China may set up base in 'friendly' Pakistan, says USA report

Jun 08, 2017, 02:00
China may set up base in 'friendly' Pakistan, says USA report

The construction of a military outpost in Djibouti is just the first of what will likely be an ongoing expansion in friendly foreign ports around the world to support distant deployments, the Pentagon report said.

The Pentagon had released a 106-page report titled "Military and Security Developments Involving the People's Republic of China 2017" on Tuesday.

The U.S. Defense Department predicts that China "will seek to establish additional military bases in countries with which it has a longstanding friendly relationship and similar strategic interests, such as Pakistan" and in countries that typically host foreign militaries.

Pakistan is another likely location for a new base, according to the Pentagon, which made the prediction in its annual report on the state of China's military.

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"China's military modernisation is targeting capabilities with the potential to degrade core USA military-technological advantages". The Pentagon report said that this region accounted for $9 billion of the more than $20 billion in Chinese arms exports from 2011 to 2015.

But India and others would be unhappy with additional Chinese development in Pakistan, particularly anything linked to the military.

Last year China began building its first overseas base in the African nation of Djibouti, already home to Camp Lemonnier, a large U.S. installation in the Horn of Africa nation responsible for counter terrorism operations in the Persian Gulf and eastern and North Africa.

"China's leaders remain focused on developing the capabilities to deter or defeat adversary power projection and counter third-party intervention - including by the United States - during a crisis or conflict", the Pentagon concluded, adding Beijing's military modernization might "degrade core USA military-technological advantages" in the foreseeable future.

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Sub-Saharan Africa was China's second largest regional arms market. This figure is higher than China's official defense budget figure of $140.4 billion. China is one of only a few global suppliers of such equipment and faces little competition for sales to the Middle East and North Africa. "To support this modernization, China uses a variety of methods to acquire foreign military and dual-use technologies, including cyber theft, targeted foreign direct investment and exploitation of the access of private Chinese nationals to such technologies".

It said that as of late past year, China was building 24 fighter-sized hangars, fixed-weapons positions, barracks, administration buildings and communication facilities on each of the three largest outposts - Fiery Cross, Subi and Mischief Reefs.

On the use of coercion, the Pentagon report noted that China engages in punitive trade policies and other measures to deter opposition to its actions. China spent United States dollars 180 billion on the People's Liberation Army a year ago, the report said.

China has already installed fixed, land-based naval guns on the four smaller Spratly outposts on Johnson, Gaven, Hughes, and Cuarteron Reefs.

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