Threat Perceptions

Daivd Shambaugh

in Modernizing China's Military

Published by University of California Press

Published in print March 2003 | ISBN: 9780520225077
Published online March 2012 | e-ISBN: 9780520938106 | DOI:
Threat Perceptions

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This chapter assesses China's national security environment as seen through the eyes of People's Liberation Army (PLA) analysts. While foreign specialists on Chinese security would observe that China's security has never been better, at least in the fifty years since the Communist Party came to power, PLA analysts do not necessarily see it that way. Evidence suggests that Chinese military analysts believe they live in a dangerous world, with many uncertainties and potential challenges to China's sovereignty and security. The principal threat they identify comes from the United States, while the principal challenge arises from Taiwan. These twin problems are fused together in the PLA mindset, but it is most likely that they would continue to view the United States as a threat to national security irrespective of American support for Taiwan. The chapter details PLA analyses of the nature of the U.S. threat, which is seen as both global in nature and specific to China's peripheral security. It also brings to light previously opaque PLA assessments of the military dimension of the Taiwan problem—assessing Taiwan's defenses and possible strategies for the use of force against the island. The chapter also considers five scenarios in which a war might evolve should conflict erupt. Aside from the United States and Taiwan, PLA analysts also view Japan and India as potential threats to China's security and national interests.

Keywords: People's Liberation Army; Chinese military analysis; national security threats; United States; Taiwan; military policy; Japan; India

Chapter.  16187 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: Asian History

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