The Defense Department recently claimed that China has been pursuing its military modernization objectives by acquiring foreign technology and intellectual property through legal as well as illicit means.
The DoD stated in a recent report to Congress that, to modernize its armed forces, China has been augmenting local efforts with the procurement of foreign technology, typically through technology importation, foreign direct investment and partnerships with research centers, among others.
The department noted, however, that China has also been engaging in clandestine activities, including cyber espionage and mobilizing national intelligence resources, to tap “individuals with relevant placement and access” and use them as agents to obtain heavily regulated or export-restricted material.
Military modernization is a crucial component of China’s long-term developmental goals, especially in terms of protecting national interests beyond the country’s borders.
By 2020, the Chinese military seeks to achieve a “great rise” in strategic capability as well as an increased ability to leverage information technology during conflict, and by 2035, it aims to reach “basic modernization,” the DoD reported.
Finally, by 2049, the Chinese military expects to become “world-class,” which, the Defense Department said, may be interpreted as achieving “peer capability” with the U.S.