China buildup seen aimed at U.S. ships, con­gres­sional of­fi­cial says

The Washington Times Weekly - - National - By Bill Gertz

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.”

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