China's Hollow Military

How good is China's military, and how much should the United States care?

Issue: Summer 1999

How good is China's military, and how much should the United States care? There are ample grounds for addressing these questions. In 1995, and then again in 1996, the People's Republic of China (PRC) splashed missiles off the Taiwanese coast. It also reinforced military facilities on the Spratly Islands, which China claims although they are hundreds of miles from its shores. More recently, the PRC has undertaken a steady build-up of short-range missiles opposite Taiwan-hardly, it seems, a benign development, particularly when considered alongside President Jiang Zemin's presumed goal of reuniting Taiwan with the Chinese mainland during his tenure in office. And now these questions have been given a new urgency by the espionage allegations contained in the Cox report.

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