CHINA’S NEW CRUISER

The Washington Times Weekly - - Geopolitics - BY BILL GERTZ

China is de­vel­op­ing an ad­vanced guided mis­sile cruiser that rep­re­sents a ma­jor step for­ward in Bei­jing’s large-scale naval war­fare buildup.

Im­ages of a land-based mock-up of the new war­ship were dis­closed re­cently on the Chi­nese In­ter­net.

The ship has been iden­ti­fied as the first cruiser called Type 055.

In gen­eral, cruis­ers are big­ger than de­stroy­ers, but smaller than bat­tle­ships.

The new cruiser is ex­pected to fea­ture an ad­vanced long-range radar and is ex­pected to be part of China’s of­fen­sive mis­sile-shoot­ing ships and its new mis­sile de­fense sys­tem, ac­cord­ing to naval an­a­lysts.

A con­gres­sional naval war­fare an­a­lyst said China’s first cruiser is a sig­nif­i­cant naval war­fare ad­vance­ment for the Chi­nese.

“Un­til now, we have known only about Chi­nese frigates and de­stroy­ers. A cruiser would go be­yond that and would be an­other marker of the scope of China’s naval mod­ern­iza­tion effort,” the an­a­lyst told In­side the Ring. “No other coun­try in the world to­day — not even the United States — is cur­rently plan­ning a new cruiser.”

The Navy’s cur­rent 30-year ship­build­ing plan does not in­clude any cruis­ers, although Zumwalt-class de­stroy­ers, weigh­ing more than 15,000 tons, blur the line be­tween de­stroyer and cruiser.

China’s new cruiser is be­lieved to be in the 10,000ton range, putting it roughly on par with Aegis de­stroy­ers that weigh about 9,500 tons.

“A Chi­nese ship of roughly 10,000 tons would not be sig­nif­i­cantly larger than ships in our fleet that we call de­stroy­ers,” the an­a­lyst said.

Rick Fisher, a Chi­nese mil­i­tary af­fairs an­a­lyst, also said the new Chi­nese cruiser is a ma­jor devel­op­ment.

Pho­tos show a mock-up of the new Type 055 cruiser be­ing built in Wuhan.

“From the model in Wuhan we can es­ti­mate that it will have a bal­anced of­fen­sive and de­fen­sive ar­ma­ment suite suited for the role of pro­tect­ing air­craft car­ri­ers and other cap­i­tal ships as part of new large and wide-rang­ing naval bat­tle groups,” said Mr. Fisher, who is with the In­ter­na­tional As­sess­ment and Strat­egy Cen­ter.

“This, in turn, means that China is quickly adding to its largely East-Asia fo­cused mil­i­tary buildup, the fu­ture mis­sion to project power well be­yond Asia.”

In ad­di­tion to the Type 055 and a new at­tack sub­ma­rine called the Type 039C sub­ma­rine, China is build­ing a strate­gic power pro­jec­tion air­craft called the Y-20 heavy mil­i­tary trans­port along with new medium weight mech­a­nized ar­mor ve­hi­cles.

“This is a dis­cor­dant thought for U.S. mil­i­tary plan­ners who are cur­rently fo­cused on ful­fill­ing ‘Air Sea Bat­tle’ strate­gies to counter China’s in­creas­ingly ca­pa­ble ‘anti-ac­cess’ threats in East Asia,” Mr. Fisher said.

“The Obama ad­min­is­tra­tion is seem­ingly obliv­i­ous to how Rus­sia and China are build­ing real fu­ture threats to U.S. se­cu­rity as it blindly pur­sues ide­o­log­i­cally in­spired goals of ‘nu­clear dis­ar­ma­ment’ and forces re­peated cuts in U.S. mil­i­tary ca­pa­bil­ity in or­der to fund its do­mes­tic agenda,” Mr. Fisher said. said Gen. Her­bert “Hawk” Carlisle.

Rus­sian long-range strate­gic bombers have stepped up mis­sions near the coast of Cal­i­for­nia and have cir­cled the U.S. territory of Guam. The flights near Guam were in­ter­cepted by U.S. F-15 jets.

Gen. Carlisle, speak­ing Mon­day at the Cen­ter for Strate­gic and In­ter­na­tional Stud­ies in Wash­ing­ton, said Rus­sian strate­gic bomber flights around Ja­pan and the Korean penin­sula also have “in­creased dras­ti­cally” in re­cent months.

“And there has been a lot more in the way of ship ac­tiv­ity as well,” he said.

“It’s to demon­strate their ca­pa­bil­i­ties and it’s to gather in­tel, ob­vi­ously” on U.S. and al­lied mil­i­tary ex­er­cises in the re­gion that are a ma­jor el­e­ment of the U.S. pivot to Asia, the four-star gen­eral said.

The in­crease in Rus­sian mil­i­tary ac­tiv­ity ap­pears re­lated to Moscow’s ac­tiv­i­ties in Ukraine, he said.

Gen. Carlisle also said China has been en­gaged in “as­sertive and ag­gres­sive” ac­tiv­i­ties re­lated to dis­puted mar­itime claims in the East China, South China and Yel­low seas.

China’s uni­lat­eral im­po­si­tion of an air de­fense iden­ti­fi­ca­tion zone (ADIZ) over the East China Sea was done with no con­sul­ta­tion, does not fol­low in­ter­na­tional law and norms, and in­cluded an “un­de­fined threat,” he said.

“Ba­si­cally, [the threat] says, ‘You fol­low our rules, and you do what we tell you to do within that ADIZ, and we have the right to take spe­cial de­fen­sive mea­sures,’” Gen. Carlisle said.

Mike Green, a for­mer White House Na­tional Se­cu­rity Coun­cil Asia pol­i­cy­maker, said the in­creased Rus­sian ac­tiv­ity is “evoca­tive of the Cold War.”

Gen. Carlisle was tar­geted by Chi­nese state-run me­dia in Au­gust, when mil­i­tary com­men­ta­tors ac­cused the gen­eral of en­gag­ing in “Cold War think­ing” and seek­ing to “en­cir­cle” China with ad­vanced mil­i­tary air­craft.

AS­SO­CI­ATED PRESS

A land-based mock up of China’s first cruiser un­der con­struc­tion rep­re­sents a ma­jor step for­ward in Bei­jing’s naval buildup.

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