China is expanding the populations it targets for the draft, even as a leaked U.S. military assessment says its current Air Force can achieve superiority over Taiwan.
China said that if war comes, veterans and college-educated individuals will be a priority to be called into the military, Fox News reported.
Although no specific goal was announced, in the past, U.S. officials have said they believe war could break out by 2027.
Heino Klinck, former deputy assistant secretary of defense for east Asia and military attaché to China, told Fox News that the step is designed to offset the 2 million-strong People’s Liberation Army’s traditional reliance on rural recruits.
“The PLA has historically been a military based on conscripts from the countryside. I think Chinese President Xi Jinping is trying to further bolster his communist bona fide by ensuring that all segments of Chinese society are a part of the national military buildup,” he said.
But if the concept makes sense, the timing left Klinck concerned that China is “recklessly making policy announcements with a total disregard to how the international community will interpret them.”
“I don’t know what’s worse: That they are tone-deaf, or are they intentionally messaging,” he said, calling the conscription announcement “arrogant.”
“The Chinese are usually pretty good when it comes to messaging and consistency. I think that this is once again an indication that we should not anticipate the Chinese Communist Party softening its stance on Taiwan, softening its stance on the South China Sea or any other contentious geopolitical issue of concern,” he said.
The new rules are intended to “provide institutional guarantees for consolidating national defense and building strong armed forces,” according to the Chinese announcement.
China said its goals are “recruiting more high-caliber soldiers, standardizing and optimizing conscription procedures, and improving the system’s efficiency.”
Meanwhile, The Washington Post, citing leaked Pentagon documents, said a U.S. assessment says that Taiwan’s officials do not think they can detect all of China’s missile launches and that only a little over half of Taiwan’s aircraft are ready to fight.
China claims Taiwan, a self-governing nation, is rightfully its territory.
The Post said the recent Chinese activities have also made it more difficult for the U.S. to learn when China decides to attack.
The report noted that Taiwan’s missile defense system “would be strained under high-volume PLA fires” and that in Taiwan, training is not performed on moving targets.
“The theater’s troops are ready to fight at all times and can fight at any time to resolutely smash any form of ‘Taiwan independence’ and foreign interference attempts,” a statement from the Chinese military said.
During the exercises, China positioned its Shandong aircraft carrier in the Pacific Ocean, Han Gan-ming, a research fellow at the government-backed Institute for National Defense and Security Research, said.
“In the future, if there’s a similar military maneuver, then Taiwan will have to face it alone,” Han said, indicating the carrier could block foreign help from reaching Taiwan.
This article appeared originally on The Western Journal.