The United States has underestimated the growth of China’s military as policymakers have taken public statements at face value or failed to understand Beijing’s thinking, a study said April 5.
The report prepared for the U.S.-China Economic and Security Review Commission said the U.S. had a mixed record on predicting the rising power’s new weaponry, including largely missing the emergence of more advanced submarines.
As for the speed of military modernization, the study found “identifiable cases of miscalculation” with China developing anti-ship ballistic missiles and stealth fighter jets earlier than the U.S. expected.
U.S. analysis could have improved if more experts read Chinese or even looked at open publications such as academic technical journals, it said.
“U.S. observers should not take at face value statements from the Chinese government on military policy, as they could either be deceptive, or simply issued by agencies” such as the foreign ministry “that have no real say over military matters,” it said.