China continues to pursue long-term military modernisation: US

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China continues to pursue a long-term, comprehensive military modernisation programme designed to improve the capacity of its armed forces to fight and win short-duration, high-intensity regional contingencies, the Pentagon has said.

In its annual report to the Congress yesterday, the Pentagon said preparing for potential conflict in the Taiwan Strait, which includes deterring or defeating third-party intervention, remains the focus and primary driver of China's military investment.

However, the Chinese People's Liberation Army (PLA) also is placing emphasis on preparing for contingencies other than Taiwan, including potential contingencies in the South and East China Seas, said the report titled "Military and Security Developments Involving the People's Republic of China 2014" that runs into over 90 pages.

According to the report, as China's interests, capabilities, and international influence have grown, its military modernisation program has also become increasingly focused on military investments for a range of missions beyond China's coast, including sea lane security, counter-piracy, peacekeeping, and humanitarian assistance-disaster relief.

China's leaders describe modernisation of the PLA as essential to preserving and sustaining what they view as a "period of strategic opportunity" to advance China's national development during the first two decades of the 21st century, it said.

"China's leaders see this period as providing an opportunity to focus on fostering a stable external environment to provide the PRC the strategic space to prioritise economic growth and development and to achieve "national rejuvenation" by 2049," the report said.

At the same time, Chinese leaders express a desire to maintain peace and stability along their country's periphery, expand their diplomatic influence to facilitate access to markets, capital, and resources, and avoid direct confrontation with the United States and other countries, it said.

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