New York Times: China’s Naval Ambitions
Beijing’s drive to extend its military and territorial reach is making America’s close allies in the region nervous and raising legitimate questions about American diplomacy and future military procurement. The commander of America’s Pacific forces recently revealed that China could soon deploy a ballistic missile capable of threatening American aircraft carriers in the region.
The Pentagon has a long history of hyping the Chinese threat to justify expensive weapons purchases, and sinking well-defended ships with ballistic missiles is notoriously hard. But what should rightly concern American military planners is not so much the missile but the new Chinese naval strategy behind it.
China seems increasingly intent on challenging United States naval supremacy in the Western Pacific. At the same time it is aggressively pressing its claims to disputed offshore islands in the East and South China Seas. Washington must respond, carefully but firmly.
The Pentagon must accelerate efforts to make American naval forces in Asia less vulnerable to Chinese missile threats by giving them the means to project their deterrent power from further offshore.