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Unformatted text preview: U.S. Department of Defense, “Military and Security Developments Involving the People’s Republic of China,” Report to Congress (Washington, DC: DoD, 2010). This assessment by the Department of Defense largely supports Yoshihara and Holmes’ argument that China seeks a level of regional power projection beyond the Taiwan Strait, but not past the first or second island chain. As the Military and Security Developments report recognizes, China’s grand strategic goals include “perpetuating CCP rule, sustaining economic growth and development, maintaining domestic political stability, defending China’s national sovereignty and territorial integrity, and securing China’s status as a great power” (15). China has professed that its military strategy is one of “active offshore defense”, which combines elements of offensive, defensive, and asymmetric combat tactics to deny an enemy access to its local region for a limited duration. Most of China’s near-term security goals involve some variety of Taiwan contingencies; though China’s relationship with Taiwan remains stable, it is continually expanding and modernizing its military in order to have an effectively credible deterrent force as a precursor to political legitimacy. “As with the Navy, it is likely that the Air Force’s primary focus for the coming decade will remain on building the capabilities required to pose a credible military threat to Taiwan and U.S. forces in East Asia, deter Taiwan independence, or influence Taiwan to settle the dispute on Beijing’s terms” (25). Parts of its Taiwan contingency plans do involve specifically denying US intervention. China has realized that is presently unable to perfectly match US military technology, preferring to develop asymmetric capabilities with an emphasis on cyber warfare, attempts to counter US space supremacy through US satellites, reliance upon missiles instead of stealth aircraft, maneuvering re-entry vehicles (MIRVs), decoys, chaff, jamming, thermal shielding, and anti-satellite (ASA T) weapons” (27, 34). While China is developing capabilities to counter the US asymmetrically and it does have interests that conflict with those of the US, the Taiwanese situation is currently stable and China is not presently aimed at explicit competition with the United States. China is likely to project power at an increasing distance from its littoral waters, but not beyond its regional seas. Beijing is attempting to “extend its operational reach to address other concerns within the 1 East and South China Seas, and possibly to the Indian Ocean and beyond the second island chain in the western Pacific” (33) Capabilities such as China’s nuclear-powered submarines and progress toward its first aircraft carrier suggest that it is attempting to gain a power projection ability beyond Taiwan (33). However, the authors of the DoD report suggest some caution to US policymakers in their assessment of China’s threat level - “it is likely that China will be able to project and sustain a modest sized force—...
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- Fall '10
- People's Republic of China, South China Sea, People's Liberation Army