Asia Security Initiative Nonresident Senior Fellow Roger Cliff writes for The National Interest on the strengths and weaknesses of the People’s Liberation Army:

Chinese president Xi Jinping will arrive in Washington on Thursday for his first official visit as president of the People’s Republic of China. On Friday he will be accorded full state honors including a 21-gun salute on the White House lawn and a formal banquet at the White House. This will not be because China is an American ally or because the United States respects and accepts China’s repressive political system, but because China is a world power.

Military power is still the sine qua non for stature in the international system and, according to the Stockholm Peace Research Institute, China’s defense spending is now the second-highest in the world after the United States. Based on SIPRI estimates, in 2014 China spent more on defense than Russia, Britain, and France combined. As the massive military parade in Beijing on September 3 demonstrated, China’s military, the People’s Liberation Army, has been modernizing rapidly over the past two decades. What was once a peasant army is now equipped with tanks, airplanes, and missiles that are in many cases comparable to those of the world’s most advanced military powers.

Read the full article here.

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