News / Asia

Asia Recalibrates Defense to China's Fast Growing Military

Paramilitary recruits take part in a regular training at an army base in Yinchuan, Ningxia Hui Autonomous Region, 12 Jan 2011
Paramilitary recruits take part in a regular training at an army base in Yinchuan, Ningxia Hui Autonomous Region, 12 Jan 2011

China’s fast growing military might have made some of its neighbors uneasy about the security outlook in East Asia. Recently, Japan made significant changes to its defense posture with an eye on China.

U.S. Defense Secretary Robert Gates earlier this month stressed the importance of the U.S.-Japanese alliance in Asia’s security. Gates lauded Japan’s decision in December to shift military resources from the north near Russia to southwestern islands closer to China.

And he asserted that without the six-decade-old U.S.-Japan security alliance China “might behave more assertively toward its neighbors.”

China’s fast growing military capability has ruffled some of its neighbors, particularly those with territorial disputes with China, such as Japan and several Southeast Asia nations.

Last week, China tested its first stealth jet fighter. Some Western defense analysts say China is also preparing to deploy a new missile that could strike at U.S. aircraft carriers far beyond Chinese territory.

Tsuneo Akaha is the director of the Center for East Asia Studies at the Monterey Institute of International Studies in California. He says the change in Japan’s defense outlook addresses such concerns.

"The most important reason is the expanding Chinese military, particularly naval capabilities offshore and also the recent development of new aircraft, stealth fighters, and the Chinese deployment and plans to build more submarines that would allow the Chinese to project their power to greater distances," Akaha said.
Tensions between Tokyo and Beijing rose in September when a Chinese trawler collided with a Japanese patrol boat near the disputed Senkaku or Diaoyu islands.

Though not a direct party to any of China’s territorial disputes in the Pacific, the United States is very much involved in shaping an emerging security order in Asia.

The U.S. says it has a national interest in freedom of navigation in these waters. Akaha says the U.S. has rallied allies and smaller nations in Southeast Asia to help temper Chinese assertiveness.

"This sort of gives greater political incentive and also strategic rationale for engaging Southeast Asian countries on the part of the United States,” Akaha says, “and that would also shore up Japanese confidence that as long as the U.S. is present there, international shipping will be secured."

Ma Zhengang, chairman of the China Arms Control and Disarmament Agency, says China does not want conflict with the United States.

But he says if the U.S. keeps pointing at China as its rival, even challenges Chinese interests of harmony, then it is possible that there could be severe crisis between the two countries. This is something that China does not want to see. He says that cooperation in matters of security between China and the U.S. benefits both countries. He adds that he absolutely does not think that it is inevitable for the two countries to get into a confrontation.

Secretary of Defense Gates also said last week China is not an inevitable strategic adversary of the United States. Still, some Asian nations are recalibrating their defense capabilities for future threats and are watching U.S.-China relations closely.

China claims the South China Sea, including the Spratly and Paracel islands. But Brunei, Malaysia, the Philippines, Taiwan and Vietnam also have claims on the islands.

You May Like

Lesotho Faces New Round of Violence, Political Crisis

Brutal killing of military officer has sent former leaders back into S. Africa where they're watching anxiously as regional officials head in to try to restore peace More

Video US Diplomat Expects Adoption of Bosnian Massacre Anniversary Resolution

Samantha Power says there's broad consensus about killings in Bosnia's war, but Russia calls resolution 'divisive,' backs UN countermeasure More

UN Report Exposes Widespread Boko Haram Atrocities

Damning report graphically details pattern of vicious, widespread atrocities committed by Islamist militants More

This forum has been closed.
Comments
     
There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Olympics Construction Scars Sacred Korean Mountaini
X
July 02, 2015 4:10 AM
Environmentalists in South Korea are protesting a Winter Olympics construction project to build a ski slope through a 500-year-old protected forest. Brian Padden reports that although there is strong national support for hosting the 2018 Pyeongchang Winter Olympics, there are growing public concerns over the costs and possible ecological damage at the revered mountain.
Video

Video Olympics Construction Scars Sacred Korean Mountain

Environmentalists in South Korea are protesting a Winter Olympics construction project to build a ski slope through a 500-year-old protected forest. Brian Padden reports that although there is strong national support for hosting the 2018 Pyeongchang Winter Olympics, there are growing public concerns over the costs and possible ecological damage at the revered mountain.
Video

Video Xenophobia Victims in South Africa Flee Violence, Then Return

Many Malawians fled South Africa early this year after xenophobic attacks on African immigrants. But many quickly found life was no better at home and have returned to South Africa – often illegally and without jobs, and facing the tough task of having to start over. Lameck Masina and Anita Powell file from Johannesburg.
Video

Video Family of American Marine Calls for Release From Iranian Prison

As the crowd of journalists covering the Iran talks swells, so too do the opportunities for media coverage.  Hoping to catch the attention of high-level diplomats, the family of American-Iranian marine Amir Hekmati is in Vienna, pleading for his release from an Iranian prison after nearly 4 years.  VOA’s Heather Murdock reports from Vienna.
Video

Video UK Holds Terror Drill as MPs Mull Tunisia Response

After pledging a tough response to last Friday’s terror attack in Tunisia, which came just days before the 10th anniversary of the bomb attacks on London’s transport network, British security services are shifting their focus to overseas counter-terror operations. VOA's Henry Ridgwell has more.
Video

Video Obama on Cuba: This is What Change Looks Like

President Barack Obama says the United States will soon reopen its embassy in Cuba for the first time since 1961, ending a half-century of isolation. VOA White House correspondent Luis Ramirez reports.
Video

Video Hate Groups Spread Influence Via Internet

Hate groups of various kinds are using the Internet for propaganda and recruitment, and a Jewish human rights organization that monitors these groups, the Simon Wiesenthal Center, says their influence is growing. The messages are different, but the calls to hatred or violence are similar. VOA's Mike O’Sullivan reports.
Video

Video US Silica Sand Mining Surge Worries Illinois Residents, Businesses

Increased domestic U.S. oil and gas production, thanks to advances known as “fracking,” has created a boom for other industries supporting that extraction. Demand for silica sand, used in fracking, could triple over the next five years. In the Midwest state of Illinois, people living near the mines are worried about how increased silica sand mining will affect their businesses and their health. VOA’s Kane Farabaugh has more in this first of a series of reports.
Video

Video Blind Somali Journalist Defies Odds in Mogadishu

Despite improving security in the last few years, Somalia remains one of the most dangerous countries to be a journalist – even more so for someone who cannot see. Abdulaziz Billow has the story of journalist Abdifatah Hassan Kalgacal, who has been reporting from the Somali capital for the last decade despite being blind.
Video

Video Texas Defies Same-Sex Marriage Ruling

Texas state officials have criticized the US Supreme Court decision giving same-sex couples the right to marry nationwide. The attorney general of Texas says last week's decision did not overrule constitutional "rights of religious liberty," and therefore officials performing wedding services can refuse to perform them for same-sex couples if it is against their religious beliefs. Zlatica Hoke reports on the controversy.
Video

Video Rabbi Hits Road to Heal Jewish-Muslim Relations in France

France is on high alert after last week's terrorist attack near the city Lyon, just six months after deadly Paris shootings. The attack have added new tensions to relations between French Jews and Muslims. France’s Jewish and Muslim communities also share a common heritage, though, and as far as one French rabbi is concerned, they are destined to be friends. From the Paris suburb of La Courneuve, Lisa Bryant reports about Rabbi Michel Serfaty and his friendship bus.
Video

Video Saudi Leaks Expose ‘Checkbook Diplomacy’ In Battle With Iran

Saudi Arabia’s willingness to wield its oil money on the global diplomatic stage appears to have been laid bare, after the website WikiLeaks published tens of thousands of leaked cables from Riyadh’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs. VOA's Henry Ridgwell reports.
Video

Video In Kenya, Police Said to Shoot First, Ask Questions Later

An organization that documents torture and extrajudicial killings says Kenyan police were responsible for 1,252 shooting deaths in five cities, including Nairobi, between 2009 and 2014, representing 67 percent of all gun deaths in the areas reviewed. Gabe Joselow has more from Nairobi.

VOA Blogs