Away from the Chinese military’s expanding capabilities in cyberspace and electronic warfare, Beijing is growing the size and reach of its naval fleet, advancing its air force and testing a host of new missiles, the Pentagon said Thursday.
An annual report to Congress on China’s evolving military capability concluded that the modernization was being driven in part by growing territorial disputes in the East and South China seas, as well as by Beijing’s desire to expand its presence and influence abroad.
But the main motivation remains Beijing’s concern over the possibility of hostilities in the Taiwan Strait, according to the report, which downplayed the notion that a recent thaw in relations between China and Taiwan has done anything to seriously mitigate the threat of a military conflict between the two countries.
“Despite positive public statements about cross-Strait dynamics from top leaders in China following the re-election of Taiwan President Ma Ying-jeou in 2012, there have been no signs that China’s military disposition opposite Taiwan has changed significantly,” the Pentagon report said. “The [People’s Liberation Army] has continued to develop and deploy military capabilities to coerce Taiwan or to attempt an invasion, if necessary.”
The report’s release Thursday coincided with a visit to The Washington Times by Taiwanese diplomats, who said they want to renew their request to obtain some of the Pentagon’s coveted F-35 Joint Strike Fighters or, perhaps, its F-22 Raptor fighter jets.to read more: washingtontimes.com
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