The Chinese military poses no threat to the United States, asserted Gen. Chen Bingde, Chief of the General Staff of the People’s Liberation Army, during his official visit to the United States last week. “The United States has far more advanced weapons and equipment,” he told reporters during a joint press conference with Adm. Mike Mullen, Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff. Chen said the Chinese people “do not want to use the money [from China’s economic expansion] to buy equipment or advanced weapon systems to challenge the United States.” Instead, China’s military build-up is “mainly targeted” at deterring “separatists forces” on Taiwan, he assured. Among Chen’s other comments: China has only “garrison deployment across Taiwan” and not “operational deployment, much less missiles, stationed there.” Also, China’s test flight of the J-20 stealthy aircraft during Defense Secretary Robert Gates’ visit to Beijing in January was part of “routine” flight testing and was “not targeted at his visit whatsoever.” (Mullen-Chen transcript)
Boeing’s receipt of the 10th lot contract award for the KC-46 Pegasus this week leaves just three lots left to complete the Air Force’s buy of the tanker, although a further buy of 75 additional aircraft as a “bridge” to the Next-Generation Aerial-refueling System (NGAS) seems increasingly likely.