Official publications of the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) announced its intentions to generate a strategic change in its military defense system, moving from “passive adaptation to actively designing how a war is waged,” with a more proactive role in seeking to shape military events. The statements increase tension with the United States and neighboring countries it had been maintaining a weak equilibrium in the Indo-Pacific zone.

Based on a series of official announcements, detailed by the South China Morning Post (SCMP), the CCP is expected to become more proactive in seeking to shape military events as its technologies advance. 

The CCP’s intentions of territorial advancement in the South China Sea have caused great tension and the military deployment of neighboring countries and the United States in the area to guarantee free movement. However, during the last few months a kind of balance has been achieved between the threatening forces, allowing a military coexistence, tense at times, but generally peaceful. 

However, a change in the military policies of the CCP could push its neighbors in the Indo-Pacific and the United States to try to counteract its movements and possibly prepare for a “pre-war period,” said specialists in the field.

CCP official publications this month present intentions for change through a five-year military development plan that extends to 2025.

Xu Qiliang, vice chairman of the CCP’s Central Military Commission, wrote that the CCP needed to “broaden its strategic approaches to catch up, surpass and accelerate the transition from passively adapting to war to actively designing how a war is fought.”

Qiliang also said that Chinese Communist Party needed to develop the driving force for reform that would allow it to build an innovative People’s Liberation Army. The CCP has set a goal of 2027 for the PLA to become a much more modern military force, according to a statement issued after a high-level meeting in late October.

Song Zhongping, a former instructor of the PLA’s Second Artillery Corps, also spoke, the SCMP reported, about the importance of “designing” war rather than focusing on defense.

Following this line, Zhongping said, “In past years, (China) has been passive, only responding to the plans of other nations, and the weapons they have.” He continued, “If we can get the upper hand in terms of how a war is fought and develop our strategy, then other nations will follow.”

According to a U.S. Congressional Research Service report, the days when the PLA was far behind the United States in technology and military power are over. According to the report, the CCP’s military is now the U.S.’s strongest rival in cutting-edge military technologies such as artificial intelligence and quantum computing.

Malcolm Davis, a senior analyst in defense strategy and capability at the Australian Institute for Strategic Policy, alarmed the international community by saying that other countries in the region, such as the United States, could be expected to react to the CCP’s advances.

“If China pursues this, (we can) expect China’s neighbors in the Indo-Pacific region and the United States to seek to counterbalance CCP moves and ensure that not only is the CCP’s first strike advantage neutralized or minimized, but potentially reversed,” Davis said, adding that they could also be forced to prepare for a “pre-war period.”

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