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China's Strategic Challenge to USA

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  • China's Strategic Challenge to USA
    South Asia
    Mar 4, 2005

    China's pearl in Pakistan's waters
    By Sudha Ramachandran

    BANGALORE - When Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao visits Pakistan this month to inaugurate the Gwadar deepsea port, China will take a giant leap forward in gaining a strategic foothold in the Persian Gulf region. It will advance what a recent Pentagon report describes as Beijing's "string of pearls" strategy that aims

    to project Chinese power overseas and protect China's energy security at home.

    Gwadar is a fishing village on the Arabian Sea coast in the Pakistani province of Balochistan. Balochistan shares borders with Afghanistan and Iran to the west - Gwadar is just 72 kilometers from the Iranian border. More important is Gwadar's proximity to the Persian Gulf. It is situated near the mouth of this strategic body of water, and about 400km from the Strait of Hormuz, a major conduit for global oil supplies.

    Pakistan identified Gwadar as a port site in 1964. However, it was only in 2001 that significant steps toward making the proposal a reality were taken, when China agreed to participate in the construction and development of the deepsea port. The arrival of the United States in late 2001 in Afghanistan - at China's doorstep - nudged Beijing to step up its involvement in the Gwadar project. In March 2002, Chinese vice premier Wu Bangguo laid the foundation for Gwadar port.

    China's involvement in the Gwadar project is immense. The total cost of the project is estimated at US$1.16 billion, of which China has contributed about $198 million for the first phase - almost four times the amount Pakistan has forked out for this phase - which includes construction of three multi-purpose ship berths. China has invested another $200 million toward building a highway connecting Gwadar port with Pakistan's largest city, Karachi, which is also a port on the Arabian Sea.

    The second phase, which envisages nine more berths, an approach channel and storage terminals, will also be financed by China. In addition to its financial contribution, China has sent about 450 engineers and provided technical expertise for the project.

    In recent years, bilateral trade has steadily increased between China and Pakistan, with a 35% rise to $2.4 billion in 2004, half the trade volume registered between China and India. The balance of trade remains overwhelmingly in China's favor, whose exports amounted to $1.8 billion compared with Pakistan's $575 million. Both Pakistan and China have highlighted the immense economic returns that development of the Gwadar port holds out for the two countries, as well as others in the region.

    For Pakistan, the economic returns from Gwadar port stem from its location near the Strait of Hormuz, through which 40% of the world's oil passes. Gwadar could emerge as a key shipping point, bringing Pakistan much-needed income, and when combined with the surrounding areas could become a trade hub, once road and rail links connect it to the rest of Pakistan, Afghanistan and Central Asia.

    A road from Gwadar to Saindak, said to be the shortest route between Central Asia and the sea, is under construction. Gwadar would provide landlocked Afghanistan and the Central Asian republics with access to the sea. Goods and oil and gas reserves from these countries could be shipped to global markets through Gwadar port. Pakistan's business community seems to be in favor of Gwadar port being designated a free trade zone and an export-processing zone.

    The development of Gwadar could bring economic gains to backward Balochistan province as well. The infrastructural development of the province could make it an attractive investment destination. Meanwhile, land prices around Gwadar are said to be shooting up.

    China's gains

    Zia Haider, an analyst at the Washington-based Stimson Center, writes that Gwadar provides China "a transit terminal for crude-oil imports from Iran and Africa to China's Xinjiang region". The network of rail and road links connecting Pakistan with Afghanistan and Central Asian republics that is envisaged as part of the Gwadar project and to which China will have access would provide Beijing an opening into Central Asian markets and energy sources, in the process stimulating the economic development of China's backward Xinjiang region.

    But it is the strategic significance of Gwadar port that is perhaps more important for Pakistan and China - and a number of other countries as well. For Pakistan, Gwadar's distance from India is important. The value of this distance becomes evident if one considers how vulnerable Karachi port, which handled 90% of Pakistan's sea-borne trade in 2001, is to Indian pressure.

    During the 1971 India-Pakistan war, India's blockade of Karachi had a serious impact on the Pakistani economy. Again in 1999, during the Kargil conflict, India threatened to blockade Karachi port. That Gwadar is situated 725km to the west of Karachi, which makes it 725km further away from India than Karachi, provides "Pakistan with crucial strategic depth [vis-a-vis India] along its coastline", writes Haider.

    For China, Gwadar's strategic value stems from its proximity to the Strait of Hormuz. About 60% of China's energy supplies come from the Middle East, and China has been anxious that the US, which has a very high presence in the region, could choke off these supplies to China. "Having no blue-water navy to speak of, China feels defenseless in the Persian Gulf against any hostile action to choke off its energy supplies," points out Tarique Niazi, a specialist in resource-based conflict, in the Jamestown Foundation's China Brief.

    A presence in Gwadar provides China with a "listening post" where it can "monitor US naval activity in the Persian Gulf, Indian activity in the Arabian Sea and future US-Indian maritime cooperation in the Indian Ocean", writes Haider. A recent report titled "Energy Futures in Asia" produced by defense contractor Booz Allen Hamilton for the Pentagon notes that China has already set up electronic eavesdropping posts at Gwadar, which are monitoring maritime traffic through the Strait of Hormuz and the Arabian Sea.

    Drawing attention to China's "string of pearls" strategy, the report points out that "China is building strategic relationships along the sea lanes from the Middle East to the South China Sea in ways that suggest defensive and offensive positioning to protect China's energy interests, but also to serve broad security objectives". The port and naval base in Gwadar is part of the "string of pearls".

    The other "pearls" in the string include facilities in Bangladesh, Myanmar, Thailand, Cambodia and the South China Sea that Beijing has acquired access to by assiduously building ties with governments in these countries.

    The Pentagon report sees China's efforts to defend its interests along oil shipping sea lanes as "creating a climate of uncertainty" and threatening "the safety of all ships on the high seas". This perception overlooks the fact that China's "string of pearls" strategy has been triggered by its sense of insecurity. The United States' overwhelming presence in the Gulf and the control of its exercises over the Malacca Strait, through which 80% of China's oil imports pass, has contributed enormously to Beijing's fears that Washington could choke off its oil supply, in the event of hostilities over Taiwan.

    China's foothold in the Arabian Sea has set off alarm bells in India, Iran and the US. For India, China-Pakistan collaboration at Gwadar and China's presence in the Arabian Sea heightens its feeling of encirclement by China from all sides. Iran sees the development of Gwadar port in its neighborhood as likely to erode the significance of its ports - especially Chabahar port that India has helped construct - to Central Asia and Afghanistan. However, Iran's good relations with Afghanistan and the Central Asian republics would help it maintain its advantage vis-a-vis Pakistan's Gwadar port.

    Ultimately, the extent to which Pakistan and China are able to reap economic and strategic gains from the Gwadar project would depend on the challenges to it from within their borders. The Gwadar project is bitterly opposed by Baloch nationalists who see it as yet another example of Pakistan's Punjabi-dominated ruling elite siphoning away Balochi wealth and resources without this backward region or its people gaining.

    For instance, it is non-Balochis who are said to have gained from the sharp rise in real estate prices around Gwadar. This has, not surprisingly, triggered angry and violent attacks on pipelines carrying oil from Balochistan and on those working on the Gwadar project. Last May, three Chinese engineers were killed and 11 others, including nine Chinese and two Pakistanis, were injured in a bomb attack by the Balochistan Liberation Army.

    Pakistan has often blamed "a foreign hand" (read India or Iran) for the violence in Balochistan. But the threat to the port project or the oil pipelines comes from disaffected Balochis. Similarly, Uighur separatists angry with Beijing's "Hanification" of their land, could target Chinese workers at Gwadar.

    Unless Islamabad ensures that the Baloch people have a sizeable share of the prosperity that is expected to come from Gwadar port, and Beijing ensures that the Uighurs gain from the trade with Central Asia, both Pakistan and China could find the scale of their economic and strategic ambitions diminished.

    Sudha Ramachandran is an independent journalist/researcher based in Bangalore.

    (Copyright 2005 Asia Times Online Ltd. All rights reserved.
    China having no blue water navy is stringing naval bases around the Indian Ocean. Currently, they are using very powerful surveillanc radars to eavesdrop and monitor activities of all nations that are perceived to be a challenge to China.

    Indian Ocean is a very strategic area since a large quantity of world oil and trade ply through this seaway. And hence in the near future when China has the blue water capacity that is building fast, this area will become another international hotspot.

    China will attempt to degrade the US's position as the global superpower since it will not still be in a position in the mid future also to upstake US from this position. However, China would be able to seriously affect the US global strategic and economic calculation.

    The unrest in Balcohistan may not be that innocent an uprising as it may appear.

    How should the US ensure that China's quest to be a thorn in the US's side is reduced if not removed permanently?

    "Some have learnt many Tricks of sly Evasion, Instead of Truth they use Equivocation, And eke it out with mental Reservation, Which is to good Men an Abomination."

    I don't have to attend every argument I'm invited to.


  • #2
    Originally posted by Ray
    How should the US ensure that China's quest to be a thorn in the US's side is reduced if not removed permanently?
    Cultivate a strong relationship with the largest democracy in the region, India.



    • #3
      I've given up trying to predict these things. It wasn't all that long ago when the US counted India as a potential adversary and China a defacto ally.


      • #4
        Originally posted by Ray
        How should the US ensure that China's quest to be a thorn in the US's side is reduced if not removed permanently?
        China's energy supplies will still be far more vulnerable to interdiction than the American ones. China could hurt Europe and Japan far more than they could dream of hurting us by attacking the oil routes, and we could eliminate most of their oil imports in retaliation. If the Chinese wish to interfere with most of the world's economy, it will be at the cost of crippling their own, and even then the disruptions in the worlds oil supply would only be temporary (until the Chinese forces were eliminated). It will take a very long time before their fleet can consider challenging ours, and until that happens their entire economy is at our mercy.


        • #5
          Originally posted by Ray
          China having no blue water navy is stringing naval bases around the Indian Ocean. Currently, they are using very powerful surveillanc radars to eavesdrop and monitor activities of all nations that are perceived to be a challenge to China.

          Those pearls are more a political statement than militarily effective. Seriously, Sir, how hard is it for the InN to take them out?


          • #6

            Right now the Chinese presence in terms of ships are not that many.

            They are resorting to having listening posts around the Indian Ocean. To India, the Myanmar Coco Island where there is the Chinese facility with powerful surveillance radars is the most effective one.

            Chinese are using trawlers in hordes, like the Soviets used to do in the Cold War.

            Once China has the blue water capability, they will be replicating what the Russians did in the India Ocean during the Cold War days.

            One must not underestimate the Chinese. We look at everything in the current perspective, they look far far beyond. Their foresight and patience is as deep as the Pacific Ocean.

            That is why they can win any political debate. To have reached where China has reached from peasants scratching the dry earth to become a potential superpower is adequate a proof of the capabilties of the Chinese. In fact, I admire them for their tenacity.

            I see our Kolkata (Calcutta) Chinese (most have migrated to Canada). From tannnery they have switched overnight to Chinese restaurants and they are doing immensely well. As I say, 'You can't keep the Chinese down. They are like the Sun. Shove them down in the West, and out they will pop from the East!' :)

            They 'outposts' today are mere drops of pearl. There will come a time when they will string it. That is the time which is what I am interested in.

            Let China sleep, for when she awakes, the World will regret it.

            I never said that but it is worth its weight in gold.

            Indian Navy given its desires are way below the par for the course.

            "Some have learnt many Tricks of sly Evasion, Instead of Truth they use Equivocation, And eke it out with mental Reservation, Which is to good Men an Abomination."

            I don't have to attend every argument I'm invited to.

            HAKUNA MATATA


            • #7

              This article gives and insight of the strategic equation. One has to look into the holity of the issue. The pearls are but one input.

              The US is to lay a pipeline to take the CAR oil and natural gas that is owned by the US Oil Consortium through Afghanistan to the Gwadar Port of Pakistan. The Gwadar port is being built by the Chinese and they will also be 'controlling' the same. The US has promised billion dollars of aid to take the control out of the Chinese hands. All this indicates that the US is not taking Gwadar as merely a 'pearl'. And China is not being provocative just for the heck of it. There is interest on both sides and it is a great Game that is being played.

              To this add the cosying up of Russia with Iran and the assistance of Israel to India in fields that are quite technologically advanced.

              Why is Japan suddenly hellfired keen to establish its military credentials? Sending troops to Iraq and now wanting to shed the 'peaceful' image of her Self Defence Force for regular status?

              Therefore, apart from Taiwan being a hotspot, this area too becomes interesting in the strategic game.

              ''China's Xinjiang Region: An Area of Strategic Interest''

              From the collapse of the Soviet Union until September 11, 2001, China was able to successfully use its security concerns within the Xinjiang Uighur Autonomous Region to build alliances with the newly formed states of Central Asia. Russia's domestic concerns and the U.S.'s focus on fostering democratic principles in the new states allowed China to form multilateral organizations favorable to its concerns and establish economic ties with its western neighboring states. These conditions were of great importance to Beijing's strategies for containing separatist movements within Xinjiang, but following the attacks of September 11, 2001, the U.S. reengaged Central Asia and overpowered the multilateral agreements that China had established.

              China's attempts to adapt to the new environment were initially met with mixed results. Beijing tried to link the Xinjiang separatists to the U.S.' "war on terrorism," but even after a Uighur militant group was placed on the official U.S. list of terrorist organizations, Washington was generally cool to China's claims. Recently, China has been moving to reestablish the economic and cooperative security ties that it previously established with Russia, Tajikistan, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan and Uzbekistan in order to contain the Uighur militants, reinforce Beijing's claim over the Xinjiang region and to prevent a strategic "encircling" by the United States. Russia's situation in Chechnya has prevented Moscow from countering Beijing's efforts, and in the current environment it is likely that Moscow will welcome China's attempt to regain regional power from the U.S. Should China be successful in this strategy, it will have profound effects not only on the status of the Xinjiang region, but also on the geopolitical environment of Central Asia.

              History of the Xinjiang Region

              Between the 1700s and mid-1800s, China conquered most of the homeland of the Uighurs -- a Turkic-speaking people who converted to Islam in the 1300s. China maintained weak control over the region now known as Xinjiang until the Chinese civil war, during which the Republic of East Turkestan was briefly established. In 1949, Chinese Communist troops established control over the region, and Han Chinese were resettled throughout Xinjiang to dilute the Uighur population and secure the region's cooperation with Beijing. Since 1949, the Han population in Xinjiang has increased from 7 percent to over 40 percent.

              Uighur groups who were opposed to China's control were fragmented and lacked a charismatic leader to gain appeal for their cause in Western countries, while the Han Chinese largely settled in the northeastern area of Xinjiang, away from the heartland of the Uighur population. The situation was largely unchanged, if not stable, until the 1990s.

              In late 1990, 22 people were killed in a small uprising in Baren, a town near Kashgar, led by Abdul Kasim, a leader of the Free Turkestan Movement. Beijing claimed that the weapons were supplied by Afghan mujahideen, and its reaction was swift and harsh.

              After the Soviet Union collapsed in 1991, the Central Asian republics formed independent states; the Uighur separatists within Xinjiang drew inspiration from their neighbors' independence. Militant Uighur groups exploited the weak, central governments of the newly formed states and Xinjiang's porous border with Kazakhstan, Tajikistan, Kyrgyzstan and Afghanistan to establish training camps outside of China's reach.

              China's Move Toward Regional Dominance

              By 1996, Russia was prosecuting its second war with Chechnya; Tajikistan was still suffering from its civil war and the Uzbek government of Islam Karimov was dealing with Islamic fundamentalists looking to establish an Islamic government in Uzbekistan. China feared that this instability would spread to Xinjiang; Beijing launched a series of new crackdowns and a controversial "Strike Hard" campaign to reestablish order; 1,700 suspected "terrorists" were arrested.

              In April 1996, China looked to engage its western neighbors by creating the "Shanghai Five" -- involving China, Russia, Tajikistan, Kazakhstan and Kyrgyzstan -- to serve as a bulwark against Islamic fundamentalist subversion. Soon, the signatory states began cooperating to end the "three evil forces" -- terrorism, separatism and extremism.

              China's new aggression was answered with a backlash from the Uighur separatists -- in May 1996, a high ranking official to the Xinjiang Peoples Political Consultative Conference was assassinated and there were a number of bombings on China's railroad lines linked to Uighur groups. When Afghanistan fell to the Taliban in September 1996, some Uighur groups fought on the side of the Taliban. China charged the Taliban and al-Qaeda with funding, arming and training Uighurs within Afghanistan. This was followed by more attacks within Xinjiang against Chinese interests. By late 1998, China feared that violence in Xinjiang was spiraling out of control, and Beijing moved to increase its regional influence in Central Asia.

              China's move towards greater regional authority was met with little resistance from the U.S. and with tacit cooperation from Russia. In the summer of 2000, Secretary of State Madeline Albright visited Central Asia, and offered a mere $16 million in assistance to the Central Asian states for help in the establishment of democracy and pluralistic societies. Tajikistan, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan and Uzbekistan viewed this as a sign of disinterest because their priorities were focused on funding for security issues. China's anxiety over the Xinjiang region was more in line with the interests of the Central Asian states, and Beijing was able to use this convergence of concerns to increase its regional profile.

              In June 2001, Uzbekistan was admitted to the "Shanghai Five," which then evolved into a permanent group called the Shanghai Cooperation Organization (S.C.O.). The coalition worked to prevent Kazakh and Uighur separatists from using Asian states as a safety zone to plot separatist activities, and it established an anti-terrorist center in Bishkek, Kyrgyzstan where the member states could better coordinate their efforts. During this time, China's relationship with Washington was becoming strained as the two states drifted towards becoming "strategic competitors."

              Tensions were building over the new administration of George W. Bush's plans for a national missile defense system, U.S. arms sales to Taiwan, the EP-3 spy plane collision, Chinese missile exports to Pakistan and frequent complaints about China's record on religious freedoms. Washington, and the Western powers, viewed China's claims that Uighur groups were tied to international terrorist organizations as propaganda and an excuse to persecute political dissidents.

              The United States Unilaterally Engages Central Asia

              After September 11, 2001, Washington's priorities quickly changed in Central Asia, as fighting Islamic terrorist networks tied to al-Qaeda became a top priority. The U.S. established bilateral agreements with the member states of the S.C.O., which greatly undermined the organization's relevance and China's ties to the countries. The newly created S.C.O. anti-terrorist center in Bishkek was not used by the U.S. and the bilateral agreements did not encourage cooperation among the S.C.O. members. Beijing began to worry that its "strategic competitor" was pursuing a long-term strategy to contain or encircle China's activities on its western border.

              In this new environment, China tried to link its efforts to suppress the Uighur separatists to Washington's "war on terrorism" as a means of engaging the Bush administration with the hopes of maintaining its prominent role in Central Asia. On October 12, 2001, a Chinese foreign ministry spokesman said, "We hope that our fight against the East Turkestan [Xinjiang] forces will become part of the international effort against terrorism." Washington dismissed the ties between Uighur separatists and al-Qaeda in an effort to isolate China's interests from those of the other S.C.O. members. In October 2001, President Bush said that China should not attempt to use the "war on terrorism" as an "excuse to persecute minorities."

              However, since the U.S. reengagement of the region, Beijing and Washington have established closer ties, largely for economic reasons, and the Bush administration gradually allowed its interests to shift towards those of China in return for cooperation on intelligence and anti-terror initiatives. Some analysts believe that Beijing is cooperating to gain concessions on Taiwan, Tibet and the Xinjiang region. One example that the U.S. was willing to go along with Beijing's concerns was the August 26, 2002 announcement that the East Turkestan Islamic Movement would be added to the U.S. list of terrorist groups.

              As Washington Pulls Back, Will Beijing Move In?

              This new relationship with China has increased the importance for Washington to distinguish between violent militant groups and peaceful independence movements. It is in Washington's interests to root out those groups that have a history of cooperation with terrorist organizations outside of China's borders, but it is also important that peaceful independence movements are given tacit backing from Washington. This maintains pressure on China for concessions on human rights issues important to Washington, as well as weakening China's control of its periphery regions -- a strategic importance should a conflict occur between the two states in the long term.

              Beijing has received Washington's cooperation in dismantling groups such as the United Revolutionary Front of Eastern Turkestan, which took up arms against China in 1997, the Wolves of Lop Nor, which has claimed responsibility for train bombings and assassinations in China and received training in Kazakhstan, and the Uighur Liberation Organization, where the group's dispersion throughout Central Asia has allowed it to assassinate Uighurs viewed to be cooperating with the government of China. However, other groups, such as the East Turkestan National Congress and the Regional Uighur Organization, have received tacit and financial support from Washington. The Uighur American Association was the recipient of a grant from the U.S. government-funded National Endowment for Democracy -- a first for a Uighur exile group.


              Since 2003, China has been actively working to reestablish the importance of the S.C.O. and has expanded economic ties with the Central Asian states, while the U.S. has shifted resources out of Central Asia and into Iraq. In October 2003, China and Pakistan held joint naval exercises off the coast of Shanghai, China's first naval exercise with any foreign country. Kazakhstan and China began negotiating trade agreements to supply natural gas to China via a pipeline through Xinjiang. China has also increased its funding for the anti-terrorist center in Bishkek as an effort to decrease the importance of bilateral agreements with the United States in shaping the member states' foreign policies. This August, China and Pakistan held joint military exercises code-named Youyi-2004. The operations focused on counter-terrorism and were held in the southern section of Xinjiang near Kashgar, the region with the highest population of Uighurs in Xinjiang.

              While China moves to assert its power in Central Asia by growing closer to its neighboring states, the U.S. has largely focused its relationship with China on issues in the Taiwan Straits and the Korean peninsula. Russia's concerns in Chechnya will drive its approach to the region, but, with limited recourses and domestic concerns taking a priority in Putin's response, Moscow is likely to be content with the existing structure of the Shanghai Cooperation Organization, and allow China to consolidate its influence in the region. This environment provides China with an opportunity that it will not let pass to rout the U.S.' encirclement on its western border. Washington will be reassessing the deployment of its diplomatic and military resources in Central Asia after the elections in Afghanistan; the size of the withdrawal of resources will signal how serious Washington is in controlling events in Central Asia and how concerned it is with the situation in Xinjiang.

              "Some have learnt many Tricks of sly Evasion, Instead of Truth they use Equivocation, And eke it out with mental Reservation, Which is to good Men an Abomination."

              I don't have to attend every argument I'm invited to.

              HAKUNA MATATA


              • #8
                I would like to update this thread with this article:

                China bolsters its forces, US says
                Pentagon report sees possible peril to Taiwan
                By Bryan Bender, Globe Staff | April 10, 2005

                WASHINGTON -- China has substantially beefed up its military in the past few years and will soon have the capacity to block US forces from defending Taiwan, according to Pentagon officials preparing a classified report. The report will warn that China has successfully copied other nations' technology to build modern armed forces.

                The document, which will be released within weeks, also will assert that China is on the verge of launching a new fighter jet that closely follows the design of Israel's Lavi warplane. In addition, Beijing has nearly doubled the number of short-range missiles aimed across the Taiwan Straits over the past two years to 725, the Pentagon officials said.

                By strengthening its air power and acquiring dozens of new warships and submarines, China is close to having the ability to knock out Taiwan's airfields and ports before the United States could intervene, the sources said.

                The conclusions differ greatly from those of a decade ago, when US intelligence officials judged China to be incapable of invading Taiwan or of presenting a serious threat to US forces.

                ''The Chinese know where they need to go and know what they need to get there," said a senior defense official involved in drafting the report.

                The official said the Chinese military would soon be able to breach Taiwan's defenses before the US military could stop it.

                Under a scenario outlined in the planned report, Chinese forces could bombard Taiwan from the air and use new weapons such as Russian-built Kilo-class submarines, warships, and amphibious landing craft to blockade the island nation before the United States could mobilize forces.

                The United States would then have to evict Chinese forces from Taiwan rather than block an invasion of the island, a far more daunting prospect.

                The new J-10 fighter, which is expected to be launched this year, was built with the aid of Israeli technology, either by copying a design or through assistance from Israeli industries, according to the officials. The jet is China's most sophisticated fighter to date, and on a par with the US F-16, intelligence officials said.

                US officials stopped short of suggesting that Israel has given technology to China, but they said they saw the new fighter as the latest result of the close military ties between Israel and China.

                Defense Secretary Donald H. Rumsfeld recently dressed down Israeli Defense Minister Shaul Mofaz for assisting China's military, say aides familiar with the meeting of the officials in Washington.

                The Israeli Embassy did not respond to inquiries about the J-10.

                The fighter would make its debut as the United States is urging European allies not to lift an arms embargo against China, fearing such a move would give Beijing greater access to technologies.

                However, Pentagon officials say the report will use the J-10 as an example of how the Chinese, by reverse-engineering foreign technologies from Israel, Russia, and other countries, have established a mature arms industry.

                The J-10 has been 17 years in the planning. US officials say the Chinese engineers working on the project benefited from close cooperation with Israel.

                The Israeli Lavi was designed in the 1980s with US help, but only two prototypes were built; the fighter itself was never put into service. Much of its design, however, appears to have found its way into the Chinese fighter, Pentagon officials say.

                ''It's no longer a prototype, it's a real program," Rob Hewson, editor of Jane's Air-Launched Weapons in London, said of what is known about the J-10. ''There has been input from Israel, Russia, and help from several other projects in terms of radar and avionics and weapons. It is a Chinese synthesis of others' experience. It's impossible to say just how great Israel's cooperation has been. But the similarities are very striking."

                Perhaps more worrisome than the new jet, according to the Pentagon, is the breakneck pace at which China is positioning short-range missiles across from Taiwan. In 2003 the Pentagon reported that about 450 missiles were deployed across the narrow strait. The new report will put that number at 275 more.

                ''It seems those numbers have jumped up very quickly," said Hewson, adding that he was skeptical of the count. ''There is not a lot of hard evidence to support it."

                Nonetheless the Pentagon and outside experts agree that China is also making progress on what it needs most to take advantage of its new arsenal: an educated military to replace its conscript army. In their own writings about military strategy, the Chinese have placed enormous emphasis on professionalizing their armed forces, including establishing a noncommissioned officer corps and enticing troops to make a career out of their service, rather than a two-year tour.



                • #9
                  The US is in the works to set the broad outline for America's role and objectives in the world. The global geo-strategic environment has changed and the United States must adapt to lead, not to imagine and create enemies. The US could use its enormous resources to bring stability; but it could also abuse them to alienate and anger others. The least that the Bush administration could and must do is to avoid a self-fulfilling prophecy of treating and turning China into a post-Cold War Soviet Union. That would be the worst outcome for the United States and the world as well.


                  • #10
                    China bolsters its forces, US says
                    Pentagon report sees possible peril to Taiwan
                    By Bryan Bender, Globe Staff | April 10, 2005
                    There are two reports DoD produces. One that is Class Protected and the other is summarized for general release. They're two different reports when it comes to the conclusions.

                    In this case, I have absolutely no idea where they get this baloney. The J-10 is at best a first generation F-16 and it's at least 15 years late. The KILOs have been tied up at port awaiting new batteries for over 18 months. For several years now, the DoD has been reporting that the Chinese are adding 40-75 missiles a year (although I could not find the new brigades that would use these missiles), so 200+ more ain't out of whack dating to 2003.

                    All this is old news somehow rehashed to a new threat. There's an agenda here. What I don't know.


                    • #11
                      "WASHINGTON -- China has substantially beefed up its military in the past few years and will soon have the capacity to block US forces from defending Taiwan, according to Pentagon officials preparing a classified report. The report will warn that China has successfully copied other nations' technology to build modern armed forces."

                      Sounds like someone's playing the "We need more dollars for our budget" game.

                      Cause that statement is an utter joke.


                      • #12
                        Well, this explains how they arrive at their conclusions though I do not agree with alot of their facts.

                        1) The Chinese have stopped testing on the JL-2 and it's a guess what are their problems and we have not seen any of the DF-31 brigades anywhere.

                        China Builds a Smaller, Stronger Military
                        Modernization Could Alter Regional Balance of Power, Raising Stakes for U.S.

                        By Edward Cody
                        Washington Post Foreign Service
                        Tuesday, April 12, 2005; Page A01

                        BEIJING -- A top-to-bottom modernization is transforming the Chinese military, raising the stakes for U.S. forces long dominant in the Pacific.

                        Several programs to improve China's armed forces could soon produce a stronger nuclear deterrent against the United States, soldiers better trained to use high-technology weapons, and more effective cruise and anti-ship missiles for use in the waters around Taiwan, according to foreign specialists and U.S. officials.

                        In the past several weeks, President Bush and his senior aides, including Defense Secretary Donald H. Rumsfeld, Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice and Director of Central Intelligence Porter J. Goss, have expressed concern over the recent pace of China's military progress and its effect on the regional balance of power.

                        Their comments suggested the modernization program might be on the brink of reaching one of its principal goals. For the last decade -- at least since two U.S. aircraft carrier battle groups steamed in to show resolve during a moment of high tension over Taiwan in 1996 -- Chinese leaders have sought to field enough modern weaponry to ensure that any U.S. decision to intervene again would be painful and fraught with risk.

                        As far as is known, China's military has not come up with a weapon system that suddenly changes the equation in the Taiwan Strait or surrounding waters where Japanese and U.S. forces deploy, the specialists said. China has been trying to update its military for more than two decades, seeking to push the low-tech, manpower-heavy force it calls a people's army into the 21st-century world of computers, satellites and electronic weapons. Although results have been slow in coming, they added, several programs will come to fruition simultaneously in the next few years, promising a new level of firepower in one of the world's most volatile regions.

                        "This is the harvest time," said Lin Chong-pin, a former Taiwanese deputy defense minister and an expert on the Chinese military at the Foundation on International and Cross-Strait Studies in Taipei.

                        U.S. and Taiwanese military officials pointed in particular to China's rapid development of cruise and other anti-ship missiles designed to pierce the electronic defenses of U.S. vessels that might be dispatched to the Taiwan Strait in case of conflict.

                        The Chinese navy has taken delivery of two Russian-built Sovremenny-class guided missile destroyers and has six more on order, equipped with Sunburn missiles able to skim 4 1/2 feet above the water at a speed of Mach 2.5 to evade radar. In addition, it has contracted with Russia to buy eight Kilo-class diesel submarines that carry Club anti-ship missiles with a range of 145 miles.

                        "These systems will present significant challenges in the event of a U.S. naval force response to a Taiwan crisis," Vice Adm. Lowell E. Jacoby, director of the Defense Intelligence Agency, told the Senate Armed Services Committee in testimony March 17.
                        The Nuclear Deterrent

                        Strategically, China's military is also close to achieving an improved nuclear deterrent against the United States, according to foreign officials and specialists.

                        The Type 094 nuclear missile submarine, launched last July to replace a trouble-prone Xia-class vessel, can carry 16 intercontinental ballistic missiles. Married with the newly developed Julang-2 missile, which has a range of more than 5,000 miles and the ability to carry independently targeted warheads, the 094 will give China a survivable nuclear deterrent against the continental United States, according to "Modernizing China's Military," a study by David Shambaugh of George Washington University.

                        In addition, the Dongfeng-31 solid-fuel mobile ballistic missile, a three-stage, land-based equivalent of the Julang-2, has been deployed in recent years to augment the approximately 20 Dongfeng-5 liquid-fuel missiles already in service, according to academic specialists citing U.S. intelligence reports.

                        It will be joined in coming years by an 8,000-mileDongfeng-41, these reports said, putting the entire United States within range of land-based Chinese ICBMs as well. "The main purpose of that is not to attack the United States," Lin said. "The main purpose is to throw a monkey wrench into the decision-making process in Washington, to make the Americans think, and think again, about intervening in Taiwan, and by then the Chinese have moved in."

                        With a $1.3 trillion economy growing at more than 9 percent a year, China has acquired more than enough wealth to make these investments in a modern military. The announced defense budget has risen by double digits in most recent years. For 2005, it jumped 12.6 percent to hit nearly $30 billion.

                        The Pentagon estimates that real military expenditures, including weapons acquisitions and research tucked into other budgets, should be calculated at two or three times the announced figure. That would make China's defense expenditures among the world's largest, but still far behind the $400 billion budgeted this year by the United States.
                        Projecting Force to Taiwan

                        Taiwan, the self-ruled island that China insists must reunite with the mainland, has long been at the center of this growth in military spending; one of the military's chief missions is to project a threat of force should Taiwan's rulers take steps toward formal independence.

                        Embodying the threat, the 2nd Artillery Corps has deployed more than 600 short-range ballistic missiles aimed at Taiwan from southeastern China's Fujian and Jiangxi provinces, according to Taiwan's deputy defense minister, Michael M. Tsai. Medium-range missiles have also been developed, he said, and much of China's modernization campaign is directed at acquiring weapons and support systems that would give it air and sea superiority in any conflict over the 100-mile-wide Taiwan Strait.

                        But the expansion of China's interests abroad, particularly energy needs, has also broadened the military's mission in recent years. Increasingly, according to foreign specialists and Chinese commentators, China's navy and air force have set out to project power in the South China Sea, where several islands are under dispute and vital oil supplies pass through, and in the East China Sea, where China and Japan are at loggerheads over mineral rights and several contested islands.

                        China has acquired signals-monitoring facilities on Burma's Coco Islands and, according to U.S. reports, at a port it is building in cooperation with Pakistan near the Iranian border at Gwadar, which looks out over tankers exiting the Persian Gulf. According to a report prepared for Rumsfeld's office by Booz Allen Hamilton, the consulting firm, China has developed a "string of pearls" strategy, seeking military-related agreements with Bangladesh, Cambodia and Thailand in addition to those with Burma and Pakistan.

                        Against this background, unifying Taiwan with the mainland has become more than just a nationalist goal. The 13,500-square-mile territory has also become a platform that China needs to protect southern sea lanes, through which pass 80 percent of its imported oil and tons of other imported raw materials. It could serve as a base for Chinese submarines to have unfettered access to the deep Pacific, according to Tsai, Taiwan's deputy defense minister. "Taiwan for them now is a strategic must and no longer just a sacred mission," Lin said.

                        Traditionally, China's threat against Taiwan has been envisaged as a Normandy-style assault by troops hitting the beaches. French, German, British and Mexican military attaches were invited to observe such landing exercises by specialized Chinese troops last September.

                        Also in that vein, specialists noted, the Chinese navy's fast-paced ship construction program includes landing vessels and troop transports. Two giant transports that were seen under construction in Shanghai's shipyards a year ago, for instance, have disappeared, presumably to the next stage of their preparation for deployment.

                        But U.S. and Taiwanese officials noted that China's amphibious forces had the ability to move across the strait only one armored division -- about 12,000 men with their vehicles. That would be enough to occupy an outlying Taiwanese island as a gesture, they said, but not to seize the main island.

                        Instead, Taiwanese officials said, if a conflict arose, they would expect a graduated campaign of high-tech pinpoint attacks, including cruise missile strikes on key government offices or computer sabotage, designed to force the leadership in Taipei to negotiate short of all-out war. The 1996 crisis, when China test-fired missiles off the coast, cost the Taiwanese economy $20 billion in lost business and mobilization expenses, a senior security official recalled.
                        High-Tech Emphasis

                        A little-discussed but key facet of China's military modernization has been a reduction in personnel and an intensive effort to better train and equip the soldiers who remain, particularly those who operate high-technology weapons. Dennis J. Blasko, a former U.S. military attache in Beijing who is writing a book on the People's Liberation Army, said that forming a core of skilled commissioned and noncommissioned officers and other specialists who can make the military run in a high-tech environment may be just as important in the long run as buying sophisticated weapons.

                        Premier Wen Jiabao told the National People's Congress last month that his government would soon complete a 200,000-soldier reduction that has been underway since 2003. That would leave about 2.3 million troops in the Chinese military, making it still the world's biggest, according to a report issued recently by the Defense Ministry.

                        Because of pensions and retraining for dismissed soldiers, the training and personnel reduction program has so far been an expense rather than a cost-cutter, according to foreign specialists. But it has encountered competition for funds from the high-tech and high-expense program to make China's military capable of waging what former president Jiang Zemin called "war under informationalized conditions."

                        The emphasis on high-tech warfare, as opposed to China's traditional reliance on masses of ground troops, was dramatized by shifts last September in the Communist Party's decision-making Central Military Commission, which had long been dominated by the People's Liberation Army. Air force commander Qiao Qingchen, Navy commander Zhang Dingfa and 2nd Artillery commander Jing Zhiyuan, whose units control China's ballistic missiles, joined the commission for the first time, signaling the importance of their responsibilities under the modernization drive.
                        Air Superiority

                        Striving for air superiority over the Taiwan Strait, the air force has acquired from Russia more than 250 Sukhoi Su-27 single-role and Su-30 all-weather, multi-role fighter planes, according to Richard D. Fisher, vice president of the International Assessment and Strategy Center in Washington. The Pentagon has forecast that, as the Sukhoi program continues to add to China's aging inventory, the air force will field about 2,000 warplanes by 2020, of which about 150 will be fourth-generation craft equipped with sophisticated avionics.

                        But specialists noted that many of China's Su-27s have spent most of the time on the ground for lack of maintenance. In addition, according to U.S. and Taiwanese experts, China has remained at the beginning stages of its effort to acquire the equipment and skills necessary for midair refueling, space-based information systems, and airborne reconnaissance and battle management platforms.

                        A senior Taiwanese military source said Chinese pilots started training on refueling and airborne battle management several years ago, but so far have neither the equipment nor the technique to integrate such operations into their order of battle. Similarly, he said, China has been testing use of Global Positioning System devices to guide its cruise missiles but remains some time away from deploying such technology.

                        Buying such electronic equipment would be China's most likely objective if the European Union goes ahead with plans to lift its arms sales embargo despite objections from Washington, a senior European diplomat in Beijing said. A Chinese effort to acquire Israel's Phalcon airborne radar system was stymied in 2000 when the United States prevailed on Israel to back out of the $1 billion deal.

                        2005 The Washington Post Company
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                        • #13
                          China and Russia are widely thought to be seeking mutual common ground as a counterweight to US global power.

                          A reported internal Pentagon document that says that China is building a naval base in Burma, which will give China access to the Indian Ocean.


                          After the G-7 met recently, China declined to attend the session concerning their much under-valued currency pegged to the US dollar.

                          Agreeing with facts or not OoE, what, in your opinion, is China's intention?


                          • #14
                            Originally posted by Julie
                            China and Russia are widely thought to be seeking mutual common ground as a counterweight to US global power.
                            That is UNDERESTIMATING Putin by a country mile. The man is not above playing everybody against everybody. One day, he signed the Shanghai Five Agreement, signalling a supposed united bloc against the US. Almost the very next day, he asked to join NATO's Planning Committee, effectively nullifying any advantage the Chinese might have had with the Russian card against the US. He still has his Chinese card though.

                            Originally posted by Julie
                            A reported internal Pentagon document that says that China is building a naval base in Burma, which will give China access to the Indian Ocean.
                            That is a base like your garage is a car factory. It's a presence no doubt but it's a far cry from being able to even replinish and repair a single warship after combat. It's a listenning post.

                            Originally posted by Julie
                            After the G-7 met recently, China declined to attend the session concerning their much under-valued currency pegged to the US dollar.
                            The PRC is granted an observer status, not a member status. The G-7 is a democratic meeting and the PRC does not qualify.

                            Originally posted by Julie
                            Agreeing with facts or not OoE, what, in your opinion, is China's intention?
                            On that, I agree absolutely with the "neo-con" view that China aims to be the next superpower to challenge the US. Only, they are extremely unwilling to pay for it in and often resort to propaganda and overstating their assets (and the "neo-cons" ain't helping any by overstating Chinese capabilities).

                            We have effectively elevated the Chinese to a superpower status to which they do not deserve but of which they're playing that role to the extreme. That one miscommunicated line of trading LA for Taipei put China on a nuclear footing equal to the former USSR and MAD. Ludicrous to say the least but the thought has been implanted and the Chinese are using it.

                            Currently, we have a Chinese leadership who do not believe in their own propaganda. The danger is that one day we may get one who does.


                            • #15
                              Very interesting. So putting China in the limelight "pumps up their volume" so to speak. I trust Putin no more than China. They are the gruesome twosome.