DOD Report on China Details Military Modernization
By Karen Parrish
American Forces Press Service
WASHINGTON, May 6, 2013 – A Defense Department report released
today describes China’s military modernization and the Chinese army’s
interaction with other forces, including those of the United States, a
senior Pentagon official said today.
F. Helvey, deputy assistant secretary of defense for East Asia, briefs
reporters about the military and security developments involving China
during a news conference at the Pentagon, May 6, 2013. DOD photo by
Marine Corps Sgt. Aaron Hostutler
(Click photo for screen-resolution image);high-resolution image available.
The annual report -- titled “2013 Military and Security Developments
Involving the People’s Republic of China” -- went to Congress today and
covers China’s security and military strategies; developments in
China’s military doctrine, force structure and advanced technologies;
the security situation in the Taiwan strait; U.S.–China
military-to-military contacts and the U.S. strategy for such engagement;
and the nature of China’s cyber activities directed against the Defense
Department. David F. Helvey, deputy assistant secretary of
defense for East Asia, briefed Pentagon reporters on the report. He
noted that the report, which DOD coordinates with other agencies,
“reflects broadly the views held across the United States government.”
The report is factual and not speculative, he noted.
the trends in this year’s report show the rising power increasing its
rapid military modernization program. “We see a good deal of continuity
in terms of the modernization priorities,” Helvey noted, despite the
2012 and 2013 turnover to new leadership, which happens roughly every
decade in China.
The report notes China launched its first
aircraft carrier in 2012 and is sustaining investments in advanced
short- and medium-range conventional ballistic missiles, land-attack and
anti-ship cruise missiles, counter-space weapons and military
Helvey noted these technologies all bolster China’s anti-access and area-denial capabilities.
“The issue here is not one particular weapons system,” he said. “It's
the integration and overlapping nature of these weapons systems into a
regime that can potentially impede or restrict free military operations
in the Western Pacific. So that's something that we monitor and are
Helvey said the report provides a lot of
information, but also raises some questions. “What concerns me is the
extent to which China’s military modernization occurs in the absence of
the kind of openness and transparency that others are certainly asking
of China,” he added.
That lack of transparency, he noted, has
effects on the security calculations of others in the region. “And so
it's that uncertainty, I think, that's of greater concern,” he said.
Helvey added the report noted China has “increased assertiveness with
respect to its maritime territorial claims” over the past year. China
disputes sovereignty with Japan over islands in the East China Sea, and
has other territorial disputes with regional neighbors in the South
“With respect to these claims, we encourage all
parties to the different disputes or interactions to address their
issues peacefully, through diplomatic channels in a manner consistent
with international law,” he said.
Helvey noted China’s
relations with Taiwan have been consistent. “Over the past year,
cross-strait relations have improved,” he said. “However, China's
military buildup shows no signs of slowing.”
China also is
building its space and cyberspace capabilities, Helvey said. He noted
that in 2012, China conducted 18 space launches and expanded its
space-based intelligence, surveillance, reconnaissance, navigation,
meteorological and communication satellite constellations.
the same time, China continues to invest in a multidimensional program
to deny others access to and use of space,” Helvey said.
Addressing China’s cyber capabilities, Helvey said the Chinese army
continues to develop doctrine, training and exercises that emphasize
information technology and operations.
“In addition, in 2012,
numerous computer systems around the world, including those owned by the
United States government, continued to be targeted for intrusions, some
of which appear to be attributable directly to [Chinese] government and
military organizations,” he added.
Helvey noted a positive trend
in U.S.-China engagements over the year, including several
senior-leader visits culminating in then-Defense Secretary Leon E.
Panetta’s visit to Beijing in September.
The two sides also
explored practical areas of cooperation, he said, including the first
counterpiracy exercise conducted in September by Chinese and U.S.
forces, followed by the U.S. invitation to China to participate in the
Rim of the Pacific exercise in 2014.
“We'll continue to use
military engagement with China as one of several means to expand areas
where we can cooperate, discuss, frankly, our differences, and
demonstrate the United States' commitment to the security of the
Asia-Pacific region,” Helvey said.