The Washington Times Weekly - - Geopolitics -

For­mer State Depart­ment of­fi­cial Kurt Camp­bell re­cently ex­plained why 20 years of Pen­tagon ef­forts to build trust with the Chi­nese mil­i­tary have been dif­fi­cult: China wants to drive the U.S. mil­i­tary out of Asia, and op­er­ates un­der a dif­fer­ent strate­gic cul­ture from that of the United States.

Mr. Camp­bell, a long­time Asia pol­i­cy­maker at both State and the Pen­tagon, said the dan­ger of a U.S.-China mil­i­tary con­fronta­tion was high­lighted by the Dec. 5 near-col­li­sion be­tween the guided-mis­sile de­stroyer USS Cow­pens and a Chi­nese war­ship in the South China Sea. coun­tries are work­ing on hy­per­sonic weapons, the know-how will spread and the Navy even­tu­ally will be con­fronted by them.

In con­trast, Chi­nese mil­i­tary spokes­men in re­cent days trum­peted the hy­per­sonic glide ve­hi­cle test as a ma­jor ad­vance that can be used to strike U.S. air­craft car­ri­ers.

Chi­nese mil­i­tary ex­pert Chen Hu told state tele­vi­sion last week that the new weapon “can surely be used against U.S. car­ri­ers in any re­gion around the globe.” The ve­hi­cle is “de­signed to strike large mil­i­tary tar­gets in­clud­ing U.S. air­craft car­ri­ers,” he said.

China of­ten uses such mil­i­tary ex­perts as spokes­men for of­fi­cial pol­icy, de­spite the fact that Mr. Chen’s com­ments con­tra­dict those of the De­fense Min­istry con­firm­ing the test. The min­istry said the hy­per­sonic weapon is not tar­get­ing any coun­try.

Adm. Lock­lear’s com­ments fol­low his re­marks in March, when he said dur­ing a speech in Bos­ton that global cli­mate change was “prob­a­bly the most likely thing that is go­ing to hap­pen that will crip­ple the se­cu­rity en­vi­ron­ment, prob­a­bly more likely than the other sce­nar­ios we all of­ten talk about.” Those re­marks prompted wide­spread sur­prise among of­fi­cials and non-gov­ern­ment an­a­lysts be­cause they ap­peared to ig­nore threats from China and North Korea.

Com­mand spokes­men later sought to clar­ify the ad­mi­ral’s cli­mate change re­marks, and last week Adm. Lock­lear ap­peared to re­vise his threat as­sess­ment, stat­ing that North Korea — but not China — poses the most im­mi­nent dan­ger.

“Peo­ple ask me, what do you worry about the most day to day? And I worry about the un­pre­dictabil­ity of a North Korea, [its leader] Kim Jong-un and the ca­pa­bil­ity he has to ba­si­cally not only threaten our home­land but put a se­ri­ous cat­a­clysmic event in place on the Korean Penin­sula, which would quite lit­er­ally dis­rupt the en­tire world,” the four-star ad­mi­ral said.


Kurt Camp­bell, for­mer as­sis­tant sec­re­tary of state for East Asia and Pa­cific Af­fairs, said China wants to drive the U.S. mil­i­tary out of Asia. Camp­bell said the U.S. has fought for years to de­velop “rules of the road” for mil­i­tary in­ter­ac­tion.

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