August 15, 2010 / 2:59 AM / 7 years ago

China paper warns military thinking outmoded

BEIJING (Reuters) - China’s military thinking is outmoded and should learn from others, especially the United States, when it comes to modernizing its vast armed forces, a leading armed forces newspaper said on Sunday.

<p>Visitors look at a Dongfeng-2 missile at the Chinese Military Museum in Beijing, August 13, 2010. REUTERS/Jason Lee</p>

A commentary in the Liberation Army Daily said modernizing China’s military was central to reforms which have seen heavy investment in high-tech weapons like advanced fighter jets.

China has been slimming down its military, the world’s largest by number, for the past few years, trying to build a more effective force to face U.S.-supplied Taiwan and Japan, as well as the United States itself.

But this needs creativity and more open thinking, the newspaper said, which could be a problem.

“As there is a rather large influence of conservative thinking in traditional Chinese culture, the task of renewing the culture and thinking of our military will be extremely arduous,” it wrote.

China had to “audaciously learn from the experience of the information cultures of foreign militaries,” it said.

“History and reality have shown again and again that a country which does not have a world view is a backward one. A military which lacks global vision is one without hope.”

The United States was a good example to follow in two regards, it added.

The U.S. military buys technology already available on the open market when it can, such as global positioning systems used in the Gulf War, a cheaper and more practical method than trying to develop such equipment itself, the commentary said.

And the United States pays a lot of attention to training, “enlisting large numbers of able men and boldly using them.”

The Chinese military looked on with horror during the first Gulf War in 1990-1991, when U.S. guided missiles and precision bombs easily took out Iraqi equipment such as tanks, much of it similar to what China was using at the time.

Since then the People’s Liberation Army has come on in leaps and bounds, though analysts say poor training and coordination among different branches of the military remain serious challenges.

During last year’s national day parade, China showed off its Dongfeng 21C missile, which could force U.S. aircraft carriers to keep a greater distance if it is successfully developed into an anti-ship ballistic missile.

That would make it harder for the United States to come to Taiwan’s aid in the event of a conflict. China claims the self-ruled, democratic island as its own.

Reporting by Ben Blanchard, editing by Jonathan Thatcher

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