posted on Mar, 8 2006 @ 06:02 PM
I believe that China’s primary military interests are the modernization of its rather obsolete war machine, substantial reduction in standing
military men numbers compensated by their increase in combat worthiness, with the end goal being a flexible, technologically competitive and
strategically far reaching, quick to deploy forces. Global power projection goals should slowly start to become apparent as China prepares to
construct her first aircraft carriers, and possibly modify the ex-Soviet recently acquired Kuznetzov class aircraft carrier “Varyag” which is
currently berthed in Dalian shipyard docks and is been subjected to this date unkown of magnitude refurbishing activities. Will she become China’s
first operational aircraft carrier, a naval aircraft operations training vessel or just another casino, it’s anyone’s guess at the moment. But
given the political effort exerted by the Chinese leadership over acquisition of this naval asset and its subsequent attraction of worldwide media
attention, it could be said that the probability of it ending up as some type of military vessel is somewhat larger than the one of it becoming a
casino. If made operational, China will have acquired herself a very potent platform indeed: with its 67,500 metric tons (compared to 88,500 metric
tons of the U.S. Nimitz) maximum displacement and the ability to cary some 45-50 Su-33 fighters she will finally have the means of projecting power in
blue water zones far away from her mainland coastal waters. Her escort platforms are already available (Lanzhou class DDG), and are boasting some
really impressive specs: fixed, 360° 3D coverage phase array radar antennas, 48 100km+ ranged high performance SAMs, over-the-horizon SSM capability,
capable CIWS platforms and a plethora of other high-tech equipment making them one of the most capable ships of their class (if not the ones,
considering they displace only 6,600 tons). Add to this the acquisition of 4 Russian Sovremenny class DDGs, armed with extremely lethal Moskit
supersonic ASCMs, 8 Russian made modified Kilo class subs (armed with anti-ship supersonic Club missiles), their increasingly sophisticated domestic
naval production (2 Lanzhou class DDGs, 2 Guanzghou class DDGs and 2 Type 054 frigates) all featuring low-observability technology, and new, bigger
and more potent platforms to come, it can safely be said that the PLAN is soon to become a world-contending naval force to be reckoned with.
Complementary to this is an equally impressive growth in air-force power, manifested with the introduction of the Russian Su-27/Su-30MKK air
superiority/multipurpose fighters, the former of which are domestically built under license; the advent of their own indigenous fighter (J-10)
boasting super-maneuverability in the class of Rafale and very potent home-made and Russian-imported arsenal of medium and long range AAM.
Although it may seem like the Chinese are building themselves up with some malignant intentions (as could only beseem a Communist government in the
eyes of the Westerners) they are merely doing the restructurings and modernizations that were decades overdue and are by no means anywhere close to
where they should be hoping to be, given their ever-increasing economic might. But given enough time, (say 10 years) China will and should have become
a naval and military power second only to that of U.S. in the region of East and Southeast Asia.
As for the best strategy regarding Taiwan, I can sum it up in one single word: patience. A mild political and strong economical campaign should be the
way to go. As China becomes more powerful (economically and militarily wise) the spectra of strategic options available to her undertaking will have
continuously grown bigger and bigger, while that of Taiwan will have dwindled and dwindled. Eventually, the disposition of the Taiwanese people will
have grown sufficiently “amicable” towards PRC that a “peaceful” unification of some sort should become a very interesting option indeed.
Well, that’s at least what I hope will happen, as any other scenario doesn’t look very benign at all.
The Global War on Terror is the latest fashion of today's post-modern political entrepreneurism, and China would be very wise to jump the wagon and
end it's decade long isolationist policy. Only so can it achieve in a "politically correct" manner some (if not most) of its long term global
strategic goals. And I believe that's exactly what they're going to do.