Which country has the largest and best-equipped military? Which country has the most nuclearweapons and the world’s biggest military budget? And which country is involved in the mostwars at present?
Those were the questions posed by a think tank, the China Strategy Culture PromotionAssociation, in a report assessing the power of the US military in 2011. The report, published intandem with an assessment of the capabilities of the Japan Self Defense Force, was the first onthe topic to be published by a non-governmental body in China.
“The US and Japan have often used their military policy documents to criticize and exaggerateChina’s military development,” said Luo Yuan, a retired major general and deputy executive ofthe association, at a news conference held on Tuesday to launch the report.
“Although Chinese Foreign Ministry and Defense Ministryspokespeople have repeatedly refuted the documents, theUS and Japan have persisted. To ensure a correctunderstanding of the facts, our association will this yearbegin publishing civil reports on US and Japanese militarypower,” said Luo, an influential figure in Chinese militarystudies.
The authors of the reports insisted that they were not aimedat fomenting hawkish emotions inside China, but an attemptto remind all three sides of their wide-ranging mutualinterests and help them face future challenges together.
“Our aim is to let US and Japanese officials and peopleunderstand how much China knows about their militarystrength and how the Chinese view their militarydevelopment and strategies. Let them be the judge ofwhether it is objective,” said Fu Liqun, a retired general andone of the authors of the report. “We don’t claim to expressthe views of all the Chinese people, but we are confidentthat we reflect the opinions of many of them,” he said.
Distrust and containment
According to the report, distrust and containment are two of the key words in Washington’smilitary strategy toward China, as reflected in a paper entitled the National Military Strategy (ofthe United States), issued by the chairman of the US Joint Chiefs of Staff in February 2011,which defined the country’s military strategy.
Ahead of his visit to Asia this month, the US Defense Secretary Leon Panetta said that his tripto Vietnam, Singapore and India was aimed at promoting a “vigilant” response to China’sgrowing military power. “China’s military is growing and modernizing. We must be vigilant. Wemust be strong. We must be prepared to confront any challenge,” said Panetta, addressinggraduates of the US Naval Academy in Annapolis, Maryland.