My apologies for such a long absence from this forum…it’s been a busy second half of the year.
One of the two big annual U.S. government reports on China was released this week. (The other is the annual DoD China military power report.) I haven’t had a chance to read it at all yet…but don’t let that stop you! Here you go:
From the press release announcing the report:
“…This year also marked several milestones for China’s decades-long military modernization efforts, fueled in part by a defense budget that has averaged 12 percent growth over the past decade. China has recently achieved several military “firsts”: it flight tested its first stealth fighter, conducted a sea trial of its first aircraft carrier, and made progress towards deploying the world’s first anti-ship ballistic missile.
While all nations have the right to develop the means to defend themselves, the Commission continues to be concerned with the opacity of China’s military development and intentions, which invites misunderstanding. And, in particular, our report notes China’s development of its cyber capabilities, focusing on the growing evidence that Beijing sponsors or condones computer network intrusions against foreign commercial and government targets. When combined with the military’s excessive focus on other disruptive military capabilities, such as counterspace operations, it presents an image of Chinese intentions that diverges significantly from Beijing’s official policy of peaceful development.
As a result of China’s growing economic and military strength, Beijing increasingly acts with greater assertiveness on the international stage. In the South China Sea, for example, Beijing insists on treating a multilateral maritime dispute as a series of individual bilateral issues, much to the consternation of the other claimants. Furthermore, newly acquired maritime security capabilities provide China with a means for backing up its excessive territorial claims in the region. Over the past year, China repeatedly asserted its interests by harassing Indian, Philippine and Vietnamese fishing and oil exploration vessels in the South China Sea. The willingness to place Chinese national interests ahead of regional and global stability is also demonstrated in Beijing’s relations with both North Korea and Iran.
China’s rapidly growing economic and military strength entitles it to play a significantly larger role in the international system. Former U.S. Trade Representative Robert Zoellick anticipated that when he called on China to be a “responsible stakeholder” nearly ten years ago. Since he said that, however, we have learned it is unrealistic to assume China will simply fit neatly and cleanly into a Western economic and political system that alternately exploited and rejected it for the past hundred and fifty years, and which the Chinese Communist Party has spent most of its life repudiating…”