Pentagon questions Chinese military power

March 25, 2009 7:45:37 AM PDT
China is increasing its military power more rapidly and developing new "disruptive technologies" that are shifting the military balance in its region and possibly beyond, a new Pentagon report said. And Beijing continues to develop weapons that threaten Taiwan, even though tensions between the two have been reduced significantly, according to the report scheduled for release later Wednesday.

The latest in a series of annual assessments for Congress of China's military power, the report says the U.S. "welcomes the rise of a stable, peaceful and prosperous China and encourages China to participate responsibly" in world affairs.

"However, much uncertainty surrounds China's future course, particularly regarding how its expanding military power might be used," said a summary of the report obtained by The Associated Press.

It notes that the People's Liberation Army is undergoing a comprehensive transformation from a mass army designed for long wars of attrition on its territory to one that can fight and win short, high-intensity conflicts along against high-tech adversaries.

"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 technologies and far-reaching doctrinal reforms in the armed forces, the report said.

"China's ability to sustain military power at a distance remains limited, but its armed forces continue to develop and field disruptive military technologies ... that are changing regional military balances and that have implications beyond the Asia-Pacific region," it said.

It said that included technologies for nuclear, space and cyber warfare.

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