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China Seeks Greater Global Voice

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Anyone who doubts whether the world is once again immersed in great power competition should read the 2019 China Military Power report released today by the Defense Intelligence Agency.

The 100-page booklet explains China’s strategy and its efforts to supplant the United States and impose its rules on the international order.

Chinese soldiers in a seminar setting
Political Instruction
People’s Liberation Army soldiers receive political instruction.
Photo By: Defense Intelligence Agency 2019 China Military Power report
VIRIN: 190115-O-ZZ999-301Y

It’s modeled after the Reagan era’s Soviet Military Power series, and it uses the words of Chinese leaders and publications to make its case. It also details Chinese strategy and the history behind it.

The report looks at China’s goals, detailing changes in the structures and commands in the People’s Liberation Army. It also looks at military modernization and the underlying goals of Chinese leaders. It serves as a primer for what the U.S. military must counter and where American money would best be spent.

Chinese soldiers crouch during movement training.
Movement Training
People’s Liberation Army soldiers conduct individual movement training.
Photo By: Defense Intelligence Agency 2019 China Military Power rep
VIRIN: 190115-D-ZZ999-112Y

Believing this modernization is needed for the country to achieve great power status, Chinese leaders are investing in capabilities across all domains of warfare. What it does with this new-found power is what concerns U.S. and allied leaders. China could impose its will in the region in Asia and around the globe.

Chinese destroyer moves through the water
Chinese Destroyer
The People’s Liberation Army Navy’s Luyang II-class destroyer Xian moves through the water.
Photo By: Defense Intelligence Agency 2019 China Military Power report
VIRIN: 190115-O-ZZ999-102Z

In a preface to the report, Army Lt. Gen. Robert P. Ashley, the DIA director, said that as China grows in strength and confidence, it will insist on “having a greater voice in global interactions, which at times may be antithetical to U.S. interests.”

“With a deeper understanding of the military might behind Chinese economic and diplomatic efforts,” he continued, “we can provide our own national political, economic, and military leaders the widest range of options for choosing when to counter, when to encourage, and when to join with China in actions around the world.”

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