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Generals without experience: Bloomberg names main problems of Chinese army

Generals without experience: Bloomberg names main problems of  Chinese army China has a number of problems with its army (Photo: chinamil com cn)

China regularly asserts its intention for the "reunification" with Taiwan and hints at its readiness to use force. However, the Chinese army faces several problems, Bloomberg reported.

The publication analyzed the readiness of the People's Liberation Army of China (PLA) for a hypothetical invasion of Taiwan in 2027.

Chinese leader Xi Jinping has been working diligently to strengthen the military. According to Pentagon estimates, China has over 2.1 million active-duty military personnel, making it the world's largest army.

Beijing has also amassed over 400 ships and 3,100 aircraft, making it the world's largest military fleet and the third-largest aviation force. China's nuclear arsenal exceeded 400 warheads in 2021, and by 2035, the country aims to accumulate 1,500 warheads.

Despite this, Xi Jinping's infrequent public comments suggest he is concerned about his army's readiness. One of the problems is corruption and the lack of any combat experience. In particular, the Chinese leader ordered the military to change the army's structure, increasing the number of missile, space, and cyber units. Xi Jinping emphasized that the army must prepare to "fight and win."

Lessons from Ukraine and the "peace disease"

Bloomberg emphasizes that China closely monitors events in Ukraine. Chinese analysts highlight Russia's problems with coordination and integrated air-ground operations in the war. According to the publication, Xi Jinping realized that "complicated military operations are harder than they look."

Despite regularly conducting military exercises and involving civilian assets, the lack of combat experience remains the most significant problem. The People's Liberation Army of China has not participated in significant combat actions since 1979, after the war against Vietnam. Therefore, China practically lacks generals with any combat experience.

Xi Jinping and his generals refer to this lack of experience as the "peace disease" of China.

"China has not had war experience — they need to be tested" before undertaking anything like a full-scale invasion of Taiwan," said Li Xiaobing, director of the Institute for Western Pacific Studies at the University of Central Oklahoma, who previously served in the PLA.

Not a conventional army at all

Bloomberg writes that it is challenging to call Chinese forces a traditional army. Technically, the People's Liberation Army of China is the armed wing of the Communist Party.

This means that the Chinese army is subordinate to the political leadership and cannot make quick decisions. This is especially crucial in combat conditions.

Experts believe that an obsession with control instead of command makes China's army inflexible.

China-Taiwan conflict

Recall that China views Taiwan as a separatist province that will eventually come under its control again. However, Taiwan considers itself an independent country with a separate economy and democratically elected leaders.

The United States, in turn, assists in Taiwan, intensifying the conflict between Washington and Beijing.

During a meeting with U.S. President Joe Biden, Chinese leader Xi Jinping assured him that Beijing would not attack Taiwan in the coming years. However, he emphasized that he hopes for China's "peaceful reunification" with the island.