The Chinese army recently conducted a major military drill, an event which was widely noted across the world and left many people pondering the potential implications.
Huang Chung-en, a professor at the National Defense University in Taiwan, recently weighed in on the exercise.
He told the BBC that he thought it was more of a show than a warning. He believes that while it may be possible for China to launch a real attack, it would be quite difficult for the country to do so.
“I think this is more for show and for the Chinese people to feel that they are strong,” said Huang. “But when it comes to actually attacking another country, it is quite difficult and I don’t think China really wants to do that.”
When asked about the possibility of China launching a real attack, Huang suggested that the country would be more likely to engage in limited border skirmishes with its neighbors than full-scale invasions.
He also mentioned that China’s recent drill was likely a response to the increased military presence of the US in the South China Sea.
“There is definitely a show of power from China to the United States,” said Huang. “It could be interpreted as a deterrence measure and a warning to Washington.”
Huang believes that if China is confident in its ability to protect its maritime interests, then it could feasibly launch an attack if provoked.
“If the Chinese government truly believes that the United States is attempting to encroach on their territorial boundaries, then I think it is possible [for China] to launch a real attack,” Huang said.
Though Huang is adamant that China is unlikely to launch an attack on foreign soil, he believes that the drill was a show of both strength and restraint.
“If China is displaying a sense of restraint, it serves as a measure of their maturity in world affairs,” he said. “If the Chinese government wants to show that it is a responsible power, then it needs to show that it is willing to exercise restraint and not act rashly.”
Huang believes that China is holding back in order to prove its reliability, reliability which will be necessary for the country to be taken seriously by the international community.
Ultimately, the Chinese military drill was intended to project Chinese strength and power, without provoking the international community. While some might be worried about a possible Chinese attack, Huang’s opinion is that such a prospect is highly unlikely. He suggests that the drill was more of a show than anything else, and that it was likely a response to the increased presence of US forces in the South China Sea. He also believes that the exercise serves as a measure of maturity for China in the international arena and that the country is exhibiting restraint so as to reinforce their reliability.