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Military Power of the People’s Republic of China: 2008

Report - Military
March 03 2008

Military Power of the People’s Republic of China: 2008China’s rapid rise over recent years as a regional political and economic power with growing global influence is an important element in today’s strategic landscape, one that has significant implications for the region and the world. The United States welcomes the rise of a stable, peaceful, and prosperous China.

No country has done more to assist, facilitate, and encourage China’s national development and its integration in the international system. The United States continues to encourage China to participate as a responsible international stakeholder by taking on a greater share of responsibility for the stability, resilience and growth of the global system. However, much uncertainty surrounds China’s future course, in particular in the area of its expanding military power and how that power might be used.

The People’s Liberation Army (PLA) is pursuing comprehensive transformation from a mass army designed for protracted wars of attrition on its territory to one capable of fighting and winning shortduration, high intensity conflicts along its periphery against high-tech adversaries – an approach that China refers to as preparing for “local wars under conditions of informatization.” China’s ability to sustain military power at a distance remains limited but, as noted in the 2006 Quadrennial Defense Review Report, it “has the greatest potential to compete militarily with the United States and field disruptive military technologies that could over time offset traditional U.S. military advantages.”

China’s near-term focus on preparing for contingencies in the Taiwan Strait, including the possibility of U.S. intervention, is an important driver of its modernization. However, analysis of China’s military acquisitions and strategic thinking suggests Beijing is also developing capabilities for use in other contingencies, such as conflict over resources or disputed territories.

The pace and scope of China’s military transformation have increased in recent years, fueled by acquisition of advanced foreign weapons, continued high rates of investment in its domestic defense and science and technology industries, and far reaching organizational and doctrinal reforms of the armed forces. China’s expanding and improving military capabilities are changing East Asian military balances; improvements in China’s strategic capabilities have implications beyond the Asia-Pacific region.

China’s nuclear force modernization, as evidence by the fielding of the new DF-31 and DF-31A intercontinental-range missiles, is enhancing China’s strategic strike capabilities. China’s emergent anti-access/area denial capabilities – as exemplified by its continued development of advanced cruise missiles, medium-range ballistic missiles, anti-ship ballistic missiles designed to strike ships at sea, including aircraft carriers, and the January 2007 successful test of a direct-ascent, anti-satellite weapon – are expanding from the land, air, and sea dimensions of the traditional battlefield into the space and cyber-space domains.

The international community has limited knowledge of the motivations, decision-making, and key capabilities supporting China’s military modernization. China’s leaders have yet to explain in detail the purposes and objectives of the PLA’s modernizing military capabilities. For example, China continues to promulgate incomplete defense expenditure figures, and engage in actions that appear inconsistent with its declaratory policies.

The lack of transparency in China’s military and security affairs poses risks to stability by increasing the potential for misunderstanding and miscalculation. This situation will naturally and understandably lead to hedging against the unknown. (Executive Summary)

Download Military Power of the People’s Republic of China: 2008

PDF format, 30MB, 66Pages. Provided by

Military Power of the People’s Republic of China 2008
Office of the Secretary of Defense.

Table of Contents:

Figure List IV
Glossary of Acronyms V
Chapter One: Key Developments 1
Developments in China’s Grand Strategy, Security Strategy, and Military Strategy 1
Developments in China’s Military Forces 2
Developments in PLA Military Doctrine 5
International Military Exchanges, Exercises, and Interaction 6
Efforts to Acquire Advanced Technologies to Enhance China’s Military Capabilities 6
Taiwan’s Defense Capabilities and Cross-Strait Stability 7
Chapter Two: Understanding China’s Strategy 8
Overview 8
Strategy with Chinese Characteristics 8
Insights on China’s Strategy and Priorities 9
Factors Shaping Pathways to China’s Future 13
Chapter Three: China’s Military Strategy and Doctrine 16
Overview 16
Military Strategic Guidelines 16
Toward a Comprehensive View of Warfare 19
Secrecy and Deception in PLA Military Strategy 19
Asymmetric Warfighting 20
Chapter Four: Force Modernization Goals and Trends 22
Overview 22
Emerging Anti-Access/Area Denial Capabilities 22
Strategic Capabilities 24
Space and Counterspace 27
Power Projection – Modernization Beyond Taiwan 29
Chapter Five: Resources for Force Modernization 31
Overview 31
Military Expenditure Trends 31
China’s Advancing Defense Industries 33
Looking to the Future: Trends and Projections 38
Chapter Six: Force Modernization and Security in the Taiwan Strait 40
Overview 40
China’s Strategy in the Taiwan Strait 41
Beijing’s Courses of Action Against Taiwan 41
Special Topic: Human Capital in the PLA Force Modernization 45
Overview 45
Emphasizing Reform 45
Looking to the Future 48
Appendix: China and Taiwan Forces Data 50

Comments (18)add comment

zadam huzeyn said:

China must get stronger and stronger to equalize the beast (USA), whose only thought is to dominate the world planet through the satanic force of Zionists that govern USA, Europe, Japan, states of South America Israel, South Africa, Australia and some other states on planet.
February 17, 2011

zenggonglue said:

I wish china stronger and stronger,Japanese militant faction wil be killed soon,hihi.Surrounded by the Diaoyu Islands to safeguard national sovereignty japanese HiHIi
March 02, 2009

lkj110124 said:

I think china is best !
January 28, 2009

lkj110124 said:

i think china is best!!!!!!!
January 28, 2009

TellTruthPerson said:

No need to care about China as it is still a poor, developing country. Americans should care more about its space program in conflict with the powerful Russians who have Topol-M and other more advanced weapons including some new carriers and submarines coming out in the coming few years. I think China is still like Americans in 1970's or early 1980's. At least 30 years behind US technologies and power and everything. Really no need to care about it.
November 28, 2008

Jonathan Smithson said:

China is the biggest threat to freedom and peace since Nazi Germany.
July 26, 2008

叶敏 said:

:? 看到的不一定是真实的!中国的军事力量构成是防御性的,它不会对任何国家构成威胁。中国和平稳定,对周边及世界都是有益的。 :) 中国的军备并没有美国的强大,但如若遭受侵略,13亿中国人将同仇敌忾,如同在汶川地震中所看到的.
July 17, 2008

zm said:

china come on ...
June 22, 2008

Ben said:

I like China!I love China!
June 09, 2008

a guest said:

June 04, 2008 | url

美国的ॱ said:

China is the best!
April 30, 2008

FHFG said:

Thank you foryour reporter
April 03, 2008

leilei said:

China,the wold's most strong country .Haha...
March 29, 2008

我爱中ࡔ said:

March 29, 2008

fitsir said:

I love my motherland. I love you, China! :grin
March 24, 2008 | url

中国人 said:

I love China!!!
March 15, 2008

tomato said:

March 15, 2008

422 said:

:grin 鄙视美国
March 14, 2008 | url

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Last Updated ( March 03 2008 )
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