News / Asia

China Working to Counter US Naval Power in the Pacific

China's growing military capabilities are raising concerns in the United States and among its neighbors.

The U.S. Department of Defense says China is developing a ballistic missile that can hit aircraft carriers more than 1,500 kilometers away.

That program is in addition to the country's already extensive missile defense system, which includes more than one thousand missiles pointed at Taiwan, which Beijing considers part of its territory.

In addition, the Pentagon says China is working to build its first aircraft carrier, which would put it in a small group of nations able to project power well into international waters.

Need for a deterrent

While Chinese government officials say little about defense plans, some Asia security experts think there are two major reasons for its missile and carrier programs.

One is Taiwan - which has been separately governed since Nationalist forces fled there in 1949, after losing the country's civil war. China has threatened to use force to regain control if Taiwan declares independence. The United States has said it will help the island defend itself from an attack.

Wu Xinbo is an international relations professor at Shanghai's Fudan University.

Wu says if there were a military conflict in the Taiwan Strait, China needs a deterrent to prevent a U.S. aircraft carrier from entering the area to, in his words, "interfere with the Chinese handling of the situation."

Wu says China wants to build an aircraft carrier largely to defend international shipping lanes, which Beijing considers crucial to its export-driven economy.

Denny Roy is a senior fellow at the East-West Center in Hawaii. He says he is not surprised that the Chinese would develop a long-range ballistic missile to protect what it considers its interests.

"The Chinese have long had particular expertise in missile development, so it is natural that they would rely on this as a way of countering U.S. strength. It is much easier for the Chinese to build an anti-aircraft carrier missile than building an aircraft carrier battle group." Roy said.

China ramping up investment in nuclear weapons

China was ramping up investment in nuclear weapons, long-range missiles, submarines, aircraft carriers and cyber warfare, and building up a force that could strike as far as the US territory of Guam.

The U.S. and other countries have questioned Beijing's need for either a carrier or new missiles because, they say, there currently are no real threats to China's interests. But Wu says there is also one basic reason for doing so now - money.

Wu says it was not possible for China to build an aircraft carrier before, but now China's economic boom has given the country the means to work on one.

James Nolt is a senior fellow who specializes in U.S.-East Asia relations at the World Policy Institute in New York. Since 2007, he has lived in Nanjing, China, as the head of the New York Institute of Technology's Nanjing campus.

Nolt says even if China builds its own aircraft carrier, it will be decades behind the United States in operational know-how and in numbers.

"The ability to develop an effective carrier, it involves a lot of technology and a lot of training, and operational capabilities, that it might take China many years to develop," Nolt says, "if they chose to do so. Even if they had an aircraft carrier, one aircraft carrier would not be significant."

Nolt points out that even with its missile programs and plans for a carrier, China's military capabilities lag behind those of the United States. "They talk about China without comparing it to the U.S. in any systematic way, which if they did, it would be very easy to see that China's power is vastly smaller in many areas and its capabilities are vastly limited compared to the U.S.," he said.

But China's neighbors, including Southeast Asian nations that dispute Beijing's claims to scores of small, uninhabited islands in the South China Sea, have quietly expressed concern about its military buildup.

Pentagon report rejected

U.S. officials say they do not know the extent of China's military power. They repeatedly have called for greater Chinese transparency on its military capabilities and intentions.

The East-West Center's Roy says China may want to preserve some secrecy because it sees itself as the weaker power.

"China, seeing itself as being much inferior to the U.S. military at the moment, believes that it's quite unreasonable for the United States to ask for a large degree of transparency in Chinese military development, because from the Chinese point of view, they need to hide their weaknesses from the United States," Roy said.

Beijing rejected the latest Pentagon report and says it exaggerates what it calls "China's normal national defense and military build-up." The Defense Ministry has given no specific information about its progress in building a missile that can strike aircraft carriers.

Shortly after the Pentagon report was released, though, a leading Chinese newspaper, The Global Times, published an editorial calling on China to have an anti-ship ballistic missile and other so-called "carrier-killing measures." The editorial said China must build what it described as "a credible deterrence" to counter U.S. naval power in the Pacific Ocean.

At the same time, Beijing has grown increasingly vocal in recent months in demanding that U.S. ships stay away from wide areas of ocean - covering much of the Yellow, East and South China seas - where it claims sovereignty.

You May Like

Photogallery Pistorius Sentenced, Taken to Prison

Pistorius, convicted of culpable homicide in shooting death of girlfriend Reeva Steenkamp, will likely serve about 10 months of five-year sentence, before completing it under house arrest More

UN to Aid Central Africa in Polio Vaccinations

Synchronized vaccinations will be conducted after Cameroon reports a fifth case of the wild polio virus in its territory More

WHO: Ebola Vaccine May Be in Use by Jan.

WHO assistant director Dr. Marie Paule Kieny says clinical trials of Ebola vaccines are underway or planned in Europe, US and Africa 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.
After Decades of Pressure, Luxembourg Drops Bank Secrecy Rulesi
X
October 21, 2014 12:20 AM
European Union finance ministers have reached a breakthrough agreement that will make it more difficult for tax cheats to hide their money. The new legislation, which had been blocked for years by countries with a reputation as tax havens, was approved last week after Luxembourg and Austria agreed to lift their vetoes. But as Mil Arcega reports, it doesn’t mean tax cheats have run out of places to keep their money hidden.
Video

Video After Decades of Pressure, Luxembourg Drops Bank Secrecy Rules

European Union finance ministers have reached a breakthrough agreement that will make it more difficult for tax cheats to hide their money. The new legislation, which had been blocked for years by countries with a reputation as tax havens, was approved last week after Luxembourg and Austria agreed to lift their vetoes. But as Mil Arcega reports, it doesn’t mean tax cheats have run out of places to keep their money hidden.
Video

Video Kobani Refugees Welcome, Turkey Criticizes, US Airdrop

Residents of Kobani in northern Syria have welcomed the airdrop of weapons, ammunition and medicine to Kurdish militia who are resisting the seizure of their city by Islamic State militants. The Turkish government, however, has criticized the operation. VOA’s Scott Bobb reports from southeastern Turkey, across the border from Kobani.
Video

Video China Political Meeting Seeks to Improve Rule of Law

China’s communist leaders will host a top level political meeting this week, called the Fourth Plenum, and for the first time in the party’s history, rule of law will be a key item on the agenda. Analysts and Chinese media reports say the meetings could see the approval of long-awaited measures aimed at giving courts more independence and include steps to enhance an already aggressive and high-reaching anti-corruption drive. VOA’s Bill Ide has more from Beijing.
Video

Video US ‘Death Cafes’ Put Focus on the Finale

In contemporary America, death usually is a topic to be avoided. But the growing “death café” movement encourages people to discuss their fears and desires about their final moments. VOA’s Jerome Socolovsky reports.
Video

Video Ebola Orphanage Opens in Sierra Leone

Sierra Leone's first Ebola orphanage has opened in the Kailahun district. Hundreds of children orphaned since the beginning of the Ebola outbreak face stigma and rejection with nobody to care for them. Adam Bailes reports for VOA about a new interim care center that's aimed at helping the growing number of children affected by Ebola.
Video

Video Young Nairobi Tech Innovator on 'Track' in Security Business

A 24-year-old technology innovator in Nairobi has invented a tracking device that monitors and secures cars. He has also come up with what he claims is the most robust audio-visual surveillance system yet. As Lenny Ruvaga reports from the Kenyan capital, his innovations are offering alternative security solutions.
Video

Video Latinas Converting to Islam for Identity, Structure

Latinos are one of the fastest growing groups in the Muslim religion. According to the Pew Research Center, about 6 percent of American Muslims are Latino. And a little more than half of new converts are female. VOA’s Carolyn Presutti travelled to Miami, Florida -- where two out of every three residents is Hispanic -- to learn more.
Video

Video Exclusive: American Joins Kurds' Anti-IS Fight

The United States and other Western nations have expressed alarm about their citizens joining Islamic State forces in Syria and Iraq. In a rare counterpoint to the phenomenon, an American has taken up arms with the militants' Syrian Kurdish opponents. Elizabeth Arrott has more in this exclusive profile by VOA Kurdish reporter Zana Omer in Ras al Ayn, Syria.
Video

Video South Korea Confronts Violence Within Military Ranks

Every able-bodied South Korean male between 18 and 35 must serve for 21 to 36 months in the country’s armed forces, depending upon the specific branch. For many, service is a rite of passage to manhood. But there are growing concerns that bullying and violence come along with the tradition. Reporter Jason Strother has more from Seoul.
Video

Video North Carolina Emerges as Key Election Battleground

U.S. congressional midterm elections will be held on November 4th and most political analysts give Republicans an excellent chance to win a majority in the U.S. Senate, which Democrats now control. So what are the issues driving voters in this congressional election year? VOA National Correspondent Jim Malone traveled to North Carolina, one of the most politically competitive states in the country, to find out.
Video

Video Comanche People Maintain Pride in Their Heritage

The Comanche (Indian nation) once were called the “Lords of the Plains,” with an empire that included half the land area of current day Texas, large parts of Oklahoma, New Mexico, Kansas and Colorado.The fierceness and battle prowess of these warriors on horseback delayed the settlement of most of West Texas for four decades. VOA’s Greg Flakus reports from Lawton, Oklahoma, that while their warrior days are over, the 15,000 members of the Comanche Nation remain a proud people.
Video

Video Turkey Campus Attacks Raise Islamic Radicalization Fears

Concerns are growing in Turkey of Islamic radicalization at some universities, after clashes between supporters of the jihadist group Islamic State (IS) or ISIS, and those opposed to the extremists. Pro-jihadist literature is on sale openly on the streets of Istanbul. Critics accuse the government of turning a blind eye to radicalism at home, while Kurds accuse the president of supporting IS - a charge strongly denied. Henry Ridgwell reports from London.

All About America

AppleAndroid