PLA capable of handling US military provocations and threats

By Song Zhongping Source: Global Times Published: 2020/9/3 19:53:42

China reveals its most advanced nuclear-armed intercontinental ballistic missile, the DF-41, at the National Day parade in Beijing on October 1, 2019. Photo: Fan Lingzhi/GT


"The PRC has the largest navy in the world, with an overall battle force of approximately 350 ships and submarines including over 130 major surface combatants. In comparison, the U.S. Navy's battle force is approximately 293 ships as of early 2020," says the Pentagon in its latest report on China's military power. 

This statement is simply US hype. The long-running "China threat" theory only emphasizes the quantity of the vessels rather than their quality. This is an untenable standard to measure a country's military power. The number of navy ships that China has may look massive, but a large proportion of them are missile boats with displacements of only hundreds tons. They cannot really be considered as large surface ships. By comparison, US' warships mostly have a displacement capacity of more than 5,000 tons - so the People's Liberation Army (PLA) Navy's capability is actually inferior to that of the US Navy in this regard. 

US defense official Chad Sbragia on Tuesday criticized China's recent test-firing of medium-range missiles in the South China Sea, citing it as a necessity to counter China. 

Such an act of using China's anti-aircraft carrier ballistic missile tests to hype up China's "military threat" in the sea region will continue as provocative US actions keep happening in the region. 

The US will keep increasing its military presence in the South China Sea, including holding more large-scale military exercises and intensifying close-up reconnaissance - especially around the Xisha and Nansha islands.

Moreover, the US will also prepare to form an "Asian NATO" as its next step to get more countries in the region involved to hold more joint military exercises as an anti-China alliance. 

However, both ships and a navy need a good management. The US now lacks such management capacity. 

The infection of COVID-19 on the aircraft carrier USS Roosevelt and the fire accidents on the navy ship USS Bonhomme Richard in July and on amphibious assault ship USS Kearsarge all exposed serious management problems and unstable morale in the US military. The root problem is a lack of organizational discipline in the military. This will seriously affect US combat and logistics capability.

US military power cannot be underestimated anyway. But we also need to be clear that there have been certain deficiencies with its real capacity, as the US military has not really made sufficient preparations against adversaries like China or Russia. It has only looked at how to beat weaker countries, or moderate military powers.  

In this sense, will the US military show its due capabilities if it is to confront China or Russia? It is hard to tell. But from the perspective of the PLA, we should always attach great importance to the US military, strategically and tactically, so that we can thoroughly study its weaknesses and find ways to win.

There is no doubt that the US, as a country outside the region, is the biggest troublemaker in the South China Sea and other waters surrounding China. Being the so-called world policeman, the US does not maintain world peace and stability but wrecks havoc. This is in line with its national interests. After all, it is the world's largest arms dealer. 

Nonetheless, the PLA is well prepared to carry out anti-aircraft carrier operations with multi-pronged approaches by the PLA Rocket Force, Navy and Air Force. China's DF-26 missiles can carry out precise strikes in the South China Sea with a range that can reach US military base on Guam. China has also reportedly deployed YJ-12 anti-ship missiles. This demonstrates that the PLA has sufficient ways to deal with any threats from US aircraft carriers off China's coast. 

The US military should be aware that the PLA cannot be threatened and that China's core national interests cannot be challenged. The PLA has already been equipped with systemic and joint combat capabilities needed to strike US aircraft carriers when necessary. Such a strike could weaken US' core capabilities to interfere in other countries' internal affairs. 

The author is a Chinese military expert and commentator.

Posted in: VIEWPOINT

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