by Nadeem Bajwa
The annual Pentagon report on China's military development does not come at any moment in bilateral relations between the first and second world power. The five days after the Secretary of Defense Chuck Hagel, accused Beijing of "intimidation" in its territorial disputes and let him know that Washington will not remain impassive, and two weeks after the US Justice Department accused five Chinese military industrial cyber espionage. Therefore, the statements and document analysis, with data from 2013, acquired even more importance than usual, although in the case of cyber espionage assertions virtually unchanged compared to the previous year.
The report, sent to Congress on Thursday, believes that the Chinese military modernization program long term aims to " improve the ability of their armed fight and win regional contingencies of short duration and high intensity forces." The attention to detail on the type of potential conflict appears to be a notice to mariners to the growing strength of Beijing in its territorial disputes with its neighbors in the South Sea and East China, which have triggered tension with Japan, South Korea, Vietnam and the Philippines in recent months.
The territorial climbing led to U.S. President Barack Obama have to reiterate, in his Asian tour in April, Washington's commitment to defend its allies, notably Japan, in a possible war. In late November US and Japan made a significant gesture when, a few days claimed that Beijing airspace over some islands dispute with Japan, two American B-52 bombers flew over the area in a routine training mission.
In its annual report, the Pentagon maintains that the main focus of the military strategy of the Asian giant is still preparing for a potential conflict with Taiwan, but stresses that is also preparing for " potential contingencies" in the south and east of its coast to remember that last year Beijing unilaterally expanded its airspace and extending its maritime rights to virtually the entire south China sea.
"In recent papers have always been a strategic interest [ in China] to strengthen their territorial claims, but last year increased aggressive behavior," he said on Thursday a senior Pentagon official in a meeting with reporters. The spokesman reiterated that the United States opposes the use of " coercion " in these disputes, calling for a peaceful diplomatic solution.
A Hagel 's words Saturday in a defense summit in Singapore, the Chinese military authorities replied in the same forum, they were " full of hegemonism, threat and intimidation," but did not take any specific retaliation, as the cancellation of meetings. This, according to the Pentagon, is a reflection of the military communications between the two powers is solid and can serve as a safeguard in times of stress at government level.
The analysis of the Defense Department strategists is that with his aggressiveness in maritime disputes, Beijing seeks to " project power in the region" and that its military strategy is based on a vision to "long term", which is prior and independent of the intention to turn the epicenter of Obama 's diplomatic strategy, its outer pivot toward Asia.
However, some analysts believe that both strategies are so independent. Their argument is that China seeks in part to the escalating territorial with their neighbors, to test for U.S. settle their true level of commitment to its allies. That is, if it is purely rhetorical. For example, if Washington will sit idly by if Beijing decides to appropriate a territory belonging to another country. The background with the Russian invasion of Ukraine's Crimean peninsula, is not accidental.
In fact, the Pentagon admits that the interests of the emerging giant can move beyond its area of influence closer. " With increased interest, capabilities and international influence of China, its military modernization program has focused more on investment for missions beyond its shores ", reads the report.
The paper argues that the horizon of China 's military growth in 2020 and therefore is investing heavily in renewing its warplanes, missiles, aircraft carriers and submarines. The Pentagon estimates that the Chinese defense budget in 2013 was 145,000 million, explained the senior mentioned above the 119,500 officially announced by Beijing.
Although it has been growing in recent years, the Chinese military budget is still almost four times lower than the U.S., which in 2013 was 495.000 million besides 82,000 other for the war in Afghanistan. Still, China 's defense spending exceeds that of some of its neighbors, including Russia (69.500 million), Japan (56,900) and South Korea (31,000).