Chinese military texts have existed ever since Chinese civilization was founded. China's armies have long benefited from this rich strategic tradition, influenced by texts such as Sun Tzu's The Art of War, that have deeply influenced military thought. Although traditional Chinese Confucian philosophy favoured peaceful political solutions and showed contempt for brute military force, the military was influential in most Chinese states. The works of well known strategists such as Sun Tzu and Sun Bin have heavily influenced military philosophy, warfare, and political discourse throughout China's long history. Works such as The Art of War have also found a strong following around the world, where they have influenced people as far ranging as the Chinese Communist Party and the former Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld.
DR. ELY RATNER, ASSISTANT SECRETARY OF DEFENSE FOR INDO-PACIFIC SECURITY AFFAIRS: OK, great. Well, thanks, Mackenzie and Zack. It's great to be here at AEI. This institution has been a leader on defense policy, Asia policy, huge amounts of China expertise, two of them here today but many, many others. So, really, really glad to be here. This is an important institution for US policy and strategy. So, the China Military Power Report for those who aren't as familiar, as mandated by Congress, it's more than 20 years old, and it's an important document. As someone who has been in and out of government, this is in my view and not just saying this as a DOD representative here today, it is the most authoritative, unclassified articulation of PRC capability and strategy. And it was a good idea for Congress to do this, and we continue supporting it. It allows these kind of conversations that we're having today. It allows the American public, members of Congress to understand better the China challenge, and it facilitates the conversations we want to be having with our allies and partners about why we need to be working together in the face of this. So, I think that's really what the report is. In terms of the content and what's new this year, you know, the administration has been saying since the very beginning of the Biden administration, we released a document called the Interim National Security Strategic Guidance. It was, sort of, an early national security strategy in which China was articulated as the only country with both the capability and the will to challenge the international order reform, revise the international order to comport with its authoritarian preferences in ways that are very much undermine core US interests and values. And this report demonstrates the ways that is happening through the military instrument that we see China developing not only the capability but actually starting to use the military instrument in a way that we haven't seen previously in a more assertive and coercive way in a way that often runs counter to US interest. And frankly this is why Secretary Austin and the department have articulated the PRC as the department's pacing challenge, and we can talk a little bit more about that if you're interested. But the report documents this growing assertiveness, this growing coercion as it relates to the East China Sea, as it relates to the South China Sea, on the line of actual control against India and of course against Taiwan. And we're also seeing it through the PLA's operational behavior through their increasingly aggressive, assertive, unsafe air intercepts, which is something we also ought to discuss in a little bit more details today. It's something important that the department has been communicating both publicly and privately. So, in the region we are seeing this more assertive and capable PLA, but we're also seeing a more global PLA, one that is pursuing installations around the world, very ambitious aspirations to be projecting power, sustaining power overseas. So, it's both the regional piece and the global piece that's highlighted in the report. But let me turn over to Mike here for some additional insights.
DR. CHASE: Sure. I mean, it's increasingly clear that the PRC has global ambitions for the PLA. I mean, this was something that, you know, earlier in my career in think tank and Naval War College days, we used to have a lot of debates about whether their military ambitions were basically confined to the Indo-Pacific region or if they were global. And I think we've seen that, you know, it's become increasingly clear that they're global. And, you know, it's been developing for a long time. It was maybe 15 years ago or longer I think we saw PRC leadership reach the conclusion that they had global economic and security interests and that they needed to develop global military power to advance those interests. And so we've seen the development of some of the capabilities like their aircraft carriers, their large transport aircraft, the cruisers that they've developed for the PLA Navy that are obviously intended to expand the reach of their military power. And then beginning with the establishment of their first overseas base in Djibouti, you know, we now see the pursuit of a global network of logistics and support facilities and bases to help them build that out and become a global military power. And so they have interest, as we document in the report, and locations in the Indo-Pacific region but also beyond to include Africa and the Middle East. And so we're now in a relatively early stage of their development of that set of global capabilities, but they appear to be very determined to pursue it and putting the resources behind it. And we see them pursuing basing or other forms of overseas facilities in a number of different countries as we outlined in the report.
DR. RATNER: Yeah, and I think it'll be important. You know, in the months ahead, we've seen, in the wake of the party Congress, clearly, Xi Jinping reentering the international stage after a long COVID period of not traveling at least in Saudi Arabia or at least just was. He's been doing a number of international engagements, saying a lot of pleasantries about China's approach to the region, to the world. I think the problem is we continue to see a say-do gap between talking about stability and whatnot and then the military behavior. And we think it's important that we focus on not only what the PRC is saying but also what it's doing.
While it remains among the poorest countries in the world, North Korea spends nearly a quarter of its gross domestic product (GDP) on its military, according to U.S. State Department estimates. Its brinkmanship will continue to test regional and international partnerships aimed at preserving stability and security. Negotiations on denuclearization have remained stalled since February 2019.
At the same time, several pacts with Western nations only made Japan appear more of a threat to the United States. First, Japan signed the Tripartite Pact with Germany and Italy on September 27, 1940 and thereby linked the conflicts in Europe and Asia. This made China a potential ally in the global fight against fascism. Then in mid-1941, Japan signed a Neutrality Pact with the Soviet Union, making it clear that Japan's military would be moving into Southeast Asia, where the United States had greater interests. A third agreement with Vichy France enabled Japanese forces to move into Indochina and begin their Southern Advance. The United States responded to this growing threat by temporarily halting negotiations with Japanese diplomats, instituting a full embargo on exports to Japan, freezing Japanese assets in U.S. banks, and sending supplies into China along the Burma Road.
Economic Background While the United States was still struggling to emerge from the Great Depression at the end of the 1930s, and would do so partly because of the war, Japan had emerged from its own period of depression, which had begun in 1926, by the mid-1930s. Many of the young soldiers mobilized into the Japanese army by the early 1930s came from the rural areas, where the effects of the depression were devastating and poverty was widespread. Their commitment to the military effort to expand Japanese territory to achieve economic security can be understood partly in these terms. The depression ended in the mid-1930s in Japan partly because of government deficits used to expand greatly both heavy industry and the military. Internationally, this was a time when \"free trade\" was in disrepute. The great powers not only jealously protected their special economic rights within their colonies and spheres of influence, but sought to bolster their sagging economies through high tariffs, dumping of goods, and other trade manipulation. The Japanese, with few natural resources, sought to copy this pattern. They used cutthroat trade practices to sell textiles and other light industrial goods in the East Asian and U.S. markets, severely undercutting British and European manufacturers. They also developed sources of raw materials and heavy industry in the colonies they established in Korea, Taiwan and Manchuria. Japan used high tariffs to limit imports of American and European industrial products.
Meanwhile in 1937, the intensification of Chinese resistance to the pressure of the Japanese military drew Japan into a draining war in the vast reaches of China proper, and in 1940 into operations in French Indochina, far to the south. Thus, when the navy pressed for a \"southern\" strategy of attacking Dutch Indonesia to get its oil and British Malaya to control its rubber, the army agreed.
The political structure of Japan at this time was inherited from the Meiji era and was increasingly dominated by the military. During the Meiji period, the government was controlled by a small ruling group of elder statesmen who had overthrown the shogun and established the new centralized Japanese state. These men used their position to coordinate the bureaucracy, the military, the parliament, the Imperial Household, and other branches of government. Following their deaths in the early 1920s, no single governmental institution was able to establish full control, until the 1931 Manchurian Incident, when Japan took control of Manchuria. This began a process in which the military behaved autonomously on the Asian mainland and with increasing authority in politics at home. 59ce067264