China's modernization of its armed forces is proceeding faster than many analysts expected. This is especially true in terms of air and naval forces - the focus of China's modernization effort. Events in Europe mean that for the US Army, it is still largely Russian capabilities that provide the benchmark threat.
China's progress and technical abilities are remarkable - from ultra-long-range conventional ballistic missiles to fifth generation fighter jets. Last year the first hull of China's latest warship - the Type 55 cruiser (NATO codename Renhai) - was put into the water. Its capabilities would give any NATO navy pause for thought.
China is working on its second aircraft carrier. It is revamping its military command structure to give genuine joint headquarters involving all the key services. In terms of artillery, air defence and land attack it has weapons that out-range anything the US can deploy.
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