[Homestead] China's military buildup shakes up East Asia
kila01 at yahoo.com
Thu Sep 29 15:51:24 EDT 2005
DALIAN, China - If the U.S. Navy's Seventh Fleet one
day sails to Taiwan's defense, China's large fleet of
submarines could be lurking with a lethal surprise.
The submarines, waiting along Taiwan's Pacific coast,
could fire a barrage of "Sizzlers," devastating
anti-ship weapons that pop out of the water, spot
aircraft carriers or escort ships, then drop near the
water's surface, accelerating to supersonic speeds for
the kill. Little can be done to defend against a
"You're pretty much a sitting duck," said Larry M.
Wortzel, a former U.S. military attache in Beijing
who's now an analyst at the Heritage Foundation, a
conservative think tank in Washington.
The course of the 21st century will be determined in
part by the relationship between China and the United
States. In many ways, relations are healthier than
ever. But the two nations remain potential
adversaries, plotting in war games how to thwart each
other. While always cautious of nuclear-armed China,
the United States has become even more watchful.
U.S. strategists say the People's Liberation Army has
made huge strides in modernization. China now has a
submarine fleet that rivals the
Pentagon's in numbers, if not in weaponry. Air bases
bristle with new Russian-built fighter jets. At
testing sites, military engineers toil over
anti-satellite lasers and "bolt-out-of-the-blue"
And the buildup is far from over. Shipyards churn out
frigates and new vessels by the month, and China
fine-tunes a sea-based nuclear missile delivery system
designed to keep the White House wary of tangling with
a rising dragon in the East.
"It's a military that isn't looking for a fight but
wants to have sharper teeth," said James Mulvenon, a
China military expert at the Center for Intelligence
Research and Analysis in Washington.
China enjoys nowhere near the overall strength of U.S.
forces, now tested by wars in
Iraq. But its analysts are scrutinizing U.S.
deployments in Iraq, Afghanistan and on the high seas
for signs of weakness and are seeking to exploit them
in any clash over Taiwan or elsewhere. Moreover, as
China modernizes its military forces, it's reshaping
military balances in the region.
Washington and regional capitals, particularly Tokyo,
view the cumulative effect of China's military buildup
with concern, even alarm. In pointed remarks on June 4
in Singapore, Defense Secretary Donald H. Rumsfeld
asked: "Since no nation threatens China, one must
wonder: Why this growing investment? Why these
continuing large and expanding arms purchases? Why
these continuing robust deployments?"
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