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Fighting An Asymmetrical Chinese War Machine

China's PLA paramilitary soldiers. Photo courtesy of AFP.
by John C.K. Daly
UPI International Correspondent
Washington DC (UPI) Nov 20, 2006
One of Washington's greatest military concerns is Chinese interest in "asymmetrical warfare," utilizing unconventional warfare if involved in a conflict with the US. Xinhua news has reported that the Chinese People's Liberation Army, or PLA, on Nov. 19 ended a military exercise on the Pacific coast of China's eastern Shandong Province which emphasized the PLA's information warfare capabilities.

According to the Chinese news agency more than 8,000 personnel -- including the land force air unit, electronic warfare troop, artillery troop and special troops -- participated in the exercise.

According to Commander Fan Changlong of the Jinan Military Area Command, chief director of "Vanguard-206B," the 12-day exercise was designed to "root out any problems that exist among Chinese troops by exposing them to the most difficult electromagnetic environment. These troops will take on important battle tasks in future so it is essential to examine their techniques."

Another Vanguard-206B director, Zeng Weihua, said, "The application of information technology is the main purpose of this drill. We want the troops participating in the drill to know that defeat in information techniques means defeat in actual combat."

Zeng labeled the "electromagnetic environment" the "fifth dimension of warfare" and an integral element in modern military operations.

Vanguard -206B combat head Chen Wenrong, even as he acknowledged that several air and ground attacks missed their primary targets, said that Vanguard-206B was "the most important and the most successful drill" he had ever attended as a senior military officer, adding, "The primary goal of a war game is to identify the problems."

According to Chinese officers exercise included road attacks, generating false electronic signals and mounting surprise attacks on enemy commanders' headquarters with the aim to complicate potential combat conditions.

Increasingly moving away from its military isolation of the Maoist years, China has recently participated in a number of multilateral military exercises with fellow countries of the Shanghai Cooperation Organization or SCO, a regional security organization established in June 2001. SCO consists of China, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Russia, Tajikistan and Uzbekistan.

The SCO has attracted widespread interest, with Pakistan, India, Belarus, Iran and the U.S. all seeking observer status. In April Iran was invited to join the SCO.

Source: United Press International

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