In first defense white paper in years, China targets U.S. Pacific Command, Taiwan

FPI / August 2, 2019

In the first defense white paper it has released in several years, China identifies the United States as its main adversary, warns that it is set to use military force against Taiwan and says that developing space weapons is among its vital strategic interests.

The People’s Liberation Army (PLA) white paper — part policy statement and part propaganda — was released on July 24.

China’s heavy-lift carrier rocket Long March-5 blasts off.

The paper claims the United States seeks “absolute military superiority” and is undermining world peace.

“The U.S. has adjusted its national security and defense strategies, and adopted unilateral policies,” the white paper said. “It has provoked and intensified competition among major countries, significantly increased its defense expenditure, pushed for additional capacity in nuclear, outer space, cyber and missile defense, and undermined global strategic stability.”

The white paper warns that China is prepared to use military force against Taiwan if the self-ruled island seeks formal independence.

Taiwan is a quasi-U.S. ally and the United States is obligated under the 1979 Taiwan Relations Act to defend it from mainland attack.

On space warfare, the PLA report states that threats to space “loom large” and as a result space security is now among eight vital Chinese strategic interests.

Steve Lambakis, a former official at the Pentagon’s Missile Defense Agency, said a key PLA objective is to use space weapons to cripple operations of the Hawaii-based Indo-Pacific Command during a future conflict by attacking American satellites, according to a report by security correspondent Bill Gertz for Washington Free Beacon.

“These operations would likely start with disruption and destruction of [command, control, communications, and intelligence] capabilities with cyber and kinetic attacks on satellites and ground assets in support of other Chinese kinetic capabilities,” Lambakis said.

Beijing, in another threatening announcement, said last week the PLA is prepared to dispatch forces to Hong Kong, which has been rocked by anti-Beijing protests in recent weeks.

The white paper also stresses “safeguarding national political security” — a reference to the PLA’s ultimate mission of keeping the ruling Communist Party of China in power.

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