Pentagon report cites China military buildup around world

Lucy Bush
June 8, 2017

The report repeatedly cited China's construction of its first overseas naval base in Djibouti, which is already home to a key US military base and is strategically located at the southern entrance to the Red Sea on the route to the Suez Canal.

While Hua declined to comment on possible overseas bases, she said China and Pakistan - one of the countries considered most likely to host a Chinese military presence - were close friends that conduct mutually beneficial cooperation in a variety of fields.

According to the report, a greater overseas naval logistics and basing footprint would better position the PLA to expand its participation in non-combatant evacuation operations, search-and-rescue, humanitarian assistance/disaster relief, and SLOC security.

This is the Trump administration's first report on the Chinese military.

Reacting to the Pentagon report, an editorial by Global Times, English daily under People's Daily (an official newspaper of the Chinese Communist Party) also said, "These reports suggest that the United States has decreasing confidence over its military supremacy in the West Pacific".

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Beijing's maritime claims in the South China Sea were nullified previous year by the United Nations Permanent Court of Arbitration.

U.S. Defense Secretary James Mattis recently criticized China's land reclamation activities in the disputed Spratly Islands, describing the activities as a demonstration of "China's disregard for global law" and its "contempt for other nations' interests".

"China is firmly opposed to that", Hua said, adding that her government was a force for safeguarding peace and stability in the Asia-Pacific region and the world.

The Pentagon said that China continued to build the capacity for overseas expeditions by developing army aviation units, special forces and aircraft carriers, with China's first domestically built vessel expected to be operational by 2020.

The goal of making improvements to "military and civilian infrastructure in the South China Sea" is to "bolster de facto control" of the maritime region, according to the Pentagon.

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China follows the path of peaceful development and its defense expenditures are "open and transparent", it said in a statement.

On the use of coercion, the Pentagon report noted that China engages in punitive trade policies and other measures to deter opposition to its actions.

These include securing access to natural resources and export markets, promoting political influence among host country elites, and building support in worldwide forums.

The report pointed that Chinese arms also come with fewer political strings attached, which is attractive to those customers who may not have access to weapons from Western countries for political reasons.

The year 2016 was the force's first as a separate service within the PLA following major reforms begun last year. China spent Dollars 180 billion on the People's Liberation Army past year, the report said.

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The official Chinese defense budget has almost doubled since 2007, from roughly $75 billion to $140 billion in 2016.

Other reports by Info About Network

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