- According to the US defense department’s latest report, China is expanding its war- fighting capabilities and is expected to increase its military bases around the world to project hard power as well as guard its One Belt, One Road (OBOR) infrastructure projects.
- Expanding war fighting capabilities:
- Xingkong-2: In 2018, China has successfully tested the Xingkong-2 (Starry Sky-2), which it publicly described as a hypersonic wave-rider vehicle.
- ICBMs: China has developed the ICBMs (inter-continental ballistic missiles) which represent a significant improvement in its nuclear-capable rocket forces.
- Nuclear capability: China is further improving its ground and submarine-based nuclear capability, and is pursuing a viable nuclear triad with the development of a nuclear-capable air-launched.
- Hypersonic missiles:China is also developing hypersonic missiles, which can travel more than five times the speed of sound.
- Expanding overseas military basis:
- Currently China has only one overseas military base, in Djibouti and is believed that China is planning other overseas military bases in countries with which it has a longstanding friendly relationship and similar strategic interests (such as Pakistan).
- Other locations for military basing could include the Middle East, south-east Asia, and the western Pacific.
- The ‘One Belt, One Road’ (OBOR) projects will probably drive China’s military overseas basing through a perceived need to provide security for the OBOR projects.
- China’s expanding military capabilities is presently aimed at preventing US military intervention in the Taiwan Strait, South and East China Seas as well as protecting its energy supply routes in the Indian Ocean Region (IOR).
One Belt One Road (OBOR): In brief
- China’s Belt and Road Initiative (BRI) was released in 2013 and is formerly named “One Belt, One Road”.
- It aims to expand economic and commercial ties to China by financing, constructing, and developing transportation infrastructure, natural gas pipelines, hydropower projects, technology and industrial parks throughout the Indo-Pacific, Africa, the Middle East, Europe, and the Americas.
- China views BRI as a way to enhance its trade connectivity.