Modernization of the People's Liberation Army: A Threat to the United States?   [open pdf - 4MB]

From the thesis abstract: "This study investigates whether or not a modernized People's Liberation Army (PLA) presents a threat to the United States. The U.S. has been deeply engaged in the East Asia-Pacific region since the end of the Second World War. China, with the world's largest population and a landmass larger than the United States, is located in the heart of the fastest growing economic region in the world. Due in large part to a period of sustained economic growth averaging over nine percent since 1980, the PRC [People's Republic of China] has embarked upon a program of military modernization that will significantly increase its force projection capabilities. The study includes a brief review of relevant Chinese history, current events, diplomacy, economics, and the PLA military modernization program. It includes three case studies in which to examine U.S. and Chinese interests: Taiwan, the Spratly Islands, and Korea. The methodology used to determine if China's military modernization poses a threat to the United States includes an examination of Chinese and U.S. interests in the three case studies. Conflicting interests, coupled with capability, would indicate that China poses a threat. Conversely, complementary interests would argue that even with the increased capability, China does not pose a threat."

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