂
            .

          • .Hugo.

            but based on your reply, china’s unclos rights are preposterous too as china makes its territorial claims based on historic title, which you said it’s preposterous. so without a valid territorial claim, china won’t be able to exercise its unclos rights in its scs territory.
            .
            you have made a clever comment, unfortunately everyone can see your true intention. 🙂
            .

    • .Hugo.

      i agree if china is a threat to the u.s. hegemony and dominance all around the world, especially in asia pacific. 🙂
      .

  • Corporatski Kittenbot 2.0

    Impressive naval build up from poo-bear

  • Amin

    China is threatening ships and airplanes passing through the South China Sea.It threatens to go to war with Philippines if the latter drill for oil within its territory (200 miles from shore).If China goes to war with the Philippines,China will lose everything (complete decimation).

    • .Hugo.

      correction: china is exercising its unclos and sovereign rights, it monitors and checks foreign military vessels only, not every “ship and airplane” trespassing its eez and territorial waters.
      .
      military option will of course be considered if the philippines invades chinese territory further, after doing it from the 1960s to 1999.
      .
      if china goes to war with the philippines, the philippines will lose all of its infrastructure and economic base. 🙂
      .

      • Amin

        China is illegally occupying the Spratley Islands.They should get out of the Islands right now.If they go to war with Philippines its possible that they will be wipe out from the face of the earth.US has a treaty with Philippines to defend from any aggression.

        • .Hugo.

          the philippines has taken chinese islands outside of the philippine border defined in the treaty of paris 1898 from the 1960s to 1999, that’s illegal instead. 🙂
          .
          the u.s. treaty doesn’t cover anything outside of the philippine border, that’s obama has not committed anything when being asked in the past.
          .
          do remind you that the u.s. signed on the treaty of paris with spain.
          /