China buildup seen aimed at U.S. ships, congressional official says
China’smilitarybuildupincludes newmissilesandnavalweaponsdesigned to sink U.S. aircraft carriers and deny U.S. forces access to the Asia-Pacificregion, a congressional commission official said on Nov. 21.
Daniel Blumenthal, a former Pentagondefensepolicy-makerand now a member of the U.S.-China Economic Security Review Commission, said China’s military is building up forces to “deny the United States the use of the commons — the sea, the air, cyber and space.”
“The Chinese have been quite successful [. . . ] in the area of sea de- nial, meaning that if we sent a carrier to or outside the [Taiwan] Strait as we did in 1996, it would be a lot riskierandalotcostliertotheUnited States,” Mr. Blumenthal said at a conference held at the Heritage Foundation.
The comments followed disclosure two weeks ago that a Chinese submarine sailed undetected to within five miles of the aircraft carrierUSSKittyHawknearOkinawa, Japan,andsurfacedcloseenoughto fire wake-homing torpedos or antiship cruise missiles, according to U.S. defense officials.
The Navy said in response to the surprise encounter that it is reviewinganti-submarinewarfaredefenses for the carrier battle group. The carrier was engaged in exercises when the Song-class submarine surfaced Oct. 26.
China’s government denied that the submarine encounter took place, but Adm. Gary Roughead, commander of the Navy’s Pacific Fleet, said Nov. 17 in Beijing that Chinese military leaders he met told him the submarine was in international waters when it was near the carrier.
Mr. Blumenthal, commenting on the release of the China commission’s latest annual report, said Chinese weapons include 10 different types of ballistic and cruise missiles and up to 800 missiles aimed at Taiwan, five different types of submarines and 15 types of new warships.
“This is a very concerted and sophisticated,diversifiedefforttobuild up a military whose goal is the United States and its ability to meet itsowncommitmentsandinterests,” he said.
Beijing’s military also is experimenting with new attack concepts, including land-based attacks on ships “through multiple entry concepts” in what Mr. Blumenthal called “a very serious effort to try to basically sink a carrier or battle group.”
The commission report, while mainly focused on economic issues, included a chapter on China’s military that said China’s military buildup is closing a gap with U.S. forces. The trend shows “a window ofvulnerabilityfortheUnitedStates between 2008 and 2015” before newer U.S. weapons are fielded, the report continued.
The report revealed that China’s newDF-21Cballisticmissileisbeing configured with a guidance system thatwillallowittoattackshipsatsea and defeat shipborne missile defenses. The “development efforts are being pursued vigorously,” it stated.
The report stated that China’s warships and submarines could delay the arrival of U.S. Navy forces called on to defend Taiwan, but they lack integrated command and control needed for “effective joint targeting of a carrier battle group.”