China, Russia, and South Africa will hold joint military exercises next month, drawing the attention of the United States. On Thursday (January 26), the U.S.-China Economic and Security Review Commission (USCC) under the U.S. Congress held a special hearing on China’s military diplomacy and overseas security activities. Take Taiwan by force.
China-Russia military and defense relations attract the attention
“As the United States and its allies grapple with the strategic competition with China, we must understand the drivers of China’s foreign military activities and their impact on the international security order,” said USCC co-chair Carolyn Bartholomew in her opening remarks. In Russian President, China’s military relationship with Russia deserves special attention following Putin’s war in Ukraine and its ramifications.”
The hearing lasted 5 hours and was conducted around three themes: China’s military diplomacy concept and strategy, how China can improve its capabilities and acquire more overseas bases through military diplomacy, and China’s arms sales and acquisition of military technology. Given that in all military diplomacy, China’s real combat exercises are mainly with Russia and Pakistan, Sino-Russian military relations became the focus of committee members’ attention.
Topics that USCC commissioners focused on included: What exactly can China learn from its military exercises with Russia? Do the China-Russia drills have a project against Taiwan? What is the nature of the relationship between China and Russia? Can the United States drive a wedge between China and Russia and is there a conflict of interest between China and Russia in Central Asia?
Are China and Russia Conducting Military Exercises Against Taiwan?
USCC member and former U.S. Department of Defense Assistant Secretary for Indo-Pacific Affairs Randall Schriver (Randall Schriver) mentioned whether the Sino-Russian military exercises have projects targeting Taiwan or will help China seize Taiwan by force in the future.
Richard Weitz (Richard Weitz), a senior research fellow and director of the Center for Political and Military Analysis at the Hudson Institute, an American think tank, said at the hearing that some naval blockade and amphibious landing training conducted by China and Russia in military exercises in recent years Should be useful for China to seize Taiwan in the future.
“They practiced amphibious operations, and they said some of the recent exercises on islands off the coast of China and Russia were amphibious operations. That sent a clear message to Japan. From the Russian side, they were less likely to try to deal with a Taiwan contingency. the situation, they (mainly) want Japan to think that they cannot try to claim the islands controlled by the Russians. “In 2015, the Chinese and Russian forces sent 400 marines to the Russian Pacific coast area about 300 miles from Japan’s main island for the first joint amphibious military exercise.
Unlike many analyses, Weitz believes that although the Russian military suffered heavy losses in the Ukraine war, China can still acquire the combat skills it needs from its exercises with Russia. Russia, he said, had previously been successful in operations in Georgia, the 2014 annexation of Ukraine’s Crimea and Syria, and it was clear they had technology that the Chinese military did not have.
“Anti-submarine warfare is something that the Russians have been doing for decades since the Soviet era, but as far as I know, the Chinese don’t have such technology, or are technologically backward. They’re still buying Russian equipment and conducting exercises. “The Russians can still teach the Chinese about joint military operations such as joint air-ground operations, setting up joint information systems, and joint command and control structures, Weitz said.
In the upcoming military exercises between China and Russia and South Africa, Russia will send a ship equipped with a new generation of hypersonic cruise missiles to participate in military exercises. Weitz believes that given Russia’s performance in the Ukraine war, China may re-evaluate the value of conducting exercises with Russia, but China’s enthusiasm for conducting military exercises with Russia has not diminished.
China’s military exercises with U.S. allies and partners
In addition to military ties with Russia, the hearing also touched on China’s military diplomacy with other countries, especially military exercises with US allies and partners in the Asia-Pacific region. Jeffrey Becker, director of the Asia-Pacific Security Program at the Center for Naval Analysis, also suggested that China’s expansion of military installations overseas poses particular challenges to the U.S. military. However, Melodie Ha, a management analyst at the U.S. Department of Defense, believes that China’s military diplomacy is largely aimed at showing friendly relations with its allies, especially Southeast Asian countries, which will use their contacts with the Chinese military to balance their relations with the United States.
Security cooperation. China’s military exercises with its allies place more emphasis on cooperation and political signaling than on enhancing interactivity and building coordinated combat capabilities, she said. She also mentioned that because US allies and partners are cautious about fighting China and supporting drills for fighting, China’s military exercises with these countries are carried out within a limited range.