In the fifth plenary session of the 19th Central Committee of the Communist Party of China (CPC), it has been decided to modernize the Chinese military or the People’s Liberation Army. A goal that ‘will fulfill future needs,’ Chinese defense analysts said last week that the army’s modernization was in alignment with the national and defense needs.
The session’s communiqué revealed that the country seeks to become a military power at par with the US by 2027. Chinese analysts also broke down the proposal into the processes of mechanization, informatization, and intelligent ratio that China seeks to implement to the PLA by 2027, reported Global Times.
This is the first time that the military has been mentioned as such in a 5-year development plan, but analysts say that the move comes from the threat posed by ‘hegemonies’ in the western pacific region. The improved military will also prevent potential setbacks in growing overseas development interests, said a Chinese naval expert.
Other reasons that compelled China to give attention to its military capability include issues related to Taiwan and disputes with India over their common border.
China to enhance military as a countermeasure to regional disputes
Back in September, Japan Times has reported that an intellectual debate, or chain reaction, seems to have started in the USA with a Sept. 2 Foreign Affairs article titled “American Support for Taiwan Must Be Unambiguous” by Richard Haas and David Sacks. Haas, president of the Council of Foreign relations.
The debate was accelerated by a military article titled “Deterring the Dragon: Returning U.S. Forces to Taiwan” by Capt. Walker D. Mills of the U.S. Marine Corps, claiming “The United States needs to consider basing ground forces in Taiwan” if it is committed to defending Taiwan.
On Sept. 21, Taiwan’s Defense Ministry had issued a statement warning China that Taipei would take “all necessary defensive steps” after Beijing conducted large-scale military drills and sent fighter jets over the Taiwan Strait. In mainland China, experts repeatedly warn the U.S. that “Washington is provoking Beijing to fire the first shot.”
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On Sept. 24, the debate further escalated. Hu Xijin, the editor of China’s Global Times, tweeted, “I must warn people in the US and Taiwan who hold this kind of thinking. Once they take the step of returning US forces to Taiwan, the PLA will definitely start a just war to safeguard China’s territorial integrity.”
By 2027, the Chinese military will have the ability to effectively deal with threats brought by the hegemonism and power politics in the western pacific region, including issues relating to Taiwan’s question and the South China Sea, as well as border tensions between China and India, the naval expert explained.
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“The centennial goal is in line with national strength,” Song Zhongping, a Chinese military expert and TV commentator, told the Global Times.
As the world has seen a rise in strategic competition, constant armed conflicts and regional warfare, and increasingly obvious instability and uncertainty in security, China, as a rising power with huge development interests both at home and abroad, requires its military to adapt to new missions, Song noted.
Taking the Nanchang Uprising in 1927 as a starting point, 2027 will mark the centennial of the PLA’s founding. Since the founding of the People’s Republic of China, the country has not provoked any wars or military conflicts.
China pursues a defensive national defense policy. China’s defense expenditure is also moderate and restrained, Xu Guangyu, a senior adviser to the China Arms Control and Disarmament Association, told the Global Times.
Zhang Yesui, the spokesperson for the third session of the 13th National People’s Congress, had pointed out in May that from a global perspective, the proportion of China’s defense expenditure to GDP has remained at around 1.3 percent for many years, far below the world average of 2.6 percent.
The military’s vision to build up a strong force with such integrated capabilities means more intelligent weapons and equipment will be commissioned in the military to win future wars, analysts said, adding such goal will also be reached through drills closer to actual combat, military experts noted.
The emphasis of ‘intelligentializing’ the military doesn’t mean the military will give up basic mechanized weaponry, but to modernize it to be more intelligent,” Li said, citing an example that a smart crewless submarine can make decisions on its own, from cruise to detecting and capturing targets.
Smart aircraft carriers, amphibious assault ships, and large destroyers are also viewed as key items and weaponry in protecting China’s interests and security.
GVS News Desk