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Disarmament Diplomacy

Issue No. 15, May 1997

Pentagon Assessment of China Missile Plans

On 9 April, the US House of Representatives' National Security Committee released an unclassified version of a report it had commissioned from the Department of Defense, into China's military capabilities and strategy. The report identified seven modernisation priorities: intelligence; missiles (ballistic and cruise); command-and-control; unmanned aerial vehicles, precision targeting; enhanced abilities to deny an adversary maritime control of the Taiwan Strait; and rapid-deployment of forces. The report concludes: "In accordance with this developing strategy, the People's Liberation Army has indicated that it will decrease in size in the near future to conserve funds for military mobilization."

On China's missile capability, and its likely future enhancement, the report notes "a large, well-established infrastructure" suggesting "the industrial capacity, though not necessarily the intent, to produce a large number, perhaps as many as a thousand, new missiles within the next decade."

New missiles, the report added, were likely to be short- and medium-range, rather than strategic.

Report: Pentagon reports guarded concern over China's military, Kyodo News International News Wire, 9 April.

© 1998 The Acronym Institute.

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