Report: What's China up to?

Published May 26, 2007

WASHINGTON - China is modernizing its military in ways that give it options for launching surprise attacks, perhaps far from its borders, the Pentagon said Friday.

In an annual report to Congress, the Pentagon said the Chinese are acquiring better missiles, submarines and aircraft and should more fully explain the purpose of a military buildup that has led some to view China as a threat.

In a measured tone, the report offered a detailed look at China's military modernization. And it outlined areas of perceived ambiguity in Chinese strategy, including its declared policy of never starting a nuclear war. The report concluded that Beijing may be exploring "new options."

The Chinese Embassy did not immediately return messages for comment. China has reacted angrily to previous Pentagon reports and has insisted that its military buildup is defensive.

As it has in the past, the Pentagon said China's defense spending is two or three times the publicly announced budget, this year the equivalent of $45-billion. The report said actual defense spending, including funds from sources other than the defense budget, is $85-billion to $125-billion.