Admiral urges rapid U.S. buildup of hypersonic and medium-range missiles to counter China threat
China has deployed electronic attack systems and other military facilities on disputed islands in the South China Sea and is now capable of controlling the strategic waterway, according to the admiral slated to be the next Pacific Command chief.
Additionally, the command nominee Adm. Philip Davidson told the Senate Armed Services Committee in a written statement this week that the military urgently needs hypersonic and other advanced weaponry to defeat China’s People’s Liberation Army in a future conflict.
“In the future, hypersonic and directed energy weapons, resilient space, cyber and network-capabilities, and well-trained soldiers, sailors, airmen, marines, and coastguardsmen will be crucial to our ability to fight and win,” the four-star admiral said in written answers to questions from the Senate Armed Services Committee.
On China’s militarization and take over of the South China Sea, Davidson said the buildup of forward military bases began in December 2013 at Johnson Reef in the Spratly islands. Since then, the Chinese have fortified that reef and six others with military facilities, Davidson said.
“In the South China Sea, the PLA has constructed a variety of radar, electronic attack, and defense capabilities on the disputed Spratly Islands, to include: Cuarteron Reef, Fiery Cross Reef, Gaven Reef, Hughes Reef, Johnson Reef, Mischief Reef and Subi Reef,” Davidson said.
“These facilities significantly expand the real-time domain awareness, [intelligence, surveillance reconnaissance], and jamming capabilities of the PLA over a large portion of the South China Sea, presenting a substantial challenge to U.S. military operations in this region,” he added.
The bases on the seven islands include hangars, barracks, underground fuel and water storage facilities, and bunkers for “offense and defensive kinetic and non-kinetic systems,” he states.
The militarization contradicts a promise from Chinese supreme leader Xi Jinping not to militarize the South China Sea that is used as a waterway transit for an estimated $5.3 trillion in goods annually.
“These actions stand in direct contrast to the assertion that President Xi made in 2015 in the Rose Garden when he commented that Beijing had no intent to militarize the South China Sea,” Davidson said.
“Today these forward operating bases appear complete. The only thing lacking are the deployed forces.”
The occupied islands will permit China to extend its influence thousands of miles southward and project power deep into the Oceania.
“The PLA will be able to use these bases to challenge U.S. presence in the region, and any forces deployed to the islands would easily overwhelm the military forces of any other South China Sea-claimants,” Davidson said. “In short, China is now capable of controlling the South China Sea in all scenarios short of war with the United States.”
In the East China Sea, China continues to send aircraft and ships to waters near Japan’s Senkaku Islands, which China is claiming as its islands. The Chinese have continued a steady level of activity that reflects “China’s intent to coerce Japan without sparking a crisis or conflict,” Davidson said.
China’s relations with the democratic ruled island of Taiwan remain tense and any improvement in relations was described by Davidson as dim.
The statements revealed new details about China’s military buildup and regional expansion the prepared answers to policy questions.
The admiral described the Chinese military buildup as “the most ambitious military modernization in the world,” and warned “the threat to U.S. forces and bases is substantial and growing.”
Beijing’s cyber warfare capabilities are significant and go well beyond intelligence-gathering with plans for attacks on military command and control networks, he said.
China also is weaponizing space with missiles, jammers, and lasers capable of killing satellites, key American military power projection tools.
The four-star admiral said if confirmed to lead the Pacific Command, he will carry out a buildup of Navy, Army, and Air Force forces in the region to confront the growing threat posed by China, in addition to continuing dangers from North Korea.
Current naval forces are insufficient in backing Pacific Command’s needs, he said.
Full article: Pacom Nominee: China Military Islands Now Control South China Sea (Washington Free Beacon)