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PLA Missions Beyond Taiwan

Authored by Marc Miller.

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Brief Synopsis

The interplay between China’s armed forces and its complex foreign policy and international security environment was examined in order to understand the requirements of several newly emerging PLA missions, and to consider how these specific interactions affect policy towards Taiwan and the wider Asia-Pacific region. Three conclusions were reached: (1) The PLA is being assigned and training for an increasing variety of missions, including nontraditional battlefields such as outer space and cyber space, as well as nontraditional functions, such as UN peacekeeping operations; (2) These new PLA missions have created a large gap and resulted in tension vis-à-vis PLA capabilities and traditional missions such as internal security, as well as major questions about operational and doctrinal integration; and (3) China’s neighbors are watching the modernization of the PLA and the expansion and redefinition of its missions very closely, especially those affecting Chinese border regions.

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