Pentagon report outlines China’s new muscular military


A new report on China’s military from the Defense Intelligence Agency comes to a troubling conclusion: The People’s Liberation Army is gaining the characteristic technology and deployment ability to put them on par with Western nations.

Chinese leader Xi Jinping has worked to model his military after Western powers, eschewing the Maoist strategies that left China with a force best used for defense.

“This report offers insights into the modernization of Chinese military power as it reforms from a defensive, inflexible ground-based force charged with domestic and peripheral security responsibilities to a joint, highly agile, expeditionary, and power-projecting arm of Chinese foreign policy that engages in military diplomacy and operations across the globe,” wrote Lt. Gen. Robert Ashley, who heads the Pentagon’s intelligence arm.

In recent years, China has upgraded its navy with an aircraft carrier, built a homegrown stealth fighter and instituted regional military commands built along American lines. China has also squabbled with neighbors over control of the South China Sea, where the Beijing government has been building artificial islands that host military bases.

With a more muscular military, China has sought to expand its global influence with the “belt and road” initiative, which would build trade ties across Asia and push Chinese power along ancient trade routes known as the Silk Road.

All the while, China doesn’t want to make waves, the report found.

“Beijing has implemented an approach to external engagement that seeks to enhance China’s reach and power through activities calculated to fall below the threshold of alarming the international community,” the intelligence report found.