Nothing Less Than Bold Action Will Stop Chinese Aggression
WASHINGTON TIMES — China’s determined efforts over the past two decades to seize control of almost the entire South China Sea is nothing short of classic aggressive imperialism. What’s remarkable is that it has been done without basically firing a shot, using the Chinese People’s Liberation Army concept of “military soft power.” This tactic is designed to defeat the enemy without fighting. Make no mistake: China views the United States as the enemy. Under President Obama’s strategy to fundamentally transform America, our country doesn’t confront our enemies, it embraces them. China has the perfect enemy.
When the United States withdrew its forces from the Philippines in 1992, this created a vacuum, which presented China with an unprecedented opportunity to expand its influence and territorial objectives. In 1993, China announced its illegal claims to almost the entire South China Sea as part of its territorial waters. The claim is based on China’s questionable Nine-Dash Line maritime claim and includes large sea areas of internationally recognized economic zones belonging to Vietnam, Brunei, Malaysia, Philippines, Taiwan and Japan.
There is no question that what China has accomplished over the past two decades — both economically and militarily — has been remarkable. When I took the first U.S. Navy Task Force back to mainland China on Nov. 3, 1986, 37 years after the Communists seized power in 1949, its navy was nothing more than a coastal navy, and not a threat to anyone. However, since then, China — with a double-digit increase in its military budget — has dramatically modernized its military forces and specifically built a navy designed to confront the U.S. Navy. More recently, Chinese President Xi Jinping is in the process of transforming China’s military force’s mission from just a defensive posture and regional power to one that will potentially be capable of challenging the United States globally.
As we have seen, China has instituted an aggressive reclamation program, creating man-made islands out of shallow reefs and inlets to reinforce its South China Sea claims. Since 2014, China has reclaimed more than 3,200 acres. Airfields and other permanent facilities have been built on these islands. The islands, in effect, have become stationary aircraft carriers. China has already deployed significant air, naval and missile forces to its newly reclaimed stationary carriers.
• THE TRADE WAR WITH CHINA IS ALREADY HERE — ASIA TIMES