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Chinese military worried about US Starlink satellites, Javelin missiles

Soldiers of the Chinese People's Liberation Army (DoD photo by Mass Communication Specialist 1st Class Chad J. McNeeley/Released)
March 17, 2023

Starlink satellites and Javelin missiles are primary areas of concern for China’s defense forces, which are trying to close the capability gaps posed by those technologies.

That’s according to a review of nearly 100 articles in Chinese-language defense journals produced by researchers at universities linked to the People’s Liberation Army, which are studying U.S. military capabilities deployed in the Ukraine war, Reuters reported.

The Chinese Communist Party’s Central Military Commission is studying the war in Ukraine as an opportunity to devise stronger defenses, Reuters reported. Their findings, according to the articles, state that Starlink satellites and Javelin missiles are challenges that demand further research.

According to Reuters, researchers at the Army Engineering University of the PLA wrote the following in a September article, emphasizing the need to be able to disable the satellites: “The excellent performance of the ‘Starlink’ satellites in this Russian-Ukrainian conflict will certainly prompt the U.S. and Western countries to use ‘Starlink’ extensively in possible hostilities in Asia.”

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While China’s military is by far the largest in the world, overall, the PLA still lags in combat capability compared to the U.S., according to the South China Morning Post. The PLA is not equipped with the same advanced weapons in the same quantity. 

Advancements in nuclear development and equipment from missiles to war boats have been made, with China launching the Fujian, an aircraft carrier and the most advanced warship built in China in June 2022. 

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The PLA is also relatively untried, with the last actual combat experienced being China’s invasion of  Vietnam in 1979. Only lasting from Feb. 17 to March 16, the short war left thousands dead. 

These concerns are all calling into question Xi’s reported goal of having the PLA ready to invade Taiwan by 2027. China has long expressed a desire for reunification with Taiwan, a notion that many Taiwanese government officials have rejected.