The PLA In Search of a Strategic Focus
NATIONAL DEFENSE UNIV WASHINGTON DC INST FOR NATIONAL STRATEGIC STUDIES
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In a recent address to the National Defense University of the Chinese Peoples Liberation Army PLA, the Secretary of Defense outlined the strategic basis of relations between Washington and Beijing and stressed the importance of solid, mutually beneficial military-to-military contacts. His remarks came as China is deeply involved in defining strategic priorities for the next century. How these priorities are defined, in turn, will determine PLA capabilities, roles, and missions. By acknowledging Chinas central role in guaranteeing peace and stability in the Asia-Pacific region, and by proposing a broad strategic dialogue, Secretary Perry faced--and attempted to disarm--the perception now prevalent among PLA leaders that the United States regards China as a hostile peer competitor of the future. The effect of the Secretarys remarks may not be evident for some time because PLA strategic planners are apparently deeply divided in their assessments of the regional security environment. The terms of this debate should interest U.S. strategists for two reasons. First, the debate reveals much about assumptions implicit in Chinese strategic thinking. Second, it explains the purposes of Chinas military modernization program.
- Military Forces and Organizations
- Military Operations, Strategy and Tactics