News / Asia

    China Military Buildup Could 'Upend' Asian Security, says US Official

    Assistant Secretary of Defense for Asia, Wallace Gregson (file photo)
    Assistant Secretary of Defense for Asia, Wallace Gregson (file photo)
    Al Pessin

    A senior U.S. defense department official says China's military buildup could turn the Asian regional security balance upside down, and called on the country's leaders to be clearer about their plans and intentions.  The comments came just four days after the official was part of senior-level U.S.-China defense talks.  

    The Assistant Secretary of Defense for Asia, retired Lieutenant General Wallace Gregson, spoke Tuesday at an event sponsored by the Progressive Policy Institute.

    "It has become increasingly evident that China is pursuing a long-term, comprehensive military buildup that could upend the regional security balance," said Gregson.

    Gregson said China's decision to modernize its military is not by itself a problem, even with annual double digit defense spending increases.  But he said the effort to develop such capabilities as anti-ship ballistic missiles, advanced submarines, surface-to-air missiles, anti-satellite weapons and the ability to attack computer networks do cause concerns in the United States and elsewhere.

    "The U.S. shares the concern of many in the region that this type of military buildup far exceeds China's defensive needs," he said. "In addition, these kinds of weapons threaten to undermine the basic norms that have bolstered East Asian peace and prosperity, such as open access to sea lanes for commerce and security assistance."

    Assistant Secretary Gregson's comments came just four days after senior U.S. and Chinese officials held annual defense talks at the Pentagon.  After those meetings on Friday, the top American official involved, Under Secretary Michele Flournoy, called the talks "candid" and "frank" - words officials usually use to signal disagreement.

    She said, and Gregson repeated Tuesday, that the Chinese officials agreed on the need for a more consistent defense relationship, without the kind of "freezes" China has imposed in response to U.S. policies it does not like.  But neither official indicated there was any formal agreement to end such freezes.

    The U.S.-China defense relationship is just now coming out of an eight-month freeze China imposed to protest a U.S. arms sale to Taiwan.  

    Also on Friday, Flournoy said the Chinese military representatives shared "some of their thinking on their strategy and capabilities development."  But Gregson said Tuesday the United States still wants more transparency about how China intends to use its rapidly growing military capability.

    "We call upon China to become more transparent regarding its military capabilities, expenditures and intentions," said Gregson. "We are not asking for an unreasonable degree of disclosure, simply enough to allow all parties to avoid miscalculation."

    The United States is the preeminent military power in Asia, and officials say it intends to remain so, even as China increases its capabilities.  Still, Gregson said "the United States and China are not inevitably destined for conflict."  He said differences need to be managed, and military cooperation must be deepened on issues where the two countries have a common interest, such as fighting terrorism and piracy, and ensuring open sea lanes.  

    Gregson says that means more bi-lateral meetings and military exchanges.  At Friday's talks, the two sides agreed on a series of such activities during the coming year, starting with a visit to China by U.S. Defense Secretary Robert Gates in January.

    You May Like

    Video Democrats Clinton, Kaine Offer 'Very Different Vision' Than Trump

    In a jab at Trump, Clinton says her team wants to 'build bridges, not walls'; Obama Hails Kaine's record; Trump calls Kaine a 'job-killer'

    Turkey Wants Pakistan to Close Down institutions, Businesses Linked to Gulen

    Thousands of Pakistani students are enrolled in Gulen's commercial network of around two dozen institutions operating in Pakistan for over two decades

    AU Passport A Work in Progress

    Who will get the passport and what the benefits are still need to be worked out

    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.
    In State of Emergency, Turkey’s Erdogan Focuses on Spiritual Movementi
    X
    July 22, 2016 11:49 AM
    The state of emergency that Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has declared is giving him even more power to expand a purge that has seen an estimated 60,000 people either arrested or suspended from their jobs. VOA Europe correspondent Luis Ramirez reports from Istanbul.
    Video

    Video In State of Emergency, Turkey’s Erdogan Focuses on Spiritual Movement

    The state of emergency that Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has declared is giving him even more power to expand a purge that has seen an estimated 60,000 people either arrested or suspended from their jobs. VOA Europe correspondent Luis Ramirez reports from Istanbul.
    Video

    Video Scientists in Poland Race to Save Honeybees

    Honeybees are in danger worldwide. Causes of what's known as colony collapse disorder range from pesticides and loss of habitat to infections. But scientists in Poland say they are on track to finding a cure for one of the diseases. VOA’s George Putic reports.
    Video

    Video Wall Already Runs Along Parts of US-Mexico Border

    The Republican Party’s presidential nominee, Donald Trump, gained the support of many voters by saying he would build a wall to keep undocumented immigrants and drugs from coming across the border from Mexico. Critics have called his idea impractical and offensive to Mexico, while supporters say such a bold approach is needed to control the border. VOA’s Greg Flakus has more from the border town of Nogales, Arizona.
    Video

    Video New HIV Tests Emphasize Rapid Results

    As the global fight against AIDS intensifies, activists have placed increasing importance on getting people to know their HIV status. Some companies are developing new HIV testing methods designed to be quick, easy and accurate. Thuso Khumalo looks at the latest methods, presented at the International AIDS conference in Durban, South Africa.
    Video

    Video African Youth with HIV Urge More Support

    HIV, the virus that causes AIDS, is the top killer of teens in sub-Saharan Africa. But many youths say their experience with the virus is unique and needs to be addressed differently than the adult epidemic. VOA South African Correspondent Anita Powell reports.
    Video

    Video Poor Residents in Cleveland Not Feeling High Hopes of Republican Convention

    With the Republican Party's National Convention underway in Cleveland, Ohio, delegates and visitors are gathered in the host city's downtown - waiting to hear from the party's presidential candidate, Donald Trump. But a few kilometers from the convention's venue, Cleveland's poorest residents are not convinced Trump or his policies will make a difference in their lives. VOA's Ramon Taylor spoke with some of these residents as well as some of the Republican delegates and filed this report.
    Video

    Video Pop-Up Art Comes to Your Living Room, Backyard and Elsewhere

    Around the world, independent artists and musicians wrestle with a common problem: where to exhibit or perform? Traditional spaces such as museums and galleries are reserved for bigger names, and renting a space is not feasible for many. Enter ArtsUp, which connects artists with venue owners. Whether it’s a living room, restaurant, office or even a boat, pop-up events are bringing music and art to unexpected places. Tina Trinh has more.
    Video

    Video With Yosemite as Backdrop, Obama Praises National Parks

    Last month, President Barack Obama and his family visited some of the most beautiful national parks in the U.S. Using the majestic backdrop of a towering waterfall in California's Yosemite National Park, Obama praised the national park system which celebrates its 100th anniversary this year. He talked about the importance of America’s “national treasures” and the need to protect them from climate change and other threats. VOA’s Julie Taboh reports.
    Video

    Video Counter-Islamic State Coalition Plots Next Steps

    As momentum shifts against Islamic State in Iraq, discussions are taking place about the next steps for driving the terrorist group from its final strongholds. Secretary of State John Kerry is hosting a counter-IS meeting at the State Department, a day after defense ministers from more than 30 countries reviewed and agreed upon a course of action. VOA Pentagon correspondent Carla Babb reports.
    Video

    Video Russia's Participation at Brazil Olympic Games Still In Question

    The International Olympic Committee has delayed a decision on whether to ban all Russian teams from competing in next month's Olympic Games in Brazil over allegations of an elaborate doping scheme. The World Anti-Doping Agency recently released an independent report alleging widespread doping by Russian athletes at the 2014 Winter Olympics in Sochi. So far, only Russian track and field athletes have been barred from the Summer Games in Brazil. VOA's Zlatica Hoke has more.
    Video

    Video Scotland’s Booming Whisky Industry Fears Brexit Hangover

    After Britain’s vote to leave the European Union, Scotland’s government wants to break away from the United Kingdom – fearing the nation’s exports are at risk. Among the biggest of these is whisky. Henry Ridgwell reports on a time of turmoil for those involved in the ancient art of distilling Scotland’s most famous product.
    Video

    Video Millennials Could Determine Who Wins Race to White House

    With only four months to go until Americans elect a new president, one group of voters is getting a lot more attention these days: those ages 18 to 35, a generation known as millennials. It’s a demographic that some analysts say could have the power to decide the 2016 election. But a lot depends on whether they actually turn out to vote. VOA’s Alexa Lamanna reports.

    Special Report

    Adrift The Invisible African Diaspora