China’s military power could match America’s by 2050

A top congressional panel is worried about China’s military advances.
Date: Nov 14, 2018
By: Alex Ward

Members of a military honor guard before a ceremony at Tiananmen Square, on the eve of National Day on September 30, 2018 in Beijing, China. 
 Lintao Zhang/Getty Images

Chinese President Xi Jinping wants his military to be as powerful as America’s by 2050 — and his control of major economic and military institutions in his country could help him do just that.

That’s one of the major takeaways from an annual congressional report released Wednesday morning. The US-China Economic and Security Review Commission, which provides lawmakers with a yearly update about developments in Beijing, noted that the country has made significant advancements in hypersonic weapons, cyber abilities, and space defense.

What’s more, Xi has promoted greater integration among Chinese military services. That means the country is moving toward a “joint” model similar to the way America’s military branches like the Army, Navy, Marines, and Air Force operate with one another.

“We’re seeing a massive reorganization of the [Chinese] military in order to provide more guidance from the top,” Robin Cleveland, the commission’s chair, told a small group of reporters during a preview on Tuesday.

These developments are part of what the report’s authors call the “partyification” of China, where Xi and the country’s Communist Party exert influence over the nation’s major economic and security organizations. It gives Xi, who could be China’s leader for life, greater authority to throw his country’s muscle around.

“The new structural changes are enabling the party to assert more active and enduring control of military decision-making and operations,” Abigail Grace, a China expert at the Center for a New American Security and former staffer in President Donald Trump’s National Security Council, told me. “This means that Chinese military modernization efforts are inseparable from revisionist aims by the country’s Communist Party.”

What’s more, Grace noted, the military is an instrument of the party, not the state, which means its first priority will be to protect the party at all costs.    [FULL  STORY]