“While the Chinese army initially focused on the military resources needed to push America away from their own territory, in the last ten years they have primarily invested in the goods needed to take an island like Taiwan. , or to further secure oil supplies from the Middle East,” said Teer. Control over the South China Sea, and the East China Sea.
The People’s Liberation Army scores well in terms of quantity, he continued. “Number of people, missiles, ships: China has the largest fleet in the world.” At the same time, China is grappling with a number of significant technological shortcomings.
“China really excels in missile technology. They have ballistic missiles that can hit aircraft carriers,” Teer said. “But they don’t yet have the qualities to build a first-class fighter jet, for example, and anti-submarine warfare is also lacking. Moreover, the only two aircraft carriers that China has are relatively small and not nuclear-powered.” Unlike the US’s eleven nuclear-powered mega variants, the Chinese carriers, one of which relied on Soviet technology, required regular refueling. Especially relevant for adventures away from home.
“Winning without fighting is still preferable in Beijing,” Shelley Rigger said of rising tensions in China’s backyard, which, in China’s eyes, is also the result of increased American activity in the region. He didn’t want to call the increase in the display of military weapons the ‘beginning of the end’. “But it’s a strong signal,” he said of China’s aviation moves.
Much ultimately depends on US guarantees to Taiwan, analysts say. President Biden said in October that the United States would act if China wanted to attack Taiwan. Prior to that, Washington had ignored him, thinking that the possibility of US aid would be daunting enough.
“Both countries are equipped with nuclear weapons,” Teer said of the risk of confrontation between China and the US over Taiwan. “Risk is also the scenario in which Beijing thinks: this might be the best opportunity we get”, referring to the skewed power relations, including by Aukus, the military alliance between Australia, Britain and the US.
The Shantou residents don’t seem too worried there yet. In a small textile factory right next to the runway, the sound of spinning wheels turning could be heard above the spinning plane. “What will I be afraid of?” said one of the employees. “Don’t worry, war is not a theme.”