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Thursday February 29, 2024

China’s military on ‘concerning trajectory’: US general

By AFP
November 10, 2023
Lt. Gen. Charles Flynn speaks at the Pentagon in Washington, D.C., March 26, 2020. — US Department of Defence
Lt. Gen. Charles Flynn speaks at the Pentagon in Washington, D.C., March 26, 2020. — US Department of Defence 

SYDNEY: A top US general has told AFP that China´s military is on a “concerning trajectory”, twinning rapidly improving capabilities with “more aggressive” behaviour in the Pacific.

General Charles Flynn, who commands more than 107,000 Pacific-based US Army personnel, said Chinese forces have made an “enormous amount of progress” in recent years.

“The trajectory that they have been following for the last decade, if I multiply that into the next decade, that is a concerning trajectory,” the four-star general told AFP in a video interview from Hawaii on Wednesday.

Under Xi Jinping´s decade-long rule, China´s People´s Liberation Army (PLA) has morphed from an ill-equipped and ineffective force into one of the world´s fastest-growing and most potent.

Beijing also has the world´s largest navy and a growing nuclear and ballistic arsenal, fuelled by a defence budget that is second only to that of the United States. In March, China announced a 7.2 percent hike in military spending, building on a 7.1 percent increase the previous year.

At the time, outgoing premier Li Keqiang said “external attempts to suppress and contain China are escalating”. Flynn said China was forging a “formidable military instrument” at “a dangerous state of progress”.