China’s PLA is about 20 years behind the US military, Defense minister general Liang Guanglie told the Shangri-la Dialogue last Monday, writes Wendell Minnick in Defense News. It was the first time ever a high-ranking delegation of the People’s Liberation Army joined the annual conference.
One the gap between China and the US military General Liang said:
“I would call the gap big,” he said. Liang acknowledged that China’s military modernization has improved, but the “main battle equipment of our services … is mainly second-generation weapons.” China does not have a large arsenal of third-generation weapons, systems or platforms. “For example, the army is still being motorized, not mechanized,” he said.
Wendell Minnick on the PLA’s presence at the conference:
After years of ignoring the Shangri-La Dialogue, China sent an unprecedented senior-level delegation. The annual conference is sponsored by the London-based International Institute of Strategic Studies (IISS), officially known as the IISS Asia Security Summit, and includes the attendance of defense ministers from across the globe, including U.S. Defense Secretary Robert Gates.
Liang said military-to-military relations with the U.S. were improving. The U.S. just concluded meetings in May with senior Chinese defense officials in Washington for the Security and Economic Dialogue, and the Pentagon hosted a separate visit by Gen. Chen Bingde, chief of the General Staff, People’s Liberation Army (PLA).
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