Pentagon: China's military clout
'a problem here and now'
Special to World Tribune.com
Wednesday, April 20, 2005
A senior Pentagon official told Congress last week that China's military power is growing. "We have watched as China's armed forces have progressed rapidly," said Peter Rodman, assistant defense secretary for international security affairs.
Copyright © 2005 East West
Rodman noted that the threat from China is not only a future challenge but "a problem here and now."
Double-digit percentage rate increases in military spending for the past 15 have sped up China's military buildup, Rodman told a joint hearing of the House International Relations and Armed Services Committees.
"The PLA is no longer a Third World military force," he said. "In certain areas it is becoming a First World military force — in areas such as ballistic and cruise missiles, advanced fighters and multi-role aircraft, advanced submarines with anti-ship cruise missiles. It is now a force that is gradually tipping the balance of regional military power and posing a greater danger to U.S. military forces in a potential conflict."
China cannot match U.S. military capabilities, but "it does not need to," Rodman said. "China has already achieved a significant asymmetric capability that raises the risks to U.S. forces and thereby could change our calculus in a potential cross-Strait crisis."
Rodman made the comments in arguing against the European Union's plan to lift its arms embargo on China. China has acquired many of its new weapons abroad, he said, and EU arms sales, even with the embargo, increased eightfold from 2001 to 2003.