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This report examines Chinese views about the military balance of power between China and the United States in the Western Pacific. It argues that while there is no single “Chinese” view on this topic, Chinese analysts tend to agree that 1) the gap between the two militaries has narrowed significantly in recent years, 2) the Chinese military still lags in important ways, and 3) Chinese military inferiority vis-à-vis the U.S. increases the further away it operates from the Mainland. In terms of specific areas of relative strength, the Chinese military has shown the greatest improvements in military hardware, but has farther to go in the area of jointness, training, and other military “software.” Nevertheless, despite continued criticism from senior civilian leaders, training quality has likely improved due to a greater focus on realism, and recent military reforms have, to a degree, improved the prospects for jointness.
China Maritime Studies Institute, U.S Naval War College
Newport, Rhode Island
China, China Maritime Studies Institute, CMSI, PLAN, Pacific, Balance
Heginbotham, Eric, "China Maritime Report No. 14: Chinese Views of the Military Balance in the Western Pacific" (2021). CMSI China Maritime Reports. 14.