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US Military’s New Software Tool Forecasts China’s Reactions

The tool calculates “strategic friction” by looking at data and evaluating significant activities that had affected bilateral relations

Taiwan Strait US Navy
The guided-missile destroyer USS Kidd and US Coast Guard cutter Munro transit the Taiwan Strait in August. Photo: US Navy via Reuters


US military commanders in the Pacific have built a software tool to predict how the Chinese government will react to Washington’s actions in the region such as defence equipment sales, military manoeuvres and officials’ visits to Taiwan.

The tool calculates “strategic friction,” a defence official said, by looking at data since early 2020 and evaluating significant activities that had affected bilateral relations.

The computer-based system will help the Pentagon predict whether certain actions will provoke an outsized Chinese reaction.

In October, the Chinese military condemned the US and Canada for each sending a warship through the Taiwan Strait, saying they were threatening peace and stability in the region.

The incident and others like it fuelled demand for the tool, the US official said.

While relations between Washington and Beijing are already at low point, the tool provides visibility. The new software will allow US officials to look forward at planned actions as far as four months in advance, the official said.

Kathleen Hicks, deputy defence secretary, was briefed on the new tool during a visit to the US Indo-Pacific Command in Hawaii on Tuesday.


• Reuters, with George Russell




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George Russell

George Russell is a freelance writer and editor based in Hong Kong who has lived in Asia since 1996. His work has been published in the Financial Times, The Wall Street Journal, Bloomberg, New York Post, Variety, Forbes and the South China Morning Post.


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