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China can’t take Taiwan because its weapons are filled with water

Jan 12

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A driving force in the U.S. military is preparing for competition with near-peer adversaries like China and Russia. But as it turns out, perhaps those peers aren’t so near.

For decades, Russia said it controlled the world’s “second army.” However, current events in Ukraine are punching plenty of holes in that argument. This leaves China as America’s only other near-peer adversary.

The Chinese Communist Party worked for years and spent billions to improve its military. Instead of focusing the bulk of its resources on ground troops, the People’s Liberation Army invested heavily in its navy, air force and Rocket Force.

China wants to take over Taiwan — militarily, if necessary — and Chinese leader Xi Jinping has his country believing they own international maritime trade routes. If either of those scenarios leads to a kinetic fight between China, the U.S. and Pacific allies, then China’s rockets, missiles, jets and ships are going to be key to its cause.

So, imagine the outrage Xi must have felt when he discovered many of his most vaunted weapons systems wouldn’t work because, instead of fuel, their tanks were filled with water.

Where did the fuel go? In some cases, soldiers stole it for communal hotpot meals.

According to a U.S. intelligence report first brought to light by Bloomberg, the level of graft in the Chinese military is so rampant, Xi Jinping will likely have to delay any sort of military operation he may have had planned in the foreseeable future.

“The corruption inside China’s Rocket Force and throughout the nation’s defense industrial base is so extensive that the U.S. officials now believe Xi is less likely to contemplate major military action in the coming years than would otherwise have been the case,” the report stated.

In response to the Bloomberg report, a former Chinese military officer who defected in 2016 told Radio Free Asia (RFA) corruption is so rife in China, the lack of basic supplies and equipment was normal for soldiers. PLA Navy Lt. Col. Yao Cheng told RFA he often used small chunks of solid-state fuel meant for missiles to cook his meals.

Yao said the rocket fuel burns very cleanly and without any odor or emission, which kind of comes in handy when cooking with a hotpot.

Hotpot is a Chinese culinary staple where water or oil is kept at a constant boil while raw meat and veggies are all cooked in the same simmering solution. If rocket fuel wasn’t available, Yao said he and his soldiers would drain fuel from aircraft tanks instead.

In addition to many Chinese weapons and vehicles lacking fuel, the report also detailed how many of the silos used to house China’s intercontinental ballistic missiles don’t have functioning doors. So, even if the missiles were fueled and ready, they couldn’t launch because the doors would not open.

The graft and corruption could explain why Xi Jinping recently cleaned house in the Rocket Force, replacing many of the top-level officers there. Li Shangfu, China’s former defense minister, is also reportedly under investigation for corrupt procurement practices.

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[RYAN ROBERTSON]

A DRIVING FORCE IN THE U.S. MILITARY IS PREPARING FOR COMPETITION WITH NEAR-PEER ADVERSARIES. BUT AS IT TURNS OUT, PERHAPS THOSE PEERS AREN’T SO NEAR.

FOR DECADES, RUSSIA SAID IT CONTROLLED THE WORLD’S SECOND ARMY. CURRENT EVENTS IN UKRAINE ARE PUNCHING PLENTY OF HOLES IN THAT ARGUMENT.

CHINA, AMERICA’S OTHER NEAR PEER ADVERSARY, HAS BEEN WORKING FOR YEARS AND SPENT BILLIONS TO IMPROVE ITS MILITARY. INSTEAD OF FOCUSING ON GROUND TROOPS, THE PEOPLE’S LIBERATION ARMY INVESTED HEAVILY IN ITS NAVY, AIR FORCE, AND ROCKET FORCE. CHINA WANTS TO TAKE OVER TAIWAN, MILITARILY IF NECESSARY, AND CHINESE LEADER XI JINPING HAS HIS COUNTRY BELIEVING THEY OWN INTERNATIONAL TRADE ROUTES. IF EITHER OF THOSE SCENARIOS LEADS TO A KINETIC FIGHT BETWEEN CHINA, THE U.S. AND OUR PACIFIC ALLIES CHINA’S ROCKETS, MISSILES, JETS AND SHIPS ARE GOING TO BE KEY TO ITS CAUSE.

SO, IMAGINE THE OUTRAGE XI MUST HAVE FELT WHEN HE DISCOVERED MANY OF HIS MOST VAUNTED WEAPONS SYSTEMS WOULDN’T WORK. BECAUSE INSTEAD OF FUEL, THEIR TANKS WERE FILLED WITH WATER. WHERE DID THE FUEL GO? IN SOME CASES, SOLDIERS STOLE IT FOR COMMUNAL HOTPOT MEALS.

ACCORDING TO A U.S. INTELLIGENCE REPORT, FIRST BROUGHT TO LIGHT BY BLOOMBERG, THE LEVEL OF GRAFT IN THE CHINESE MILITARY IS SO RAMPANT IT’S LIKELY XI JINPING WILL HAVE TO DELAY ANY SORT OF MILITARY OPERATION HE MAY HAVE HAD PLANNED IN THE FORESEEABLE FUTURE.

IN RESPONSE TO THE BLOOMBERG REPORT, A FORMER CHINESE MILITARY OFFICER, WHO DEFECTED IN 2016, TOLD RADIO FREE ASIA CORRUPTION IS SO RIFE IN CHINA THE LACK OF BASIC SUPPLIES AND EQUIPMENT WAS NORMAL FOR SOLDIERS. THE FORMER CHINESE OFFICER SAID HE OFTEN USED SMALL CHUNKS OF SOLID-STATE FUEL MEANT FOR MISSILES TO COOK HIS MEALS.

THE ROCKET FUEL BURNS VERY CLEANLY AND WITHOUT ANY ODOR OR EMISSION. WHICH KIND OF COMES IN HANDY WHEN COOKING WITH A HOTPOT. IT’S A CHINESE CULINARY STAPLE WHERE WATER OR OIL IS KEPT AT A CONSTANT BOIL WHILE RAW MEAT AND VEGGIES ARE ALL COOKED IN THE SAME SIMMERING SOLUTION.

IRONICALLY, THERE’S ALSO A COMPANY IN CHINA THAT COLLECTS THE USED HOTPOT OIL FROM RESTAURANTS AND RECYCLES IT INTO JET FUEL.

BUT BACK TO THE INTELLIGENCE REPORT. NOW, IN ADDITION TO MANY CHINESE WEAPONS AND VEHICLES LACKING FUEL, THE REPORT ALSO DETAILS HOW MANY OF THE SILOS USED TO HOUSE CHINA’S INTERCONTINENTAL BALLISTIC MISSILES DON’T HAVE FUNCTIONING DOORS. SO, EVEN IF THE MISSILES WERE FUELED AND READY, THEY CAN’T LAUNCH BECAUSE THE DOORS DON’T OPEN.

THE GRAFT AND CORRUPTION COULD EXPLAIN WHY XI JINPING RECENTLY CLEANED HOUSE IN THE ROCKET FORCE, REPLACING MANY OF THE TOP LEVEL OFFICERS THERE. CHINA’S FORMER DEFENSE MINISTER IS ALSO REPORTEDLY UNDER INVESTIGATION FOR CORRUPT PROCUREMENT PRACTICES.

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