While You Were Sleeping, China On Track For Global Superpower Status
By PNW StaffSeptember 21, 2020
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China has long been accused of economic aggression in order to expand its influence worldwide, but it is now seeking a powerful military force to support its goals.
A new report released by the Department of Defense on China's military and it's role in China's broader foreign policy shows the US has been sleeping while China has been growing.
The Pentagon assessment of Chinese military power states it has outstripped the US in numbers of warships, land-based missiles and air defense systems.
Not only is this a major blow to US pride, it could ultimately be a dangerous mistake.
Americans do not understand the severity of China's military threats, particularly its ability to strike the U.S. mainland with a nuclear weapon, a senior U.S. commander said Monday.
“I get apprehensive that we are not fully conscious as a nation of the threats that we face. China now has the capability … to directly threaten our homeland from a ballistic missile submarine. That’s a pretty watershed moment,” said Adm. Charles Richard, commander of U.S. Strategic Command, which has a mission to protect the country by deterring such attacks and, if that fails, prepare to respond.
China is busy building a world-class military, and is expected to pose a direct challenge to US military power in the coming decades.
With most expecting China’s economy to be considerably larger than America’s by mid-century, and with China now having the second-largest research and development budget in the world for science and technology, it certainly is a plausible scenario.
Gordan Chang, an expert analyst on China, has warned the United States shouldn't be enriching "a hostile regime" that is "configuring its military to kill Americans".
China has already overtaken the U.S. Navy in number of warships and now boasts the largest navy in the world with 350 warships (with 360 expected by the end of this decade). The U.S. Navy has a battle force of 293 ships.
China is also on track to double the size of its nuclear warhead stockpile while expanding foreign military bases capable of attacking the United States — worrying signs that Beijing is seeking global superpower status, the Pentagon warned.
Chinese nuclear forces currently include large numbers of silo-based and road-mobile intercontinental ballistic missiles, along with an array of high-tech weapons including multiple-warhead missiles and ultra-high-speed hypersonic glide vehicles.
The PLA has rapidly built up numbers of 4,000-mile-range DF-26 missiles — one of two “aircraft-carrier-killing” weapons with enough precision to strike ships at sea. The PLA now has 200 DF-26 missiles capable of firing either conventional or nuclear warheads against Navy ships in the Pacific.
There are also rumor's of China experimenting with the use of drone swarms to take out US ships if the precision missiles don't do the job.
Other new systems include theater-range precision strike nuclear weapons designed to counter American ballistic missile defenses, advanced intelligence systems and space based weapons.
In keeping with its ambition to have a modernized military, China is seeking to dominate space, as evidenced by the quantities of space launches it has conducted over the years.
It has even its own satellite killer, the Shiyan, which is equipped with grab arms. The Shiyan satellite has performed at least one successful capture using its grappling arm, capable of throwing other satellites out of orbit or disabling them while stripping them of their useful parts.
Other weapons pulled from the pages of science fiction include lasers and magnets.
China is even planning a permanent base on the Moon as part of its dual military and commercial program.
Rick Fisher, senior fellow at the International Assessment and Strategy Center, warns that the biggest key to thwarting Chinese dominance in space will be denying Beijing control over the Moon and the region of space between it and the Earth.
"If America fails to beat China back to the moon to secure commanding positions that can help deter conflict, we are then condemning our country and military forces to many future wars with China," Mr. Fisher said.
He further warned "China is pursuing many threats to our space capabilities, including reversible jamming, directed energy weapons, cyber threats, orbital threats, and kinetic energy threats from ground-based missiles.
The Chinese believe that future wars will revolve around joint operations involving not only land, air, and naval forces, but also space and the field of electronic warfare necessary for dominance in information technology. China, therefore, wants to deny an adversary like the US the use of space, and must give the Chinese military all of the advantages it needs.
As a result, China has developed the ability to target enemy space-based facilities (from the ground or from space) and their all-important data links. Jamming and electronic warfare complement anti-satellite weapons (which China has already tested), each of which can achieve effective mission assassinations against US and allied satellites.
Determined to replace the US as the dominant power in space, China already jumped ahead of the US with its own space force branch in 2015, years ahead of the new Space Force that President Trump has recently launched.
For decades, China analysts in Washington have been downplaying or denying the possibility that China could become a global challenge to the United States, this year’s China Military Report now acknowledges it is being built in plain sight.
China, in a recent defense white paper, said the United States was the "main instigator" of global instability and the cause of international strategic competition.
Chad Sbragia, deputy assistant defense secretary for China, warned that “Within the context of China’s national strategy … It is likely that China will aim to develop a military by mid century equal to, and in many cases superior to, the United States’ military, or any other great power that the Chinese view as a threat".
Things are changing rapidly in China’s drive for great power status and some analysts warn that potential conflict with China could come sooner than expected as it pursues aggressive policies with its neighbors that include the unification of Taiwan, Macao and Hong Kong which are essential” to Xi’s vision of a greater China.