From the perspective of Ukraine, a high-ranking Chinese general makes the case for unconventional warfare capabilities

Drawing lessons from the Ukraine crisis, a senior Chinese general has called for greater integration of new capabilities, including artificial intelligence, into conventional warfare tactics before any confrontation with the West.

The Ukrainian conflict has given rise to a new kind of hybrid warfare, where “political warfare, financial warfare, technological warfare, cyber warfare and cognitive warfare are intertwined”, wrote General Wang Haijiang, commander of the Western theater of the People’s Liberation Army (PLA), in an article published on the front page of an official newspaper on Monday.

In the name of national security and to fend off perceived threats from the West, China’s efforts to prepare the country for security challenges have not let up despite the slowing economy and COVID-19. Defense spending is expected to rise for the eighth consecutive year in 2023.

The scale and scope of Chinese military preparations are being watched closely not only by the West, but also by China’s neighbors and by Taiwan, which is democratically governed and which China claims as its own.

“At present and in the future, local conflicts and unrest are frequent, global problems are escalating, and the world has entered a new period of unrest and change,” Wang wrote in Study Times.

“Various ‘black swan’ and ‘gray rhinoceros’ type events may occur in due time, especially with the containment, encirclement, decoupling, suppression and military threats of certain Western nations,” he said. he continued.

Despite hundreds of billions of dollars spent on defense spending, China’s armed forces don’t have much recent hot war experience, with their last – and brief – military conflict dating back to 1979 with Vietnam.

Winning ability is necessary to clinch national security, Wang wrote.

The PLA’s combat ability in a hypothetical war has become a hot topic in recent months as China deploys its military might in Taiwan, placing itself in potential conflict with the United States.

Washington has adopted a policy of “strategic ambiguity” regarding possible military intervention to defend Taiwan, but is required by law to provide the island with the means to defend itself.

China will seek new military advantages by enhancing its capabilities in areas including artificial intelligence, information networking, aviation and space, Wang said.

In a rare separate review published in January on lessons learned from the war in Ukraine, the PLA Daily noted Russia’s military weaknesses, including the need to improve its “situational awareness” on the battlefield.

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