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U.S.: China wants to build military bases, warplanes, and quantum communications technologies – China’s latest political and current affairs news


The U.S. Department of Defense released its annual report on Chinese military power on June 5, which you can read in full here. The U.S. estimates that China spent more than $180 billion on its military in 2016, although China reported only $140 billion. Media outlets highlighted three other points in the report:

  • China will build more military bases following its first overseas naval base currently under construction in Djibouti, on the Horn of Africa. CNBC noted that “the report repeatedly cited China’s construction of its first overseas naval base in Djibouti,” and that Pakistan is a likely location for a future Chinese military base due to “a long-standing friendly relationship and similar strategic interests.”
  • China may aim to base warplanes on islands in the South China Sea, the report says. The Financial Times noted (paywall) the part of the report on how “China’s efforts are focused on building infrastructure, including aircraft hangars, on its three largest outposts in the Spratlys — the Fiery Cross, Subi and Mischief Reefs — which will give it the capacity to house ‘up to three regiments of fighters’ when complete.”
  • China made a high-tech military advance with the launch of the world’s “first experimental quantum communications satellite” in 2016, Reuters notes from the report. The satellite was a “notable advance in cryptography research,” the report says, with “enormous prospects” for moving China toward more secure communications.

China dismissed the prospect of a military base in Pakistan as pure “speculation,” and accused the report of representing a “Cold War mentality,” the Wall Street Journal reports (paywall). The Journal also notes the importance of information in the report on China’s so-called “maritime militia,” a “growing civilian fleet staffed by military-trained fishermen that Beijing uses for ‘low-intensity coercion’ in defending its vast maritime claims.”


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Lucas Niewenhuis

Lucas Niewenhuis is an associate editor at SupChina who helps curate daily news and produce the company's newsletter, app, and website content. Previously, Lucas researched China-Africa relations at the Social Science Research Council and interned at the Council on Foreign Relations in New York. He has studied Chinese language and culture in Shanghai and Beijing, and is a graduate of the University of Michigan.