The People's Republic of China is continuing its efforts to overturn the international rules-based order and is building an increasingly effective military to further this aim, according to a Pentagon report provided to Congress last week.
The Defense Department's annual report to Congress is based on the National Defense Strategy's premise that China is the only competitor to the United States with the intent, will and capability to reshape the international order.
DoD's report "charts the current course of the PRC's national economic and military strategies and offers insight into the [Chinese military's] strategy, its current capabilities, some of its operational activities, as well as its future modernization goals," a senior defense official told reporters after delivering the report Oct. 19.
The 192-page report is available here.
China's communist leaders seek "the great rejuvenation of the Chinese nation" by 2049 — the 100th anniversary of the Chinese Communist Party's takeover of one of the world's largest and most populous countries.
According to the DoD official, part of this effort is China increasing its military coercion. An example of this strategy is the rising number of unsafe intercepts that the Chinese military is making of U.S., allied and partner vessels and aircraft operating in the international airways and seaways of the Indo-Pacific region.
DoD's report also covers China's intensifying pressure campaign against Taiwan, which includes Chinese ballistic missile overflights of Taiwan, increased flights into Taiwan's self-declared air defense identification zone and the large-scale simulated joint blockade and simulated joint firepower strike operations done after a visit to the island by a U.S. congressional delegation.
China's deepening security ties with Russia are additionally covered in the report. The DoD official said China sees its emergence as a great power as tied to its alliance with Russia.
DoD's report also looks at the continued development of the Chinese military's nuclear, space and cyberspace capabilities.
China is developing new intercontinental ballistic missiles. These weapons may also be conventionally armed missiles.
"If developed and fielded, such capabilities would allow the PRC to threaten conventional strikes against targets in the continental United States, Hawaii and Alaska," the DoD official said.
Per the report, Chinese leaders are seeking to modernize the People's Liberation Army's capabilities in all domains of warfare.
Chinese military leaders have carefully studied conflicts involving U.S., Russian and other armed forces over the years.
According to the DoD official, these conflicts are one of the key sources the Chinese military draws from to better understand how it needs to prepare itself for future combat operations.
The Chinese military is now seeking bases overseas and is looking to develop the resources needed to be a globally relevant force. It has also established an overall logistics command and is working hand-in-glove with the Belt and Road Initiative to gain access.
Finally, DoD's report also discusses the dearth of contact between U.S. and Chinese defense officials.
— Based on a DoD News story