China's Strategic Modernization: Implications for the United States

  • September 01, 1999
  • Major Mark A Stokes

Conventional wisdom portrays the People's Republic of China (PRC) People's Liberation Army (PLA) as a backward continental force that will not pose a military challenge to its neighbors or to the United States well into the 21st century. PLA writings that demonstrate interest in exploiting the revolution in military affairs (RMA) are dismissed by a large segment of the PLA- watching community as wistful fantasies. The author offers an alternative perspective by outlining emerging PLA operational concepts and a range of research and development projects that appear to have been heavily influenced by U.S. and Russian writings on the RMA. Fulfillment of the PLA's vision for the 21st century could have significant repercussions for U.S. interests in the Asia-Pacific region.