posted on Nov, 22 2002 @ 02:52 AM
I wouldn't worry too much about China, just yet, chaps: the Army is getting smaller -they've abolished National Service, of course, and the word
"army" covers a multitude of sins in China -large labour brigades for example.
As for equipment: most is old but the Chinese could up-date: they're choosing not to. China's thinking concerns resisting invasion not occupying
new lands: and Mao's strategic thinking which essentially was that when you can put over 200-million combatants into the field, you don't have many
worries in land wars, probably still applies.
And don't expect too many links with Al Qaida -China's biggest internal problem is Muslim minorities.
China is surrounded by potential enemies -or at least tends to pretend it is - and has many internal problems of its own: not the least of them
the massive income-gap between rural and eastern urban and the contradictions between a Marxist superstructure and growing free-market capitalism.
They are, however, to be regarded as a challenge economically: but it will be a long time befor ethey challenge Europe or the USA: it's the
Koreans and Japanese who need to worry. The Chinese are cleaver, resourceful, pretty well-educated, they expect low wages and their banking and
financial sectors (while corrupt and inefficient) do not have a fraction of the structural weaknesses of the Japanese and S. Korean sectors.
The missiles are postures to annoy the Taiwanese: the two nations have been trading partners for ages and my prediction is that the Taiwanese will
come to China: not vice versa. The KMT and Chaing Kai-Shek's cronies are all long dead and gone and the modern Taiwanese increasingly find themselves
like East Germans in the 80's -no one can remember what all the fuss was about.
Other than economically, I can't see much interest here for the USA: the days when China and the USSR had to be balanced have long gone.
And what's uppermost in the minds of most urban Chinese is actually the 2008 Olympics.