WHY WE CAN’T GET ALONG?
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.