Overview of China’s Growing Military Presence Around the World
The Chinese military is increasingly expanding its reach and capabilities worldwide. With significant advances in missile technology, naval forces, and intelligence, China has successfully positioned itself to become a formidable world power by mid-century, as President Xi Jinping promised. Moreover, while the United States military continues to struggle with an expensive and inefficient military-industrial complex, China has adopted a more utilitarian approach to arms purchases, resulting in cheaper and more effective weapons systems that may potentially rival the US of A.
China’s growing international presence can be seen in the various foreign bases it has built or planned. The People’s Liberation Army Navy (PLAN) has expanded its sphere of influence into both the Indian Ocean and Pacific Ocean regions. China recently established a naval base at Djibouti on the Horn of Africa, an essential port for military operations and resupply missions. It has also built a number of bases in Pakistan near the Indian border, which some speculate could be used for surveillance purposes and to project power into South Asia.
In addition to these strategic outposts, China has increased its presence abroad through bilateral relations with other countries, providing defense equipment for their militaries, such as warships, submarines, and fighter jets. This relationship between Beijing and recipient states often comes with additional benefits, such as debt relief or economic investments, which allow China to strengthen its geopolitical influence in those regions. Furthermore, Beijing is working towards making these weapons exports less reliant on foreign governments by investing heavily in domestic arms manufacturers capable of exporting weaponry without needing state assistance.
Despite not being traditionally associated with cyber warfare, China has developed a noteworthy cyber warfare capability that allows it to threaten adversaries around the globe without having to deploy physical forces. Cyber attacks launched from Chinese soil have been responsible for major disruptions in cyberspace, such as widespread data theft or crippling computer viruses that paralyze government websites or critical infrastructure components like electricity grids or transportation networks.