China Pursuing Steady Military Buildup: Pentagon
China is exploiting Western commercial technology, conducting aggressive cyber espionage and buying more anti-ship missiles as part of a steady military buildup, the Pentagon said Friday.
Beijing aims to take advantage of “mostly US” defense-related technologies in the private sector as part of a concerted effort to modernize the country’s armed forces and extend China’s reach in the Asia-Pacific region, the Pentagon wrote in a report to Congress.
The annual assessment of China’s military resembled previous reports but adopted more diplomatic language, possibly to avoid aggravating delicate relations with Beijing, analysts said.
“I am struck by the decidedly mellow tone,” Christopher Johnson of the Center for Strategic and International Studies told AFP.
Chinese officials will privately welcome the report’s wording, after having been irritated by a strategy document issued by President Barack Obama in January that portrayed China as a military rival, Johnson said.
The report said Beijing had a goal of leveraging “legally and illegally acquired dual-use and military-related technologies to its advantage,” it said.
And China, which has the world’s second-largest defense budget behind the United States, “openly espouses the need to exploit civilian technologies for use in its military modernization.”
The Pentagon warned that “interactions with Western aviation manufacturing firms may also inadvertently benefit China’s defense aviation industry.”
Echoing recent warnings from intelligence officials, the Pentagon blamed China for “many” of the world’s cyber intrusions over the past year that have targeted US government and commercial networks, including companies “that directly support US defense programs.”