In today’s world, the strength and might of a nation’s military force is a major measure of its power. China is the most populous nation on Earth and its military is the largest and most powerful in the region. As the nation moves towards a more modernized stance, the question of “Is Chinese Army Strong?” is one of importance and relevance.
The Chinese Army, commonly known as the People’s Liberation Army (PLA), is considered one of the most formidable on Earth. As the largest military in Asia, it is made up of millions of soldiers and officers, divided into three main branches: the People’s Liberation Army Ground Force, the People’s Liberation Army Navy and the People’s Liberation Army Air Force.
In addition to the sheer size and strength of the Chinese Army, military experts note its technological prowess and superior training as hallmarks of its success. The PLA is well-equipped with modern weapons ranging from battle tanks and missile launch systems to helicopters and warplanes. China has also been investing heavily in new generations of ever-more sophisticated military technology.
Moreover, over the past few years, the Chinese Army has ramped up its presence in the South China Sea, creating a stir in the region. China’s military build-up in the South China Sea, which includes the construction of artificial islands, has led to increased tensions with neighboring nations. China’s aim to gain greater control over the South China Sea has become a major foreign policy issue in the region.
Despite all its successes, there are still some areas of concern for the Chinese army. The nation lacks experience with combat operations abroad, and its military is mainly composed of ground troops. Additionally, military leadership quality is an issue. Recent reports have shown that the Chinese Army is under-trained and poorly-led, leading to inefficiency and lapses in the chain of command. Moreover, many say that the military concept of combined arms operations is still under-developed.
Ultimately, there is no question that the Chinese army is a formidable force in Asia. Its sheer size, technological capacity, and presence in the South China Sea make it one of the most powerful militaries in the world. Despite some areas of concern, there is no doubt that China is a rising power on the world stage and that its military leaves an important impression.
Modernization of Chinese Army
In recent years, the Chinese Army has undertaken a significant modernization effort to bring its equipment and training up to the standards of the most powerful globally. The changes made include upgrading existing weapons and military equipment, and introducing smaller, more maneuverable units. China is also increasing its use of High-tech, such as artificial intelligence in the battlefield, as well as advanced defense systems.
The Chinese Army recently unveiled its new advanced battle tanks, the Type-15, featuring a state-of-the-art computerised fire control system, communications systems, and armored vehicles. The PLA is also investing in next-generation weapons, such as stealth fighters, drones and other air and sea forces.
The Chinese Army has also increased its presence through joint training exercises in the South China Sea, and in other countries, such as Laos and Pakistan. This has allowed the Chinese Army to broaden its knowledge about modern warfare and improve its capability for combined operations between the ground, air and naval forces.
However, the Chinese Army is still considered to be in the early phases of its modernization program, and some doubt whether it can reach the levels of its Western counterparts in the near future. Critics have argued that the Chinese Army is lagging behind the US and its allies in terms of technological advancement and military hardware, due to its lack of experience in combat situations.
The PLA also faces some internal criticism, with some suggesting that its promotion system is not merit-based and its high command is too reliant on political rather than military experience.
Relationships with Other Countries
As the most powerful force in Asia, the Chinese Army is the focus of many of its neighbors’ concerns. Countries such South Korea and Japan harbour suspicions of China’s intentions and worry that it could try to impose its will on them through military force. The deployment of troops in the South China Sea has only furthered these concerns among China’s neighbors.
The Chinese Army has sought to allay these fears by participating in joint military exercises with these countries, such as the annual Japan-China Maritime Self-Defense Force exercises and the South Korea-China defense consultation talks. These exercises are designed to promote mutual trust and understanding between the countries and build a foundation for future defense cooperation.
However, China’s relationships with other countries are still strained due to its aggressive posturing in disputed regions and its strong support for regimes that are often viewed as oppressive. US-China relations, for instance, have been strained for some time over issues such as the South China Sea, human rights and trade tensions. Despite these tensions, the US has recently sought to build closer ties with China, leading to the signing of a new bilateral trade agreement.
China’s relationships with other countries in the international community are also complicated. The country has sought to build benign relationships with its neighbors, while simultaneously declaring itself as a great power and a global superpower.
National Funding on Chinese Army
The Chinese military is the largest and most powerful in Asia and relies heavily on national funding. In 2018, the Chinese government announced a defence budget of US$175 billion – the highest in the region and the second highest in the world after the US. This makes the Chinese military one of the best-funded armed forces in the world.
The majority of military spending is focused on modernizing existing equipment and developing new weapon systems. The PLA also invests heavily in training its personnel and in diversifying its capabilities – for instance, by increasing its presence in cyberspace and building up its Special Operations Forces.
China’s military buildup has also been driven by its continuing territorial ambitions, as it seeks to assert its influence over disputed regions such as the South China Sea. This has led to increased tensions between China and some of its neighbours, but has also made the Chinese Army a formidable force in the region.
The Chinese Army plans to significantly expand by 2025, with the aim of becoming a “world-class military”. With its high defence budgets and continuing modernization efforts, the PLA is certainly on track to becoming a major power in the global arena.
Recent Events on Chinese Army
In recent years, the Chinese Army has made headlines for its operations in several disputed regions around the world. In 2020, Chinese forces clashed with Indian forces along the Line of Actual Control in the Himalayan region, with both sides suffering casualties. This was the first major fighting between the two countries since 1975.
More recently, the Chinese Army conducted military exercises in the South China Sea, in what some interpret as a show of strength and assertiveness over the disputed waters. China has also increased its presence in the East and South China Seas, leading to tensions with some of its neighbours.
The Chinese Army is also involved in many international military exercises and participates in operations to maintain peace and stability in various parts of the world. In 2019, the PLA joined the United Nations’ peacekeeping mission in Mali, in response to the rising violence in the region.
The Chinese Army has also emphasised the need for a greater international cooperation and collaboration between the militaries of different nations. In 2018, the PLA hosted the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation (SCO) military drill, a multilateral event involving troops from eight other countries, including Russia and India.
Chinese Army in the Digital Age
The Chinese Army has also embraced digital age, increasing its presence in cyberspace and utilising modern technology such as artificial intelligence (AI). The PLA has developed new cyber units and created “cyber armies”, which are tasked with defending the nation’s networks and attacking rivals. China has also been investing in other forms of high-tech weaponry, such as the Dongfeng-41 intercontinental ballistic missile, which has been dubbed the world’s most powerful nuclear weapon.
The emergence of AI has also led to rapid changes in the way modern militaries operate. The Chinese Army is no exception, and has developed several new tactics, such as Swarmbots and autonomous units, to make use of the new technology.
AI and robotics are expected to become increasingly vital in future warfare, and the Chinese Army is investing heavily in developing these technologies. This is part of a wider strategy to make the PLA one of the most advanced militaries in the world.
Chinese Army’s Future
The Chinese Army’s modernization and technological advancements have led to speculation about its possible role in the world. The PLA has already shown it can be a major player in regional disputes and in peacekeeping operations, and some analysts believe it could become a global superpower in the future.
However, there are still some doubts about the Chinese Army’s ability to perform in war situations and its effectiveness in a globalised world. There is also the potential for tensions between the Chinese Army and other nations to escalate, as seen in 2020 when the PLA faced off against India in a brief but dramatic armed conflict.
Ultimately, the future of the Chinese Army is uncertain. The nation’s high defence spending and ambitious modernization plans suggest that it could become a major world power in time. But for now, it remains to be seen whether the Chinese Army is strong enough to stand on its own in a world of ever-increasing global tensions.