Keeping an Eagle's Eye on China's Military Buildup
by MAJ. GEN. PAUL E. VALLELY, US ARMY (RET)
August 4, 2011
China will be expanding simultaneously on several economical fronts against the USA: 1- initiating an economical war to bury the U.S. dollar, 2-using Iran security-wise via proxy to destabilize further U.S. interest in the Middle East while consolidating economically new alliances, China's military expansion is entering a new stage. Japan must not be lax in taking precautions against it. A spokesman for China's Defense Ministry confirmed for the first time late last month--just ahead of Army Day on Monday--that the country's first aircraft carrier was being readied for use "for research, testing and training purposes."
The spokesman was apparently referring to the secondhand Soviet-type 60,000 ton-class midsize aircraft carrier Varyag, which is being refitted in Dalian, Liaoning Province. The announcement indicates China's plan to conduct a sea trial of the flattop.
The disclosure of the aircraft carrier plan came less than a week after a high-speed railway accident in Wenzhou, Zhejiang Province. The timing could mean the Chinese government hopes to reduce the people's mounting criticism over its handling of the deadly accident by diverting their attention.
Aircraft carrier fleet planned. If China does send its carrier on a sea trial, the Chinese Navy will have warplanes practice takeoffs and landings on the flattop. In addition, China is building an aircraft carrier of its own design in Shanghai. It is said that China is seeking to complete a carrier-led fleet by 2020 after building additional ships to fill out aircraft carrier battle groups.
China's aircraft carrier deployment plan will form the core of its strategy to expand its maritime activities over the high seas.
China reportedly aims to prevent U.S. Navy forces from entering seas within a line connecting Kyushu, Okinawa, Taiwan and the Philippines. Furthermore, it also aims to achieve air and marine supremacy inside a line connecting the Ogasawara Islands, Guam and Papua New Guinea by mid-2030.
One purpose of these plans could be to execute an "anti-access" strategy in the event of a contingency in the Taiwan Strait.
The Chinese military is developing "carrier killer" antiship ballistic missiles that are presumably intended for use against U.S. aircraft carriers. It will possibly formulate a new strategy that combines these new weapons with aircraft carrier battle groups.
Another Chinese aim is to secure natural gas and other marine resources in the South China Sea and protect sea-lanes for transport of natural resources from the Middle East and Africa in anticipation of a sharp rise in the domestic energy demand.
In the face of China's meticulous long-term maritime strategy, the Japanese government worked out new National Defense Program Guidelines last December. It is natural that the guidelines put forth a policy of shifting the emphasis of Self-Defense Forces deployment to southwestern regions, particularly the Nansei Islands south of Kyushu and east of Taiwan.
The Japan-U.S. alliance must be steadily deepened. The deterrence provided by U.S. forces stationed in Okinawa Prefecture is now of greater importance. Other countries are becoming increasingly nervous about China's expanded maritime activities. These include Australia and India, as well as Southeast Asian countries such as Vietnam and the Philippines. Tokyo must look into the possibility of cooperating with these countries.
(From The Yomiuri Shimbun, Aug. 2, 2011)