This article discusses China's assessment of its security environment by examining the role of the "Taiwan Issue" in China's military modernization and domestic politics. It sheds light on the strategic outlook of the world's largest yet most understudied armed forces: China's People's Liberation Army (PLA). It argues that the remilitarization of the "Taiwan Issue" since 1995-96 has provided the PLA with impetus for acquiring more resources and influence. Although the PLA is a Pany army that exists to safeguard the interests of the Chinese Communist Pany, interviews and close studies of open-source material reveal interesting differences that result from evolving doctrinal developments, force structures, and broader political considerations. China is not only developing a military option vis-a-vis Taiwan but also building a modern fighting force befitting China's aspired "great power" status. The PLA's evolution will thus test China's "peaceful rise" slogan.

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Copyright © 2007, Southeast Conference of the Association for Asian Studies. This article first appeared in Southeast Review of Asian Studies: 29 (2007), 119-136.

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