Academic journal article China Perspectives

Editorial

Academic journal article China Perspectives

Editorial

Article excerpt

Since the early 1990s, the People's Republic of China (PRC) has em- barked on a major modernisation drive intended to improve the ca- pabilities of the Chinese People's Liberation Army (PLA). How have China's efforts to improve its military power affected its relations with its diplomatic partners and Taiwan? Are some aspects of China's military modernisation drive seen as more destabilising or alarming to foreign mil- itaries than others? What are the appropriate metrics to evaluate the im- pact of Chinese military modernisation on its foreign relations? And what factors determine how other countries view Chinese military modernisa- tion? This special issue examines these questions.

China has devoted increasing resources to its national defence over the past 20 years. During this period, the PRC has acquired a substantial num- ber of advanced weapons systems and capabilities from abroad or devel- oped them indigenously (sometimes after having appropriated or reverse- engineered the intellectual property of the core technologies). (1) From a largely outmoded military doctrine focused on low-technology ground warfare, the PLA has moved towards an "active defence" ( jiji fangyu ?? ??) doctrine that places much greater emphasis on sophisticated air and naval platforms. (2) It has also begun to carry out integrated joint opera- tions that emphasise simultaneous multi-service coordination designed to enable the Chinese armed forces to fight and win "local, limited wars under conditions of informationisation" (xinxihua ???). These steps are in- tended to boost the PLA's capacity to deter China's enemies from threat- ening its interests and to enable it to project force at greater distances from China's shores than was previously the case.

Chinese official spokespersons routinely claim, as PRC Ministry of Foreign Affairs spokesman Liu Weimin recently did on 9 January 2012, that "Our national defence modernisation serves the objective requirements of na- tional security and... will not pose any threat to any country," and seek to paint any expression of concern about Chinese military strengthening as either unreasonable or ill-intentioned. Still, as China has poured more re- sources into its military and has begun to improve the sophistication of its armed forces, it is undeniable that other countries have taken notice, and many have grown concerned about the implications of these develop- ments for their own security. International relations theorists often talk about states as balancing capabilities versus balancing threats, and as doing so through internal self-strengthening and/or through external al- liances and improved defence cooperation. As the essays in this issue of China Perspectives show, how China modernises its military - what plat- forms it acquires and how it uses them - matters to how national security managers in Japan, South Korea, Australia, the European Union, Taiwan, and elsewhere view China.(3)China's military modernisation is leading many of these countries to improve their own military hardware capabilities, adjust their operating doctrines, and tighten up their defence cooperative rela- tionships with the United States and other regional actors.

Methodologically, the essays in this issue evaluate the impact of China's military modernisation on its neighbours' defence policies by drawing on statements by national leaders, foreign policy and military elites, academ- ics, and popular surveys and newspaper editorials; by examining foreign defence budgets; by identifying foreign defence acquisitions in response to new Chinese capabilities; and by analysing shifts in foreign militaries' de- fence doctrines and operating concepts aimed at addressing the new chal- lenges posed by Chinese military capabilities. Some academics have sug- gested that Asian states might not try to balance against a rising China be- cause they are comfortable with a Sino-centric world order owing to their past experiences prior to the mid-nineteenth century. …

Search by... Author
Show... All Results Primary Sources Peer-reviewed

Oops!

An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.