China & Pentagon Report 2021
BATTLE of national narratives of USA and China in terms of global hegemony and shared prosperity, economic nationalism/protectionism and equal & equitable world order, universal soldiering and self-defence mechanism, unipolar and multipolar befitting propositions and last but not the least, military misadventure and Global Responsive Code of Ethics (GRCEs) are fighting for absolute command and dominance around the world.
In this connection, the Pentagon published a report (November 3, 2021) indicating Chinese military power a serious threat to regional as well as international peace and stability.
On its part, during a regular press briefing Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesperson Wang Wenbin termed it full of “prejudice” and “ignorant of truth”.
According to foreign spokesperson the said report intentionally created hype about Chinese nuclear threat and badly “ignored” the US 5,550 nuclear warheads which are in fact the “biggest” source of nuclear threat globally.
Moreover, the most recently inked strategic deal among the Australia UK and USA (AUKUS) submarine also undermines regional stability and international peace and security, Wang added.
In this connection he upheld that China has urged the US to take responsibility for nuclear disarmament and slash its nuclear stockpiles, in order to safeguard global strategic balance and stability.
However, according to the Pentagon Defence Department new report on China’s military power highlights China’s continued rapid advancement in its nuclear program, hypersonic missiles, increased international influence and expansion into other countries which Chinese Foreign Office has strongly “rejected” and termed its “misappropriation” of basic facts and out of the contextual comparison.
The report details that China’s strategy so-called aims to achieve ‘the great rejuvenation of the Chinese nation’ by 2049 to match or surpass US global influence and power, displace US alliances and security partnerships in the Indo-Pacific region and revise the international order to be more advantageous to Beijing’s political system and national interests.
It is absolutely “untrue” and seems to be based on US “fears” or constant socio-economic meltdown, geopolitical weakness or geostrategic decline. Thus it does not have any “substance”.
Defence Secretary Lloyd Austin has called China the so-called “pacing threat” for the US military with its increasingly aggressive actions in the Indo-Pacific region, rapid military development and expanding international ambitions.
On the contrary, the most recent AUKUS strategic deal vividly reflects US and its regional allies “mad race” in Asia Pacific.
China has never been indulged in any kind of martial activity for the last 100 years but on the other hand, US directly attacked numerous countries and “bluntly” violated the spirits of international laws.
According to said report, the Chinese army has approximately 975,000 active-duty troops in combat units, the largest naval fleet in the world with about 355 Navy ships, and the third-largest aviation force with more than 2,800 aircraft.
The QUAD formation in the region is another US China’s containment policy in the deep seas which clearly indicates its military aims in the region.
Thus US report details about Chinese military strength is out of the context and “irrelevant” proposition.
Moreover, China is also developing new intercontinental ballistic missiles that will “significantly improve its nuclear-capable missile forces,” advances that will require the country to develop more nuclear warheads.
It has also started building “at least three” ICBM silo fields that will together contain hundreds of new ICBM silos. In this regard, every country has right of self-defence.
Rapidly changing geopolitical and geostrategic scenarios has already compelled all the countries to strengthen its “defence orientations” and “deterrence capabilities” and China is not any exception.
The report termed Chinese DF-26 intermediate-range ballistic missiles, a serious threat capable of conventional and nuclear precision strikes on ground and maritime targets. It labelled it “Guam-killer” for its alleged ability to reach the U.S. territory from China was first tested in January 2019.
But US obsession of hypersonic systems is “undeniable fact” and the Pentagon’s Director of Hypersonic Michael White (June 2021) admitted the U.S. stockpile of subsonic long-range missiles.
According to report China is likely considering Cambodia, Myanmar, Thailand, Singapore, Indonesia, Pakistan, Sri Lanka, United Arab Emirates, Kenya, Seychelles, Tanzania, Angola, and Tajikistan as possible locations for Chinese military bases which vividly reflects US lack of knowledge and norms of international relations.
The US Pentagon report (November 3, 2021) is full of prejudice and its assumptions are “incorrect”. It is full of “controversies” “contradictions, “fudging of figures”, “twisting of basic facts”, and “denial” of even international protocols of bilateral or trilateral relations.
The Chinese so-called persuasion of numerous regional as well as international military bases is “fictional”, “fake” and “false”.
Most of the aforementioned countries are directly under the US diplomatic nod and political thumb so chances of Chinese military bases may be its wishful correlation, a mere mirage and not a reality which just to create geopolitical and geostrategic fuss.
It seems that the Pentagon report’s assumption for “imminent” Chinese attacks is “incorrect” and China has no intention of launching an attack to any regional or trans-regional country. China has been striving hard to build a “constructive”, “stable” and results-oriented relationship.
Most recently while delivering a keynote speech in Pakistan the Chinese Ambassador Nong Rong stressed the need to have closer political consultations, greater economic integration and connectivity between two countries to cope with the rapidly changing chess board of world power politics.
In this connection, inclusion of VT-4 Tank in defence forces of Pakistan is another symbol of “Pakistan-China strategic cooperation” and defence collaboration, which will boost strike capabilities of Pakistan.
It is based on advanced armour protection, high manoeuvrability and exceptional firepower, which can be compared with any modern main battle tank of the world.
It is equipped with an auto transmission system and deep water fording operation capability it is considered “as a potent weapon of strike formations.
While visiting the Army Air Defence Centre in Karachi to witness the commissioning of a Chinese-origin High to Medium Air Defence System (HIMDAS), HQ-9/P, into the Pakistan Army Air Defence, Chief of the Army Staff (COAS) General Qamar Javed Bajwa said that the strategic partnership and defence collaboration between Pakistan and China is a factor of stability in the region.
During his speech the COAS highlighted the importance of air defence and said the induction of high-tech systems would make Pakistan’s air defence impenetrable in the emerging threat scenario.
According to ISPR’s statement the induction of the HIMADS would significantly “enhance the Comprehensive Layered Integrated Air Defence Shield (CLIADS) of aerial frontiers of Pakistan as the system is fully integrated through a well-knit digitised system on its inventory.
In this context, HQ-9/P is considered as a strategic, long-range surface-to-air missile with remarkable flexibility and precision.
To conclude it is better for both the countries to stay away from the “wishful list” of the US on Afghanistan by avoiding any so-called solo flight for any kind of strategic mileage.
Terrorism is a shared destruction which should be snubbed through mutual trust and cooperation.
—The writer is Director, Geopolitics/Economics, Regional geopolitical expert of China, CPEC & BRI.