[COMMENT: Thank you, in large part, Bill and Hillary,
for seriously damaging our own military secrecy and aiding and abetting the
Chinese. Thank you also, US industrial globalists, who find business with
China profitable. To yourselves and to the Chinese military.
Chinese dragon awakens
By Bill Gertz
THE WASHINGTON TIMES
Published June 26, 2005
China is building its military forces faster than U.S. intelligence
and military analysts expected, prompting fears that Beijing will attack
Taiwan in the next two years, according to Pentagon officials.
U.S. defense and intelligence officials say all the signs point in one
troubling direction: Beijing then will be forced to go to war with the
United States, which has vowed to defend Taiwan against a Chinese attack.
China's military buildup includes an array of new high-technology
weapons, such as warships, submarines, missiles and a maneuverable warhead
designed to defeat U.S. missile defenses. Recent intelligence reports also
show that China has stepped up military exercises involving amphibious
assaults, viewed as another sign that it is preparing for an attack on
"There's a growing consensus that at some point in the mid-to-late '90s,
there was a fundamental shift in the sophistication, breadth and
re-sorting of Chinese defense planning," said Richard Lawless, a senior
China-policy maker in the Pentagon. "And what we're seeing now is a
manifestation of that change in the number of new systems that are being
deployed, the sophistication of those systems and the interoperability of
China's economy has been growing at a rate of at least 10 percent for
each of the past 10 years, providing the country's military with the
needed funds for modernization.
The combination of a vibrant centralized economy, growing military and
increasingly fervent nationalism has transformed China into what many
defense officials view as a fascist state.
"We may be seeing in China the first true fascist society on the model of
Nazi Germany, where you have this incredible resource base in a commercial
economy with strong nationalism, which the military was able to reach into
and ramp up incredible production," a senior defense official said.
For Pentagon officials, alarm bells have been going off for the past two
years as China's military began rapidly building and buying new troop- and
weapon-carrying ships and submarines.
The release of an official Chinese government report in December called
the situation on the Taiwan Strait "grim" and said the country's military
could "crush" Taiwan.
Earlier this year, Beijing passed an anti-secession law, a unilateral
measure that upset the fragile political status quo across the Taiwan
Strait. The law gives Chinese leaders a legal basis they previously did
not have to conduct a military attack on Taiwan, U.S. officials said.
The war fears come despite the fact that China is hosting the Olympic
Games in 2008 and, therefore, some officials say, would be reluctant to
invoke the international condemnation that a military attack on Taiwan
Army of the future
In the past, some defense specialists insisted a Chinese attack on Taiwan
would be a "million-man swim" across the Taiwan Strait because of the
country's lack of troop-carrying ships.
"We left the million-man swim behind in about 1998, 1999," the senior
Pentagon official said. "And in fact, what people are saying now, whether
or not that construct was ever useful, is that it's a moot point, because
in just amphibious lift alone, the Chinese are doubling or even
quadrupling their capability on an annual basis."
Asked about a possible Chinese attack on Taiwan, the official put it
bluntly: "In the '07-'08 time frame, a capability will be there that a
year ago we would have said was very, very unlikely. We now assess that as
being very likely to be there."
Air Force Gen. Paul V. Hester, head of the Pacific Air Forces, said the
U.S. military has been watching China's military buildup but has found it
difficult to penetrate Beijing's "veil" of secrecy over it.
While military modernization itself is not a major worry, "what does
provide you a pause for interest and concern is the amount of
modernization, the kind of modernization and the size of the
modernization," he said during a recent breakfast meeting with reporters.
China is building capabilities such as aerial refueling and airborne
warning and control aircraft that can be used for regional defense and
long-range power projection, Gen. Hester said.
It also is developing a maneuverable re-entry vehicle, or MARV, for its
nuclear warheads. The weapon is designed to counter U.S. strategic-missile
defenses, according to officials who spoke on the condition of anonymity.
The warhead would be used on China's new DF-31 long-range missiles and its
new submarine missile, the JL-2.
Work being done on China's weapons and reconnaissance systems will give
its military the capability to reach 1,000 miles into the sea, "which
gives them the visibility on the movement of not only our airplanes in the
air, but also our forces at sea," Gen. Hester said.
Beijing also has built a new tank for its large armed forces. It is known
as the Type 99 and appears similar in design to Germany's Leopard 2 main
battle tank. The tank is outfitted with new artillery, anti-aircraft and
machine guns, advanced fire-control systems and improved engines.
The country's air power is growing through the purchase of new fighters
from Russia, such as Su-30 fighter-bombers, as well as the development of
its own fighter jets, such as the J-10.
Gen. Hester compared Chinese warplanes with those of the former Soviet
Union, which were less capable than their U.S. counterparts, but still
"They have great equipment. The fighters are very technologically
advanced, and what we know about them gives us pause for concern against
ours," he said.
Missiles also are a worry.
"It is their surface-to-air missiles, their [advanced] SAMs and their
surface-to-surface missiles, and the precision, more importantly, of those
surface-to-surface missiles that provide, obviously, the ability to
pinpoint targets that we might have out in the region, or our friends and
allies might have," Gen. Hester said.
The advances give the Chinese military "the ability ... to reach out and
touch parts of the United States -- Guam, Hawaii and the mainland of the
United States," he said.
To better deal with possible future conflicts in Asia, the Pentagon is
modernizing U.S. military facilities on the Western Pacific island of Guam
and planning to move more forces there.
The Air Force will regularly rotate Air Expeditionary Force units to Guam
and also will station the new long-range unmanned aerial vehicle known as
Global Hawk on the island, he said.
It also has stationed B-2 stealth bombers on Guam temporarily and is
expected to deploy B-1 bombers there, in addition to the B-52s now
deployed there, Gen. Hester said.
China's rulers have adopted what is known as the "two-island chain"
strategy of extending control over large areas of the Pacific, covering
inner and outer chains of islands stretching from Japan to Indonesia.
"Clearly, they are still influenced by this first and second island
chain," the intelligence official said.
The official said China's buildup goes beyond what would be needed to
fight a war against Taiwan.
The conclusion of this official is that China wants a "blue-water" navy
capable of projecting power far beyond the two island chains.
"If you look at the technical capabilities of the weapons platforms that
they're fielding, the sea-keeping capabilities, the size, sensors and
weapons fit, this capability transcends the baseline that is required to
deal with a Taiwan situation militarily," the intelligence official said.
"So they are positioned then, if [Taiwan is] resolved one way or the
other, to really become a regional military power as well."
The dispatch of a Han-class submarine late last year to waters near
Guam, Taiwan and Japan was an indication of the Chinese military's drive
to expand its oceangoing capabilities, the officials said. The submarine
surfaced in Japanese waters, triggering an emergency deployment of Japan's
Beijing later issued an apology for the incursion, but the political
damage was done. Within months, Japan began adopting a tougher political
posture toward China in its defense policies and public statements. A
recent Japanese government defense report called China a strategic
national security concern. It was the first time China was named
specifically in a Japanese defense report.
Energy supply a factor
For China, Taiwan is not the only issue behind the buildup of military
forces. Beijing also is facing a major energy shortage that, according to
one Pentagon study, could lead it to use military force to seize territory
with oil and gas resources.
The report produced for the Office of Net Assessment, which conducts
assessments of future threats, was made public in January and warned that
China's need for oil, gas and other energy resources is driving the
country toward becoming an expansionist power.
China "is looking not only to build a blue-water navy to control the
sea lanes [from the Middle East], but also to develop undersea mines and
missile capabilities to deter the potential disruption of its energy
supplies from potential threats, including the U.S. Navy, especially in
the case of a conflict with Taiwan," the report said.
The report said China believes the United States already controls the sea
routes from the oil-rich Persian Gulf through the Malacca Strait. Chinese
President Hu Jintao has called this strategic vulnerability to disrupted
energy supplies Beijing's "Malacca Dilemma."
To prevent any disruption, China has adopted a "string of pearls"
strategy that calls for both offensive and defensive measures stretching
along the oil-shipment sea lanes from China's coast to the Middle East.
The "pearls" include the Chinese-financed seaport being built at Gwadar,
on the coast of western Pakistan, and commercial and military efforts to
establish bases or diplomatic ties in Bangladesh, Burma, Cambodia,
Thailand and disputed islands in the South China Sea.
The report stated that China's ability to use these pearls for a
"credible" military action is not certain.
Pentagon intelligence officials, however, say the rapid Chinese naval
buildup includes the capability to project power to these sea lanes in the
"They are not doing a lot of surface patrols or any other kind of
security evolutions that far afield," the intelligence official said.
"There's no evidence of [Chinese military basing there] yet, but we do
need to keep an eye toward that expansion."
The report also highlighted the vulnerability of China's oil and gas
infrastructure to a crippling U.S. attack.
"The U.S. military could severely cripple Chinese resistance [during a
conflict over Taiwan] by blocking its energy supply, whereas the [People's
Liberation Army navy] poses little threat to United States' energy
security," it said.
China views the United States as "a potential threat because of its
military superiority, its willingness to disrupt China's energy imports,
its perceived encirclement of China and its disposition toward
manipulating international politics," the report said.
The report stated that China will resort "to extreme, offensive and
mercantilist measures when other strategies fail, to mitigate its
vulnerabilities, such as seizing control of energy resources in
U.S. officials have said two likely targets for China are the Russian Far
East, which has vast oil and gas deposits, and Southeast Asia, which also
has oil and gas resources.
Michael Pillsbury, a former Pentagon official and specialist on China's
military, said the internal U.S. government debate on the issue and
excessive Chinese secrecy about its military buildup "has cost us 10 years
to figure out what to do"
"Everybody is starting to acknowledge the hard facts," Mr. Pillsbury
said. "The China military buildup has been accelerating since 1999. As the
buildup has gotten worse, China is trying hard to mask it."
Richard Fisher, vice president of the International Assessment and
Strategy Center, said that in 10 years, the Chinese army has shifted from
a defensive force to an advanced military soon capable of operations
ranging from space warfare to global non-nuclear cruise-missile strikes.
"Let's all wake up. The post-Cold War peace is over," Mr. Fisher said.
"We are now in an arms race with a new superpower whose goal is to contain
and overtake the United States."