TAIPEI (Taiwan News) — A retired People’s Liberation Army (PLA) general has recently said that even though China’s military has made great strides in recent times, it still has a long way to go to catch up with the U.S. and Russia, according to a Liberty Times report on Thursday (Feb. 18).
Chinese media outlet Xia Bing Xie Jiang (蝦兵械將), which is dedicated to reporting on global military affairs and armaments, quoted hawkish retired PLA Major General Luo Yuan (羅援) as saying that it took China decades to develop to its current status, but at the same time, the U.S. and Russia have also been making headway.
Both the U.S. and Russia have the advantage of having started their military development early, which has made them very experienced, a trait that China lacks, Luo said. The general used the example of aircraft carriers to make his point, saying that while the aircraft carriers of the U.S. and Russia were sailing the seas, China did not even have a plan to build one.
In terms of nuclear weapons, he said the number of nuclear warheads China has in store is much lower than those of the U.S. or Russia. With regard to naval power, the U.S. has 11 aircraft carriers, while China has only two, Luo said, adding that China also has fewer nuclear submarines than Russia.
As for airpower, China has few advanced warplanes and has not yet developed certain types of essential aircraft, the former general said. The only area where China may be compared with the other two countries is in terms of army manpower, he added.
However, some international relations specialists do not hold the same views as the Chinese military expert. Former U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations Nikki Haley said on Twitter on Dec 12, 2020, “The need for the world’s biggest & best navy is clear: China already has a bigger navy than the US. While it’s not nearly as advanced, Beijing is investing heavily. America can & must stay ahead of our adversaries when it comes to military strength because that’s the key to peace.”