PLA: Chinese Military Doesn’t Compare to U.S. Military

This is interesting. The PLA’s top officer, Gen. Chen Bingde, announced during his recent visit to Washington that China’s is no where close to matching the United States’ in terms of military capability. Yes, we’re fretting over China’s rise as an economic power, but according to the general, his nation has a long way to go before it catches the U.S. militarily.

From Fox News:

“Through my visit over the past couple of days in the United States, I am surprised by the sophistication of the U.S. military, including its weapons and equipment and doctrines and so on,” People’s Liberation Army leader General Chen Bingde said. “I can tell you that China does not have the capability to challenge the United States. As a matter of fact, the reconnaissance activities along China’s coast by U.S. military aircraft and vessels are seen in China as deterrents.”

For emphasis, the general added, “What I’m trying to say is that we do not have the capability to challenge the United States.”

He even went so far as to try to answer the question that’s long been on U.S. defense officials minds: What do Chinese officials mean when they says they want to ‘defend what is theirs’ with their new military might?

“As it is known to all, the United States is a super-power in the world today; how can China easily have the ability to challenge it? That is simply not part of Chinese culture and we do not have that capability. We would strive for world peace, civility and development and well being of the whole humankind…The United States has far more advanced weapons and equipment.”

Chen took some exception to the accusation, insisting the routine test flight was not targeted at Gates’ visit, and questioned why similar issues were frequently raised to China but not the United States.

The general insisted, “After 30 years of reform and opening up, China’s economy has made tremendous progress and we are now the world’s second-largest economy…Our efforts to grow our economy is to ensure that the 1.3 billion people are better off. We do not want to use the money to buy equipment or advanced weapons systems to challenge the United States.”

From the general’s answer, it sounds like China has no intention of getting into Cold War II with the United States. Arms races can be notoriously expensive and distracting from the buildup of other sectors needed to support a healthy economy; something China is strongly focused on. For now, it seems like China wants to be the big military power in the region while focusing more on the long-term growth of its economy. This reminds me of how the U.S. overtook Britain as the world’s most powerful economy decades before it overtook the empire in terms of military and global political might. However, once China overtakes the U.S. as the world’s largest economy (predicted to happen sometime in the next 20 years if current trends hold) who knows what kind of military investments it will make?

49 Comments on "PLA: Chinese Military Doesn’t Compare to U.S. Military"

  1. saying you're weaker does help to convince polititians to give you more money
    and convince the other side that they don't need to invest more
    but you don't have to match an enemy in strength to beat him, you just need to hit him hard enough where it hurts (satellites, carriers, domestic cyber network…)

  2. Probably just a PR exercise. I doubt China is that humbled by American might, or that they're unable to challenge us. They are by no means on par with us on technology or quality, but let's not kid ourselves that they couldn't give us a serious run for our money if they tried.

  3. Fritzthedog | May 19, 2011 at 4:48 pm | Reply

    The Chinese have been a society for over 4000 years. They will adapt and overcome and, in the end, if their technology is outdates, they will simply overwhelm us with their vast numbers. We are doomed

  4. Kind of a given. However its hard to say if this guy speaks for his leadership, though its unlikely he would be allowed to make these statements if he wasnt trustworthy.

    However, the US will continue developing newer and more interesting weapons.

  5. china has no long term in about 15 to 20 years they are suppoed to fall because of the populatin diffrence and the female male situation

  6. The US military has to be good at a lot of things worldwide. By it's very nature we have a generic military with not a lot of ability to handle a variety of new concepts in military strike capability done in a massive way in a local region. Yes we have a huge force structure, that is scattered across the globe. That's one weakpoint.

    The Chinese military on the other hand, only has to be good enough at keeping the US from interfering with an invasion and take-over of Taiwan. When they aim for that limited capability, they have the ability to concentrate any number of moderate systems against us in ways that will make it very difficult for us to respond. A look at the systems they are developing, intermediate range carrier killing ballistic missiles, stealthy land based fighter bombers, an enhanced land based conventional bomber force, over the horizon and satellite based naval detection systems, regional aircraft carriers, better and more non-nuclear submarines, etc… all point more towards denying our ability to influence events in the immediate vicinity of the mainland, Taiwan included, then challenging the US on a global scale.

    So no, they do not have nor do they seem to be building a global military, but instead are thinking locally and building up a multitude of systems and techniques to defeat us in that region.

    SB

  7. Everyone is taking away from the equation the NATO factor do you really European and even Asian and south American countries would let that happen. Countries we give billions to for economic aid and development as well as military aid. The US supplies the world with weapons and if it wanted could monopolize and squeeze countries for making or selling weapons. Think of all the countries that purchase US weapons or corporations that are intertwined with European defense companies China doesn’t have A chance. The US only shows you what you think you want see. US invented modern war in a century alone we been in approximately 7 major conflicts not to name the minor ones. US wrote warfare. Not to brag.

  8. There are large oil deposits in Central Asia. If the Chinese really needed resources they would simply move east on land.

  9. All warfare is based on deception.
    – Sun Tzu

  10. Stephen Russell | May 19, 2011 at 8:36 pm | Reply

    dont trust his comments yet DT runs these pics etc about Chinese planes, ships etc & Im scared, Hes bogus or playing US for fools,
    Their spies know our secrets anyway IF not sold to them.

  11. dennisbuller | May 19, 2011 at 8:46 pm | Reply

    From a South Park Episode:

    President Clinton “I have talked to the Prime Minister and he assures me he wants peace and that I have a very large *****.”

  12. Even if China matches us on every weapon in count and effectiveness they have one serious disadvantage… USA military is all over globe. China military is just on one , thou rather vast, area. The only counter to that, includes Russia & its few alliances, but in my view is neutralized by rest of NATO

    China would be a great allie if wasn't for the issues with North Korea, Taiwan and the overall bitterness between Japan and China. They have no choice but to beef up their defenses while there seems to be no ultimate resolution for any of these countries.

  13. I hope people aren't buying this. Seems like a ploy to convince the US to let its guard down.

  14. I see many wrong assumptions here. Think of yourself as the Chinese. They have no desire to go to world war III with the US in the near term because that would mean self destruction. Their intention is that they want to be a local then regional power first where US intervention would be made very expensive that would deter us from doing so. In their point of view, Yankees put your nose away and let us finish the local business, whatever that would be. In the long term beyond 20 years, not even gods know what will happen.

  15. True. China can't match the US when it comes to physical combat, which is why they're focusing on unconventional warfare — things like cyberwar, exfiltration of data, and economic warfare. They use things like anti-access strategies, soft power (aka, the war of words,) and what they refer to as "non-contact warfare."

    The US is aware of this. There was a RAND report on it not long ago. I wrote a story on it for The Epoch Times: http://www.theepochtimes.com/n2/china/chinese-reg

    I'd also recommend looking up the terms "Assassin's Mace," and the "Three Warfares." The Assassin's Mace project is one that uses cyberwar and espionage, while the Three Warfares focuses on soft power and perception management. I did a story on this recently: http://joshuaphilipp.com/2011/05/china-fights-a-w

    Their strategy is based on a 50-year timeframe — they seem to know they can't currently match the US military. One of the best sources on this was a report from two Chinese colonels called "Unrestricted Warfare." It's worth a read also, as it shows the lengths they'd go to in order to win a war.

  16. Have you ever read Sun Tzu? I know this Chinese General has.

    "When weak, appear strong. When strong, appear weak."

    Deception is a major tenant of Chinese military philosophy and, unlike the US, they have no law against officers lying to the press…

  17. This article once again overstates the "threat" made by the yes boys and yes girls in Washington, DC about any country on this planet that is modernizing it's economy and/or military and may pose a challenge to the US. The fact is clear that today's PLA even with the ongoing modernization programs to it's doctrines and equipment is still not a real threat to the US. Remember, the defense industry is a BUSINESS and relies on actual and perceived threats. War between the US and China is highly unlikely. The main reason is that both countries are basically joined at the hip economically. China also holds about $1.6 trillion in US debt. So they don't want to see any major disruptions to the US economy by selling off this debt. The US can't afford to get involved in any more conflicts. Iraq, Afghanistan, Pakistan, Libya are enough for the time being.

  18. More fear mongering from the DT blog I would fear Russia making statements about starting a arms race than the junk China has. It would be economic suicide for China to start a war with the US even a cold one. We are both so economically tide that its impossible that one nation would want to break ties together with out a economic depression starting.

    DT get on real threats no fear mongering pls.

  19. When countries become aggressive in nature the world usually comes together to freeze there assets. For China to attack Taiwan would be the biggest economic and military blunder. Annihilating a countries infrastructure and assets is self defeating remember when Napolean attacked the Russians. The Russians destroyed there city and left what was there to conquer same principal applies. If your smart u will do it economical where they become dependent on you. And what about invading a country that’s surrounded by water very difficult mine warfare then you have to fight block by block while other countries watch there investments perish I think not. Reunification can happen only through peaceful means.

  20. rangerbob1_bn | May 20, 2011 at 7:11 pm | Reply

    all the more reason not to stop military funding!!

  21. – American peni BIG, Chinee peni small.
    – Gee, thanks!

  22. and this is surprising how? only someone totally ignorant or the average layman would argue the general's statement.
    100% of the time the Chicom boogeyman scenerios are brought upon by either belligerent politicians or captains of the defense industry.
    I mean common how else are you going to grow your multi billion dollar business unless you convince people there's the big bad red chinaman out there is trying to git ya?
    Last I check American military has fought in a lot more wars and killed more people than any other sovereign nation so who's the bad guy again?

  23. Paul Blackburn | May 22, 2011 at 2:07 am | Reply

    China has been around for ~ 4000 years, and their culture allows them to more comfortably think strategically, not just tactically compared to US society. Socioeconomic trends for China and the US appear to be sloping in opposite directions. The statements were nothing new to anyone, and were most certainly carefully crafted for any number of reasons, from getting the US to relax its vigilance, to providing fodder for those wishing to reduce military spending, etc.

    Also, we should be very careful to not design or formulate our responses and preparation solely in terms of current and past military dogma. Cyberwar will invariably be a factor that could completely alter military (and military-industrial, Mr. President Eisenhower) design, capabilities, and responses.

  24. Black Owl,

    The gaffe about the division sizes seriously damages your credibility. You put in those commas, that was no typo. You don't have familiarity with your subject matter.

  25. I will say this about the Chinese: they know where America's weakness is. By saying they arent trying to be the threat impowers anti war politicians to make more cuts to our military. China knows it cant take us yet but if they keep giving the radical left wing "lets all get together and hug" people talking points like this we will no longer be the best. To be the best requires constant investment.

    Also its important to note if/when America goes to war with China we cant just pump out weapons like in WWII. It takes years to get high qulity fighters, IFVs, etc and if America doesnt prepare now we might go the way of Europe or even Russia.

    An advantage America has is the fact that it has been at war for the past decade and has troops hardened by combat. Something China's money cant buy.

    What has pissed me off in the comment sections is citing Sun Tzu as some magical being that only the Chinese military can understand. Hate to break it to you but his knowledge is well know in the West too.

  26. I can't believe this hasn't been posted yet….
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BIx1vDKCmuU

    Sorry for the poor quality video choice, but the internet here in Afghanistan kinda sucks.

    on a serious note, so as to not juts be that guy and the half time hero at the same time, i agree with most of the sun tsu comments above. It's been a while since I read it, but i do remember it saying something about winning battles without actually engaging at all. not to mention victory through deception.. the prior being seen through what almost appears to be an economic battlefield, and then with this.

    That said, maybe I have it all wrong. Maybe the global governments really are just gonna chill out the next 20 to 50 years.

  27. If China has no ambitious military goals- they should ditch the CV's.

    CV's are for projecting power- the Japanese know that and have stayed away- even though they certainly could have made some good ones in the last 50 years.

    China's CV's are a direct threat to Taiwan, Vietnam, the Phillipines, and Japan.

    Are they too dumb to realize this?

  28. his whole answer is two pronged, on one hand there is much truth in what he says. military wise the US is so far ahead its not funny. meaning, kinetic warfare…

    on the other hand, there are other types of warfare, so what he is saying is no kinetic war with the US. but that does not mean no economic, or cyber wars…..

  29. 12345

  30. IMHO, we got this country by taking by force from Britain, and taking it by force (and disease) from the Native Americans, and now we spend all day with one hand on our six guns just waiting for some punk dictatorship to look at us wrong.

    I think China simply doesn't want America. It would be hard for them and they've got other things to worry about. I think they're just trying to tell us to relax because they have no interest in America right now or in the foreseeable future.

  31. First, it's great when people say how quick & cheap a war will be over. In 1914, the French and the Germans promised to be 'home by Christmas.'
    Second, who ever is the top economic power ends up the top military power by default. It's very rare to look through history and see a top moneyed power that can't put the hurt on its neighbors.
    Last, I agree that our medium-sized force of experts is the top dog in the fights we are fighting now. Afghanistan and Iraq in particular would have been unadultered disasters with a conscripted force. The guys (and gals) in the field right now are unmatched in human history. But our list of trigger-pullers is at about 50K. I think back to Japan at the opening of WW2. They possibly had the most developed, most trained force in the world, but once they burned through their warfighting experts, they didn't have a lot to back that up. The rest of the war was grueling, but they did not have time to train up the second generation of warriors who could fight above their weight. I'm not sure we're in such a different boat now.

  32. Cut off their supply line& their oil route, sink their ships with our subs, use many drones to bomb their weapons radar sites like what was done to Iraq, less human casualties, things like that, but only if they were threatening to attack. that's the easy part, trust me, they could not make it to the U.S. to attack us, we would shoot them down by air, unless they were to use their airliners, with soldiers, pretend they were normal people, and land here, try to play the Trojan horse game, I had a dream of a scenario, of most of the Chinese that came to America Legally & Illegally did that, and were activated by the Chinese Government to attack all Americans. I have read somewhere on the web, there is a Chinese General that said" If we were to attack and occupy America and Canada, the women and children would also be executed to make room for the Chinese people" I wouldn't trust China one bit.

  33. the question is us will not able to hold on to its military economically long time. so we are looking for smooth transfer from usa to Russia to china or
    usa to china to Russia

  34. Oh that Chicom general is just makin us feel warm inside. You can wikipedia practically everything about our military. Now the Chicoms are just makin us feel we have nothin to worry about. 20-30 years down the road. BOOM!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! WORLD WAR THREE.

  35. What the PLA general said about U.S. military capabilities vis a vis China's is true, but even so, it is probably just Chinese Communist rhetoric designed to lull the U.S. into a sense of complacency. Communists are notorious deceivers when it suits their national interests and statements like General Chen Bingde's would not have been made without official government foreknowledge and approval. His words are just a smoke screen to mask China's real agenda.

  36. I am amazed at what is being written lately . We have to raise taxes for this, raise taxes for that. Who wants taxes to build on the moon, Need taxes to go to Mars. I say we are at the turning point NOW. Shipping is going to be the turning point for consumer products as the oil prices go higher and higher and no relief in sight. It may cost two dollars to build and two hundred to ship. The middle east will always be a mess and this will always be a reason or excuse to keep oil prices high. Could you think of the prices, if Israel and Iran go to war. Start building factories NOW, make all that is needed here NOW, food and household items. For starters! Modernizing our energy resources. If all homes and businesses were permitted to take 100% tax credit. Only for American owned and American made solar systems, wind mills,Geo-thermal. This would be a major step towards tax paying jobs, which will affect Real estate tax owes and a country starting to becoming self reliant. There are so many ways to get this done and get America back on track of be unstoppable. But when I look toward our leaders for leadership and direction, it seems that our government has gotten too-too complicated and corrupt. For every dollar that goes toward the American people, the political process makes 600xs over for themselves. JFK said it right when he said, don`t ask what your country can do for you, but ask what can you do for your country (meaning them) FDR got the factories going when we had gotten involved in WWII. I don`t say we need a war. But we are in a war for our very lives, children and grandchildren lives. We need to secure this country's future. I am retired, but I am sick and tired of other countries having their hands in our cookie jar and then hating us for it.

  37. Dream Katcher | May 4, 2012 at 8:02 pm | Reply

    I honestly think we should be great allies with China.

  38. I just hope that everyone here does realize that China vs. USA or Russia is the end of the world for all of us….all that military might is only useful against less developed countries.

  39. Sure China does not have the might alone. The US has been attacking China and Russia's allies for decades. What if the US struck China say in retalliation to China knocking out out SAT COMM's(?) Then, while we were busy with them Russia could sail their versions of the Cruise missiles to cripple our ports. While we were busy with the second pearl harbor, Al-qaeda and the rest of Mexico could storm the southern borders.
    All this while civil unrest here wreaks havoc on local authorities….It goes on and on.
    The USA really is on its last thread of hope.
    I for one dont think that the new world order (whoever they are) has any intention of the USA being at the top of the food chain.

  40. shoot china troops in us on site!

  41. China does not want a war with the U.S. We are their largest trading partner. WE owe them a lot of money! If we are to fear a nation, it is North Korea. Not because they are strong but because they are weak, starving and desparate. They look at the South Koreans and are jealous. Like a bully, the North cannot compete, therefore the threats. The North is relying on China like in the Korean War but this is another dumb mistake. China does not want the 1,000,000 war orphans a war would bring! They are already feeding billions and do not need more.

  42. Guys guys,recall back your memory to the bombing of Pearl harbour by Japan. Is it not the Japanese that started the war on USA ? The same thing will happen. The US won't start any thing first, but if the chinese start it first, well, that's it. They want a war, I am sure the US won't sit down and relax. As we all know the US has the TR3B spy plane during the late 80s already. Their TR3B even can go the moon and Mars. What about their TAW50 fighter bombers which is in deep space now. That is why i'd rather trust the US than china. As you all know now, china want to take the whole of south china sea for them selve.

  43. China, just like Russia (USSR), is a totalitarian regime. Every decision, whether domestic or for defense, is made by governmental bureaucrats. Their military personnel don't make a move without orders from above. None of their soldiers, sailors, or airmen, make a decision on their own. Which simply means that they don't know how to think independently. Going up against a military, in which all of its personnel are capable of independent thinking and reasoning, would put both China and Russia at such a disadvantage that they may be of little threat in a real war. Sure, the Chinese military can march just great and can go out on exercises. There is no adversary for them to confront. Their ships can patrol and their planes can go through the motions. However, what happens when this machine comes up against a thoroughly experienced, well trained, well equipped, and independently thinking force? How much different will they be than what the Iraqi million man army was? I think that, just as the Soviet Union acknowledged, they are scared to death of confronting the US military machine. They're not stupid. They understand that their military is robotic in nature and may well fall apart at the first sign of adversity. Their entire country would be at risk of being totally destroyed.

  44. I wonder what the calculation is for one drone equals how many men?

  45. You are aware of thus substantially pertaining to this particular subject matter, manufactured everyone professionally think it is through countless a number of sides. Its just like men and women are not serious except for it’s one thing to make use of Girl gaga! Your very own products fantastic. Constantly take good care of it!

  46. Well everyone knows the US Navy is the best on this planet. The Russians still have some kind of technology no comparison to the US but they can beat China. Germany UK and France got more technology than China so why fear China only because they have atomic bomb. I would strike against China at once, the PLA is full with dancers singers and other cultural bullshit but no real fighting forces. They are not better than 1953 during Douglas MacArthur even worse. At that time Mig 15 was from the Soviets and they do not have well trained pilots. The Chinese are single child, no soldier in China prepares for dying. No parents sent their only child serving in the Chinese PLA for dying but for a secured job with money and payment. Japan could strike the islands at once. They know about beating China. I just say China is weak, like Iraq or Afghanistan and especially North Korea. It is time beating them, They cannot fight they are not Sun Tze and they do not read Art of War. The spoiled children do not know living without mum and dad without toys mobiles and computers. Just first bomb water factory and the power plants. Nobody of the Chinese knows living without water and electricity. They are weak.

  47. China is stealing all of America's high tech military stuff-there more advanced than people think plus they can afford to lose allot of troops but Americans are just plain out better fighting in war-we have free minds plus we love our freedom so we have something to fight for and can think for ourselves-so if a leader gets killed we have the next person to take his place and so on.Under Obama he is gutting our military bad when we should be building her up as much as possible.

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