From the International Institute for Strategic Studies (IISS), London
Long march of China's military reform
The Chinese military's tentative steps towards extending its operational reach were underlined by the Pentagon in its latest annual report, issued in August. But the developments in capabilities that it analysed also showed that China remains a regional military force with a focus on its near-abroad – especially on Taiwan – and is not yet an extra-regional power.
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While containing few revelations, the US Department of Defense (DoD)'s unclassified review of China's military provides valuable insights into Beijing's progress in modernising its armed forces, in terms of both doctrine and equipment. It highlights the range of programmes being pursued by the People's Liberation Army (PLA), the multiple threats perceived by Beijing and the transitional phase through which the military is passing.