ASIA TIMES — Back just three years ago, in February of 2013, a high-ranking US naval official remarked that China’s People’s Liberation Army (PLA) was preparing to wage, if called upon, what he called “a short sharp war to destroy Japanese forces in the East China Sea …”
Capt. James Fanell, then deputy chief of staff intelligence and information operations for PACFLEET, made the remark in reference to training exercises being conducted by China when it came to Japanese holdings in the East China Sea. Such remarks took the press by storm, clearly a sign of the dangers presented by Beijing’s rapid military modernization as well as its constant saber-rattling over the Senkaku Islands.
But just like all strategic challenges, threats can evolve — and in the case of the broader Asia-Pacific, the region is a far more dangerous place than it was in 2013. Indeed, the amount of places that China is now challenging the status quo — in the East China Sea, once again pushing back against Taiwan and in multiple places within the South China Sea — is a troubling sign of not only Beijing’s reckless approach towards its neighbors, but further evidence of an unyielding quest to dominate the region all the way to the first and likely second-island chains.
• AMERICA’S MISSILE DEFENSE DISASTER (AND MUSIC TO RUSSIA AND CHINA’S EARS) — NATIONAL INTEREST