Taiwan holds live-fire exercises following China threats

"China shifted funds and efforts to acquiring technology by any means available", the report read.

The Taiwanese Defense Ministry not only prohibits the use of equipment from Huawei and other Chinese companies but requires military personnel to install a special app that will ostensibly prevent their smartphones from being hacked to reveal sensitive information.

"It will take a while for (the PLA) to be able to work these (military) services together, to be able to work these joint theaters and to be able to deal with a large, complex operation", the official said.

"China continues to develop a variety of counterspace capabilities created to limit or prevent an adversary's use of space-based assets during crisis or conflict", the DIA report states.

Those operations are seen as provocative by China. As it emerges, Beijing will use its growing power to shape the regional environment in the face of interconnected threats while trying to avoid conflict over core interests: sovereignty, development, and unification.

The United States broke ties with Taiwan four decades ago and re-established relations with China. Nevertheless, China must also look to safeguard its worldwide interests as they multiply and incur additional threats.

Observing that China's maritime emphasis and concern with protecting its overseas interests have increasingly drawn the PLA beyond the country's borders and immediate periphery, the report said the evolving focus of the PLA Navy - from "offshore waters defense" to a mix of offshore waters defense and "open-seas protection" - reflects China's desire for a wider operational reach.

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The report released Tuesday by the Defense Intelligence Agency said China saw a almost threefold increase in defense spending from 2002 to 2018. "China and Russian Federation have the largest remote sensing satellite fleets outside the US". The report is DIA's first-ever unclassified, comprehensive assessment of the Chinese military.

"Reportedly, the PLA owns and operates about half of these systems, most of which could support monitoring, tracking, and targeting of USA forces", states the Air Force report.

Beijing believes Taiwan should be part of a unified China.

While Chinese advances in hypersonic weaponry, cyberwarfare and sea power are increasingly challenging longtime US military supremacy, USA analysts say, China's chief security priority may be much closer to home: reclaiming control of Taiwan, which Beijing has long considered a breakaway territory. It has used domestic laws that force foreign partners to share key secrets in exchange as they look to have access to the vast Chinese market.

"The result of this multifaceted approach to technology acquisition is a PLA (People's Liberation Army) on the verge of fielding some of the most modern weapon systems in the world", the report says. "As it continues to grow in strength and confidence, our nation's leaders will face a China insistent on having a greater voice in global interactions, which at times may be antithetical to USA interests", the report said.

"China's leaders hope that possessing these military capabilities will deter pro-independence moves by Taiwan or, should deterrence fail, will permit a range of tailored military options against Taiwan and potential third-party military intervention", the report explained.

"(China) will reach a point where internally within their decision-making they will decide that using military force for a regional conflict is something that is more imminent", the official said on condition of anonymity. "That would be the most concerning to me".

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