Pen­tagon re­port: Ma­jor Bei­jing buildup in­cludes high tech, ‘dis­rup­tive’ weapons

The Washington Times Weekly - - National Security - BY BILL GERTZ

China is con­tin­u­ing a large-scale mil­i­tary buildup of high-tech forces that in­cludes “dis­rup­tive” anti-satel­lite mis­siles, new strate­gic forces, and com­puter at­tack weapons, the Pen­tagon’s an­nual re­port to Congress on the Chi­nese mil­i­tary says.

“China has made steady progress in re­cent years in de­vel­op­ing of­fen­sive nu­clear, space, and cy­ber war­fare ca­pa­bil­i­ties — the only as­pects of China’s armed forces that, to­day, have the po­ten­tial to be truly global,” says the re­port ti­tled “Mil­i­tary Power of the Peo­ple’s Repub­lic of China (PRC)” that was re­leased March 25.

While not­ing that China has lim­ited abil­ity to sus­tain power far from its shores, the re­port warns that Bei­jing’s com­mu­nist-con­trolled armed forces “con­tinue to de­velop and field dis­rup­tive mil­i­tary tech­nolo­gies, in­clud­ing those for anti-ac­cess/area-de­nial, as well as for nu­clear, space, and cy­ber war­fare, that are chang­ing re­gional mil­i­tary bal­ances and that have im­pli­ca­tions be­yond the Asi­aPa­cific re­gion.”

Anti-ac­cess and area de­nial weapons in­clude large num­bers of pre­ci­sion-guided bal­lis­tic and cruise mis­siles and sub­marines that are de­signed to at­tack air­craft car­ri­ers, the re­port said.

The re­port also crit­i­cized China’s arms sales to coun­tries like Iran, Su­dan and Zim­babwe. It noted that Chi­nese arms sup­plied to Iran “were found to have been trans­ferred to ter­ror­ist or­ga­ni­za­tions in Iraq and Afghanistan.”

“This is a se­ri­ous is­sue that the United States con­tin­ues to mon­i­tor,” the re­port said.

Un­der a sec­tion on sig­nif­i­cant de­vel­op­ments over the past year, this year’s re­port for the first time de­scribed China’s mil­i­tary ef­forts to de­velop and wage com­puter war­fare by at­tack­ing net­works and elec­tronic in­fra­struc­ture.

“In 2008, nu­mer­ous com­puter sys­tems around the world, in­clud­ing those owned by the U.S. gov­ern­ment, con­tin­ued to be the tar­get of in­tru­sions that ap­pear to have orig­i­nated within the PRC,” the re­port said.

The re­port said it is “un­clear” whether the at­tacks were car­ried out by the Chi­nese mil­i­tary or with its sup­port, or by other el­e­ments of the Chi­nese gov­ern­ment.

“How­ever, de­vel­op­ing ca­pa­bil­i­ties for cy­ber war­fare is con­sis­tent with au­thor­i­ta­tive PLA mil­i­tary writ­ings on the sub­ject,” the re­port said.

Larry Wortzel, co-chair­man of the con­gres­sional U.S.-China Eco­nomic and Se­cu­rity Re­view Com­mis­sion, said the lat­est re­port re­flects the Chi­nese mil­i­tary’s am­bi­tions “to be a ma­jor mil­i­tary power with global reach.”

Richard Fisher, a spe­cial­ist on the China mil­i­tary with the pri­vate In­ter­na­tional As­sess­ment and Strat­egy Cen­ter, said the re­port “should be re­quired read­ing for those propos­ing ma­jor U.S. mil­i­tary re­duc­tions like end­ing pro­duc­tion of the F-22A fifth-gen­er­a­tion fighter, re­duc­ing U.S. car­rier bat­tle groups and uni­lat­er­ally dis­arm­ing fu­ture U.S. space war­fare and ro­bust mis­sile de­fense ca­pa­bil­i­ties.”

Typ­i­cally, China crit­i­cizes the an­nual re­port the day af­ter it is re­leased, as­sert­ing that its rise as a global power is not hos­tile. Be­fore the release of this year’s re­port, Maj. Gen. Qian Li­hua, di­rec­tor of the Chi­nese De­fense Min­istry For­eign Af­fairs Of­fice, warned in a pub­lished ar­ti­cle that the re­port would dam­age U.S.-China mil­i­tary re­la­tions.

AP FILE PHOTO

Anti-air­craft and bal­lis­tic mis­siles on dis­play at Bei­jing’s mil­i­tar y mu­seum.

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