The China Hedge

John Lee

China’s just released National Defense White Paper criticizes America for reinforcing anti-Chinese alliances in the region, expanding its military presence, and continuing to sell arms to Taiwan—all while reaffirming that PLA budget increases are for purely defensive purposes. White Papers are meant to offer improved information about strategic and military postures. But like previous white papers, it does little to explain China’s still poor record of military-to-military exchanges or its refusal to enhance transparency despite the document’s claims to do so. Beijing’s mantra of ‘building mutual respect and trust’ remains hollow. Unfortunately, this is unlikely to change since ambiguity is at the heart of China’s military grand strategy.

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