IISS: China Preparing for ‘Protracted War’

China is learning from Russia’s invasion of Ukraine and starting to prepare for a “protracted” war in the Indo-Pacific region by making legal changes that will help integrate military and civilian mobilization, an analyst at the International Institute for Strategic Studies said on Tuesday.

Recent moves by China to ease any return of reservists and veterans to their former units as well as give the military access to civilian infrastructure and fuel stocks show Beijing’s thinking about how to fight a conflict in the Indo-Pacific, said Meia Nouwens, senior fellow for Chinese security and defense policy at the IISS.

These changes suggest Beijing thinks an Indo-Pacific conflict might not be “a short, quick, swift victory after a surprise attack, but actually acknowledging that potential conflict might be protracted, and a war of attrition,” she told Nikkei Asia at the launch of the IISS Military Balance 2024, an annual report.

Beijing is studying Russia’s moves to cope with the war in Ukraine, she said. Moscow had thought it would conquer Ukraine in days, but fighting continues nearly two years later.

With the Hamas-Israel war in Gaza threatening to become a wider conflict, as well as coups in Niger and Gabon, Azerbaijan retaking the Nagorno-Karabakh region and China’s belligerence over Taiwan and the South China Sea, the London-based think tank warned of an “era of insecurity” in its Military Balance.

The report expects global defense spending this year to surpass the record $2.2 trillion for 2023, itself a 9% increase over the year before.

See full article from asia.nikkei.com.

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