Another new report has confirmed the gigantic military buildup in China and the threat that it poses, drawing concern from members of Congress.

Following reports from the Defense Intelligence Agency and the U.S.-China Economic and Security Review Commission, the new report comes from the Pentagon. (Please see Space & Missile Defense Report, Monday, March 3, 2008.)

It was prepared by the office of the secretary of defense, an annual report to Congress titled “Military Power of the People’s Republic of China” that can be viewed in entirety by going to on the Web and clicking on Press Advisories.

The report also points to rising threats from Iran and North Korea, both in missiles and weapons.

One typical response in Congress came from Rep. Ike Skelton (D-Mo.), chairman of the House Armed Services Committee, who worried about the massive military might that the annual Pentagon report found China is assembling.

“I am concerned by some of the continuing trends and ambiguities regarding China’s military modernization, including China’s missile buildup across from Taiwan and the steady increase of China’s power projection capabilities,” Skelton said.

Worse, “There are also signs that China’s military budget will continue a trend of double-digit increases, and questions remain about China’s strategic intentions.”

Some estimates of Chinese annual military spending range as high as $120 billion, or three to four times what China officially admits to spending on its armed forces, and given that most things are far cheaper in China than in the United States, this may mean Chinese procurement spending rivals that of the Pentagon, according to some analysts.

Skelton said at least China is agreeing to report yearly to the United Nations on its defense outlays, and perhaps the United States and China can increase professional military-to-military contacts.

But Skelton is worried, given all that the new reports show, that Chinese military actions and intentions still are opaque and shrouded in mystery.

The latest report, from the Pentagon, stresses that there is a vast disconnect between China’s stated explanations as to why it is engaged in a gigantic military buildup, and the facts of that rising rearmament.

“Much uncertainty surrounds China’s future course, in particular in the area of its expanding military power and how that power might be used,” the Department of Defense report notes.

“The People’s Liberation Army (PLA) is pursuing comprehensive transformation from a mass army designed for protracted wars of attrition on its territory to one capable of fighting and winning short duration, high intensity conflicts along its periphery against high-tech adversaries,” such as the United States.

Moving to the bottom line for what this all means, the DOD report quotes another Pentagon report that was issued two years ago, saying that its findings still are true.

“As noted in the 2006 Quadrennial Defense Review Report, [China] ‘has the greatest potential to compete militarily with the United States and field disruptive military technologies that could over time offset traditional U.S. military advantages.'”

China clearly is planning to develop capabilities that would be used not just to invade and conquer Taiwan, but also to project force elsewhere, the DOD report concludes.