The People’s Republic of China has one of the most powerful militaries in the world. The country’s significant investment in defense and modernization efforts has transformed its military capabilities and has become a major area of focus for global analysts and policymakers. This article will discuss China’s military power, analyzing its latest developments, assessing its strengths and weaknesses, and discussing its implications for regional and global security.
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China’s economic and political rise in the last few decades has been accompanied by a rapid expansion of its military power. The People’s Liberation Army (PLA) is the largest military force in the world with over 2 million active troops and a further 510,000 in reserve. In recent years, China has been investing heavily in modernizing its military, with a focus on increasing the quality of its equipment, enhancing its technological capabilities, and improving its training and tactics. China’s military modernization program aims to transform its armed forces into a world-class military power that can compete with the United States (US) and its allies.
Overview of China’s Military Power
China’s military power is based on a combination of its size, technological sophistication, and strategic vision. The country has invested heavily in its defense industry, developing advanced weapons systems and technologies, such as stealth fighters, ballistic missiles, and aircraft carriers. In recent years, China has developed a range of hypersonic weapons, including the DF-17, which can evade missile defense systems, and the DF-26, which has the capability to strike moving targets at sea. China has also developed advanced anti-ship missiles, such as the DF-21D, which is designed to target aircraft carriers.
In addition to conventional weapons, China has also developed a significant cyber warfare capability, which has been used to target foreign governments, military networks, and private companies. China’s military cyber espionage program has been linked to several high-profile incidents, including the theft of sensitive data from the US Office of Personnel Management in 2015, and the alleged hacking of Equifax in 2017.
China has also been investing in its space capabilities, developing a range of technologies to counter the US’s dominance in space. In 2019, China became the first country to land a spacecraft on the far side of the moon, and it has plans to launch a space station in the near future.
Strengths and Weaknesses of China’s Military
China’s military power is based on a combination of its strengths and weaknesses. China’s military strength lies in its size, with the largest standing army in the world. Its technological sophistication, as demonstrated by the development of advanced weapons systems, is also a significant asset. Additionally, China has invested heavily in its naval capabilities, developing a blue-water navy capable of projecting power beyond its shores.
However, China’s military faces several key weaknesses, including a lack of combat experience. While China’s military has not engaged in a significant conflict since the 1979 Sino-Vietnamese War, it has been increasing its military exercises and training, particularly in the South China Sea. China’s military also faces logistical challenges, including its ability to move troops and equipment over long distances, and the need to develop a more robust logistics system. Furthermore, China’s military is heavily dependent on foreign technology, particularly in areas such as engines, which could be a vulnerability in the event of a conflict with the US.
China’s Military Strategy
China’s military strategy is focused on ensuring its territorial integrity and securing its economic interests. This includes protecting its claims in the South China Sea, defending its borders with India and Russia, and ensuring the security of its Belt and Road Initiative (BRI) projects around the world. China’s military strategy also aims to prevent foreign intervention in its domestic affairs, particularly regarding Taiwan, which it considers a part of its territory.
One of the key aspects of China’s military strategy is its emphasis on asymmetric warfare, which seeks to offset the technological advantages of the US and its allies by exploiting their vulnerabilities. Asymmetric warfare involves a range of tactics, including cyber attacks, anti-access/area denial (A2/AD) strategies, and the use of irregular forces. China’s development of hypersonic weapons, anti-ship missiles, and other advanced technologies is part of this asymmetric strategy, which aims to make it more difficult for the US to operate in the Western Pacific.
Implications of China’s Military Power
China’s military power has significant implications for regional and global security. The country’s increasing military capabilities have raised concerns among its neighbors, particularly in the Asia-Pacific region, who fear that China’s rise will upset the balance of power in the region. China’s assertiveness in the South China Sea, where it has built and militarized artificial islands and claimed sovereignty over much of the area, has also raised tensions with other countries in the region.
China’s military modernization program has also raised concerns in the US and its allies, who view China’s rise as a potential threat to their interests. The US has responded to China’s military buildup by increasing its military presence in the Asia-Pacific region, conducting joint military exercises with its allies, and enhancing its missile defense capabilities. The US has also been pressuring its allies to limit their economic ties with China, particularly in the technology sector, which it sees as a key area of competition with China.
China’s military power also has implications for global governance and the rules-based international order. China’s increasing assertiveness in the South China Sea, its disregard for international law, and its human rights abuses have raised concerns among the international community. The US and its allies have been pushing back against China’s actions, with the US taking a more confrontational approach towards China and its allies taking a more cautious approach.
China’s military power has undergone significant transformation in recent years, with the country investing heavily in its defense industry and modernizing its armed forces. China’s military strength lies in its size, technological sophistication, and strategic vision, which has enabled it to become a major military power in the Asia-Pacific region and beyond. However, China’s military also faces several key weaknesses, including a lack of combat experience and logistical challenges.
China’s military strategy is focused on ensuring its territorial integrity, securing its economic interests, and preventing foreign intervention in its domestic affairs. As part of this strategy, China has been investing heavily in asymmetric warfare capabilities, which seek to offset the technological advantages of the US and its allies.
China’s military power has significant implications for regional and global security, raising concerns among its neighbors and the international community. The US and its allies have been responding to China’s military rise by increasing their military presence in the Asia-Pacific region, enhancing their missile defense capabilities, and pressuring their allies to limit their economic ties with China.
Disclaimer: The opinions expressed in this article are solely those of the author and do not represent the views of any organization or institution. The information in this article is accurate as of October 2021, and may be subject to change in the future.
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