Thursday, June 22, 2017

Aiming to Fight "Over There"

The latest Department of Defense China military report confirms my impressions a year ago of China's new military district commands.

I wrote of the new Chinese military district commands:

The new map seems to be one not of facing threats to be absorbed and defeated as the old regions were designed (although the southern Cold War region certainly saw China's forces on offense against India and Vietnam).

Chinese power is strong enough to merge all of the west into a single district.

The Russian threat from Mongolia and the Pacific region is so low that this can be merged.

A larger region faces South Korea and Japan which have greater power projection capabilities that China can now meet at sea.

Another faces Taiwan as it did before, but now with a greater chance of actually invading Taiwan rather than resisting an American-assisted Taiwan invasion to renew the Chinese Civil War.

And the last one faces the South China Sea which China is trying to absorb into "historical" Chinese territory.

To me, this new design of Chinese military districts demonstrates increased Chinese confidence and a commitment to taking a war outside of China's borders.

In regard to China's new commands, the latest Department of Defense report on China's military states:

Taiwan remains the PLA’s main “strategic direction,” one of the geographic areas the leadership identifies as endowed with strategic importance. Other focus areas include the East China Sea, the South China Sea, and China’s borders with India and North Korea. PLA reforms appear to have oriented each new theater command toward a specific set of contingencies.

The strategic direction named as focusing on North Korea is true enough. But it could easily be focused on Russia's Far East if ending a "century of humiliation" includes restoring Chinese control of territory taken from China by Russia in the 19th century. That's what I had in mind for the command I noted second, although North Korea implicitly is folded in there.

And the first district I mention encompassed India and, to a lesser degree, Central Asia as the focus in my mind.

Growing capabilities are increasing Chinese ambitions.