WASHINGTON -- The Chinese military is increasing the number and accuracy of short-range missiles aimed at Taiwan as it focuses on a possible clash with the United States over Taiwan, the Pentagon said yesterday in a new assessment of China's military power and strategy.
Without predicting a Chinese attempt to win control of Taiwan by force -- or dismissing the possibility -- the report says the People's Liberation Army is buying the kinds of weapons that could be used in a pre-emptive strike. These include cruise missiles and ballistic missiles of longer ranges and greater accuracy.
"The warning time for missile launches most likely will decrease as China expands its missile force opposite Taiwan," the report said. It is the latest in a series of assessments on China required by Congress.
The report concludes that despite its increasing preparations for a potential clash, Beijing is unlikely to attack Taiwan because the Chinese believe war would jeopardize their economic growth and world standing.
It says China is strengthening its military on a broad front but, despite having a far larger armed force, would still face "significant shortcomings" in a conflict with Taiwan, even a decade from now.
Over the coming five years, the 2.4 million-strong PLA will have "only a limited capability" to conduct offensive operations against Taiwan in a way that effectively combines air, sea and land forces, the report says. …