WASHINGTON TIMES — It is time to help the United States Pacific Command (PACOM) deter Chinese military aggression with superior strength rather than encourage its adventurism by showing weakness.
Recent reports that the Obama White House sought to muzzle criticism of China by PACOM Commander Adm. Harry Harris — which he has denied — at least contributes to a longstanding impression that the White House has preferred to pull its punches as China seeks to impose increasing control of the strategic South China Sea.
A more appropriate U.S. response followed reports in February and March that China had deployed to Woody Island in the Paracel Island Group its 150-kilometer-range HQ-9 anti-aircraft missiles and then its 400-kilometer-range YJ-62 anti-ship cruise missiles. This now sets a pattern for Chinese missile deployment to its new large bases in the Spratly Island Group: Fiery Cross Reef, Subi Reef and Mischief Reef, which is only 216 kilometers away from Palawan Island of the Philippines, a U.S. defense treaty ally. China could also be building a new base on Scarborough Shoal, only 265 kilometers away from Subic Bay in the Philippines.