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China gained its first aircraft carrier, carried out 18 space launches in 2012, expanded anti-space capabilities

The conclusions of the Pentagon's annual publicly available intelligence report on China -- "2013 Military and Security Developments Involving the People’s Republic of China" [PDF] -- are that China's claims of technological backwardness are far from reality.

According to U.S. Department of Defense experts, China's military can hack into its rivals, potentially crippling their power, their water, and their communications.  It has developed new technology to shoot down enemy satellites -- or simply hack them.  And it has developed sophisticated anti-ship cruise missiles.  And in 2012, it launched its first ever aircraft carrier, which gives it a mobile platform for air dominance.

Together this arsenal culminates into a sophisticated area-denial and anti-access strategy.  Comments David F. Helvey, deputy assistant secretary of defense for East Asia, to reporters, "The issue here is not one particular weapons system.  It's the integration and overlapping nature of these weapons systems into a regime that can potentially impede or restrict free military operations in the Western Pacific. So that's something that we monitor and are concerned about."

In terms of hacking, the U.S. continues to accuse the Chinese military of an actively hostile stance.  Comments Asst. Sect. Helvey, "In 2012, numerous computer systems around the world, including those owned by the US government, continued to be targeted for intrusions, some of which appear to be attributable directly to the Chinese government and military.  [This information]  could potentially be used to benefit China's defence industry, high technology industries... and military planners."

China hackers
State-sponsored Chinese hackers have allegedly cyber-attacked a deluge of U.S. targets.
[Image Source: Asia Society]

The U.S. is concerned about China's growing sea dominance and its "increased assertiveness" regarding maritime territory conflicts with Japan over island territory in the East China Sea.

Also troubling is China's secrecy.  In recent years China developed stealth aircraft and aircraft carrier technology seemingly out of the blue.  Reportedly, China stole parts of these technologies via hacking or junk parts purchased from crash sites in the Middle East.

Comments Asst. Sect. Helvey, "What concerns me is the extent to which China’s military modernization occurs in the absence of the kind of openness and transparency that others are certainly asking of China.  And so it's that uncertainty, I think, that's of greater concern."

China aircraft carrier
China launched its first aircraft carrier in 2012. [Image Source: Xinhua]

While the U.S.'s days as a space superpower appear to be waning, China is flexing its muscle in search for space supremacy.  In 2012 it had 18 successful launches.  U.S. intelligence says that these launches dramatically improved China's surveillance capabilities, communication capabilities, and navigation capabilities.  Currently China's global position system (GPS) rival BeiDou only operates in Asia, but the company is constructing a global replacement dubbed COMPASS or BeiDou-2, which is expected to be complete by 2020.

Asst. Sect. Helvey adds, "At the same time, China continues to invest in a multidimensional program to deny others access to and use of space."

There are some signs of improving Sino-American relations; the nations tentatively agreed to conduct joint military exercises in 2014.  And last September the two nations conducted joint anti-piracy exercises.

Sources: DOD [1], [2; PDF]

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By BRB29 on 5/7/2013 12:47:02 PM , Rating: 0
China have some bright people but they can't make up for decades, maybe even centuries, of being technologically behind. Most likely, they are either buying it from Russia or stealing our tech. We're better off worrying about our own stuff and how to protect it from their spies.

RE: whatever
By Mathos on 5/7/2013 1:18:17 PM , Rating: 2
Couple Decades of repression under communism maybe. But not centuries. Up until the 1700 China was the most advanced nation in the world for over 2000 years. Their ships could cross oceans long before anyone elses, Junks built during the Han dynasty for example. It was also China that introduced black powder, medicine, and a lot of other things to the world back in it's history.

RE: whatever
By BRB29 on 5/7/2013 1:26:58 PM , Rating: 2
Thanks for the cool history lesson, but we're talking about what's happening right now as it is the topic of the article.

The reality is we are way ahead. China is trying to catch up. We've had carriers in quantities since WW2. We've sent men to the moon during the 60s and 70s. They're more than a couple decades behind and they're catching up by buying/stealing tech.

China does have the advantage when it comes to catching up. Computers are available globally and quite affordable. We had to develop our technology without the aid of massive computational resources available.

RE: whatever
By boeush on 5/7/2013 3:26:49 PM , Rating: 1
Everything you're saying about China, people used to say about Japan. A mere 2-3 decades later, and they were the advanced society while U.S. was transforming into a devolving backwater. The evisceration of U.S. continues to this day, with productive industry continually being replaced with debt-fueled consumers and servicers. Subtract out the ballooning deficits, and you get negative real growth ever since the early 1980's.

RE: whatever
By BRB29 on 5/7/2013 3:54:08 PM , Rating: 2
Most developed 1st world nations shows little to no improvenment in real gdp. Small amount of inflation is what driving our economy forward. It's a known fact.

China has plenty of potential and they are capitalizing on that. They are heavily utilizing their natural resources. They are increasing their money supply and lowering interest rates. Everything we did, eventually their debt will become just as high. They will only beat us if they can manage to raise their per capita high enough to collect enough tax. Right now our 300mil pop is outproducing China's 1.2 billion in GDP.

This is China's industrial revolution just like ours. What they do afterwards will determine economic dominance.

RE: whatever
By Bobhacks on 5/7/2013 1:23:51 PM , Rating: 3
Idk man. It's easy to catch up when you can just hack and steal US tech or just reverse engineer US military technology.

Economic reliance upon each other will stop war for a long time but in the end only military power will matter if war breaks out. (Or there be another Cold War who knows)

But the US should definitely invest in education and security

RE: whatever
By BRB29 on 5/8/2013 10:52:07 AM , Rating: 2
Isn't that what I said? we should worry more about securing our tech than what they are developing. We're still far ahead in just about every area.

"I modded down, down, down, and the flames went higher." -- Sven Olsen

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