China is mounting a serious effort to challenge U.S. military superiority in air and space, forcing the Pentagon to seek new technologies and systems to stay ahead of its rapidly developing rival.
The Pentagon’s chief operating officer, speaking to a group of military and civilian aerospace experts, said China was “quickly closing the technological gaps,” developing radar-evading aircraft, advanced reconnaissance planes, sophisticated missiles and top-notch electronic warfare equipment.
While hoping for a constructive relationship with China, the Pentagon “cannot overlook the competitive aspects of our relationship, especially in the realm of military capabilities, an area in which China continues to improve at a very impressive rate,” he said.
China’s state-run news agency Xinhua late on Monday cited Xu Qiliang, a vice chairman of the powerful Central Military Commission, as saying China must innovate even more.
“Our military’s equipment construction is shifting from catch-up research to independent innovations,” Xu said.
Work made his remarks to the inaugural conference of the China Aerospace Studies Initiative, a partnership of the U.S. Air Force and the RAND Corporation think tank. The initiative aims to boost U.S. research on China’s aerospace ambitions.