The People’s Liberation Army now has hypersonic missiles that evade most defenses, a technology the U.S. is still developing. Its attack drones can swarm to paralyze communications networks. China’s naval ships outnumber America’s, and it launched its third aircraft carrier this summer, the first to be designed and built in the country. Its defense budget is second only to the U.S.’s. China’s military has more serving members, at around 2 million, compared with just under 1.4 million in the U.S.
The question for Mr. Xi, which he has raised in public, is whether those forces are ready for battle.
China hasn’t fought a war since a brief border clash with Vietnam in 1979. Unlike American forces, who have fought for most of the past two decades in Iraq and Afghanistan, China’s service members have virtually no combat experience—which some Chinese leaders have referred to as a “peace disease.” Finding a solution short of actual war has been a priority for Mr. Xi, especially as he seeks to prepare the country for a potential showdown with the U.S.
- ‘It’s not just what Jinping says, it’s how the Chinese behave and what they do,’ Gilday said at an event held by the Atlantic Council Wednesday
- ‘What we’ve seen over the past 20 years is that they have delivered on every promise they’ve made earlier than they said they were going to deliver on it’
- As Beijing launches fresh military exercises by air and sea off Taiwan’s coast, the Navy has now adopted a ‘fight tonight’ mentality
- Sec. of State Antony Blinken backed up such predictions earlier this week when he said China is speeding up its timeline to take back Taiwan