Cadets from the Dalian Naval Academy march to celebrate the 70th anniversary of the People's Liberation Army Navy in Dalian city, northeast China's Liaoning province, on April 23, 2019. Photo: AFP

China continues to build up its military capabilities to challenge America’s role as the pre-eminent power in the Indo-Pacific region, Randall G Schriver, the assistant US defense secretary for Indo-Pacific security affairs, said on May 3.

According to a report posted on the US Department of Defense’s website on that day, “China seeks to become both prosperous and powerful” and a US report notes that “China has a stated goal of becoming a world class military by 2049.”

China is continuing to strengthen its missile force and has already started building a second aircraft carrier. The US report also states that “China’s air force has flown its J-20 fifth-generation aircraft … [which] has stealth characteristics and many US officials have said they believe it may contain technologies stolen from US manufacturers.”

On December 4 last year, the Wall Street Journal reported that a Boeing plant in Los Angeles was nearing completion of a new satellite, which, the paper stated, “uses restricted technology relied on by the US military.”

The satellite was ordered by “a local startup that seeks to improve web access in Africa.” But in reality, according to the Wall Street Journal, the satellite was being funded by Chinese money which “is flowed to the satellite project from a state-owned Chinese financial firm in a complex deal that uses offshore companies to channel China’s money to Boeing.”

According to the recent Defense Department report, Chinese covert and not so covert operations also include what it terms “influence operations,” or “Chinese efforts to influence media, culture, business, academia in other countries to accept the Chinese way.”

At the same time, the report cautions that “it is an important part of our regional strategy to have stable, constructive relations with China which mitigates the risk of incidents and accidents.”

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