by Rick Rozoff
August 15, 2010
Relations between the U.S. and China have been steadily deteriorating since
the beginning of the year when Washington confirmed the completion of a $6.4
billion arms deal with Taiwan and China suspended military-to-military ties
with the U.S. in response.
In January the Chinese Defense Ministry announced the cessation of military
exchanges between the two countries and the Foreign Ministry warned of
enforcing sanctions against American companies involved with weapons sales
The Washington Post reported afterward that during a two-day Strategic
and Economic Dialogue in Beijing this May attended by approximately 65
U.S. officials, Rear Admiral Guan Youfei of the People's Liberation
Army accused Washington of,
"plotting to encircle China with strategic
alliances" and said arms deals with Taiwan "prove that the United States
views China as an enemy." 
During the 9th Asia Security Summit (Shangri-La
Dialogue conference) in Singapore in early June a rancorous exchange
occurred between U.S. Secretary of Defense Robert Gates and Major
General Zhu Chenghu, director of China's National Defense University.
The Chinese official lambasted the U.S. over
more than $12 billion in proposed arms transactions with Taiwan in the past
two years, stating they were designed to prevent the reunification of China.
The preceding week China had rebuffed Gates' request to visit Beijing after
the Singapore summit.
At that conference Gates spoke of "our collective responsibility to protect
the peace and reinforce stability in Asia" in reference to the sinking of
the South Korean corvette the Cheonan in late March.
Major General Zhu reacted by casting doubts on the U.S. account of the
ship's sinking and indicated that,
"America’s stance over the Cheonan was
hypocritical given its failure to condemn the Israeli commando raid on a
flotilla of ships carrying supplies to Gaza on May 31, which resulted in
the death of nine activists."
He also warned that the latest Taiwan arms
package threatened China's “core interests.” 
At the same event, General Ma Xiaotian, deputy
head of the People's Liberation Army General Staff Department, itemized
obstacles to the resumption of U.S.-China military relations, including
Washington providing weapons to Taiwan and,
"frequent espionage activities by US ships
and aircraft in the waters and airspace of China's exclusive economic
Matters went from bad to worse after Gates and
Secretary of State Hillary Clinton visited South Korea in late July,
accompanied by Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Admiral Michael
Mullen and Admiral Robert Willard, commander of U.S. Pacific
Command, and on July 20 Gates, Mullen and Willard announced the U.S. would
conduct a series of war games with South Korea in the Yellow Sea and the Sea
The first such exercise, the four-day Invincible Spirit naval maneuvers,
started on July 25 and was led by the USS George Washington Carrier Strike
Group, named after the 97,000-ton nuclear-powered supercarrier at its core,
and involved 8,000 military personnel, 20 warships and 200 warplanes,
including F-22 Raptor fifth generation stealth fighters, deployed to the
region for the first time.
Shifted from the Yellow Sea, which borders the
Chinese mainland, to the Sea of Japan (on which Russia has a coastline) at
the last moment, the drills nevertheless antagonized China and were
transparently intended to produce that effect.
While in South Korea five days before the naval exercises began, Admiral
Willard - head of the largest U.S. overseas military command, Pacific
Command - announced that future war games of comparable scope would be held
in the Yellow Sea, where China has an extensive coastline and claims a
200-mile exclusive economic zone.
Joining a chorus of major U.S. military and civilian officials making
statements that could only be intended to taunt China,
"Willard said he is
not concerned about China’s feeling about U.S.-South Korean naval exercises
in that area."
In his own words,
"If I have a concern vis-a-vis China it’s that China exert
itself to influence Pyongyang to see that incidents like Cheonan don’t occur
in the future.” 
His comment is entirely in line with others issued before and afterward.
During the Group of 20 (G20) summit in Toronto on June 27 U.S. President
Barack Obama held a "blunt" conversation with Chinese President
and accused him of “willful blindness” in relation to the Cheonan incident.
In mid-July Pentagon spokesman Geoff Morrell dismissed and belittled China's
concerns over not only large-scale but ongoing U.S. naval exercises on both
sides of the Korean Peninsula by stating,
“Those determinations are made by
us, and us alone... Where we exercise, when we exercise, with whom and how,
using what assets and so forth, are determinations that are made by the
United States Navy, by the Department of Defense, by the United States
On August 6 Morrell confirmed that U.S. warships
will lead exercises in the Yellow Sea in the near future.
Shortly afterward, while preparing to leave for South Korea, Chairman of the
Joint Chiefs of Staff Mullen said,
"the Yellow Sea specifically is an
international body of water and the United States, you know, always reserves
the right to operate in those international waters. That’s what those are.
Certainly, you know, I hear what the Chinese are saying with respect to
that, but in fact we’ve exercised in the Yellow Sea for a long time and I
fully expect that we’ll do so in the future." 
On July 21 Deputy Secretary of State James Steinberg, who had recently
returned from visits to Kazakhstan, Uzbekistan, Kyrgyzstan, Mongolia and
Japan, spoke at the Nixon Center in Washington, D.C., and in addition to
speaking of "our traditional alliances with Japan, South Korea, Australia,
Thailand, and the Philippines," stated:
"I think the most important [problem with bilateral relations] is the
continued unwillingness of China to deepen the mil-to-mil engagement between
the United States and China.
"At the same time, so that there is no mistake about our intentions, we made
clear that we will exercise when and where we want to when we need to
consistent with international law. And that, as I’ve said, we’ve clearly
indicated in the past. We’ve exercised in the Yellow Sea. We will exercise
in the Yellow Sea again."
To rub the salt deeper into the wound, he added:
"We do not consult with
China on Taiwan arms sales. We make a judgment based on what we believe are
the legitimate defensive needs of Taiwan for arms sales." 
While in South Korea last month for the first "two plus two" meetings
between the U.S. Secretaries of State and Defense and South Korean
"to commemorate the 60th anniversary of the Korean War,"
 Hillary Clinton and Pentagon chief Robert Gates visited the
Demilitarized Zone separating North and South Korea, still technically at
war, to "show solidarity with their allies in Seoul." 
The following day Clinton arrived in the capital of Vietnam for the 17th
Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) Regional Forum and a
U.S.-ASEAN post-ministerial meeting on July 23 and 22, respectively.
in Hanoi she spoke of territorial disputes over the Spratly and Paracel
island chains between China on one hand and Vietnam, Brunei, Malaysia and
the Philippines (the last four members of ASEAN) on the other.
On July 23, in a blunt reference to China, she said that the U.S.,
national interest in freedom of navigation, open access to Asia’s maritime
commons, and respect for international law in the South China Sea,” where
the islands are located, and that “We oppose the use or threat of force by
any claimant,” as "America’s future is intimately tied to that of the
Clinton formally initiated a campaign to recruit the ten members of ASEAN -
Vietnam, Brunei, Cambodia, Indonesia, Laos, Malaysia, Myanmar (Burma), the
Philippines, Singapore and Thailand - into a rapidly evolving Asian NATO
aimed against China.
After seven months of unrelenting challenges to China, when it appeared that
enough gratuitous insults and mounting threats had already been issued, the
USS George Washington aircraft carrier arrived in the Sea of Japan on July
Three years before, the U.S. Defense Department released a report on China
which claimed it was,
"pursuing long-term, comprehensive transformation of
its military forces to enable it to project power and deny other countries
the ability to threaten it." 
Proceeding from that perspective, Washington is ensuring that China will be
so thoroughly boxed in by U.S. warships, submarines, interceptor missile
systems and advanced deep penetrating stealth bombers - and a ring of U.S.
military client states ready to host American ships, planes, troops, missile
shield installations and bases - that it indeed will not be able to protect
itself from the threat of attack.
Eleven days after the completion of the U.S.-South Korean naval exercises in
the Sea of Japan, the U.S. Seventh Fleet began a weeklong series of naval
maneuvers with Vietnam, the first-ever such joint exercises.
USS George Washington, fresh from the recently concluded naval war games
with South Korea, arrived in the South China Sea for the occasion.
"The formidable USS George Washington is a permanent presence in the
Pacific, based in Japan. As one of the world's biggest warships, it is a
floating city that can carry up to 70 aircraft, more than 5,000 sailors and
aviators and about 4 million pounds (1.8 million kilograms) of bombs.
lurked Sunday [August 8] about 200 miles (320 kilometers) off the central
coast of Danang, Vietnam's jumping-off point for the disputed [Spratly and
Captain Ross Myers, commander of the George Washington's air wing, was
quoted echoing Clinton's earlier assertion that,
"The strategic implications
and importance of the waters of the South China Sea and the freedom of
navigation is vital to both Vietnam and the United States." He was
interviewed "as fighter jets thundered off the flight deck above."
Several high-ranking Vietnamese military and civilian officials as well as
the U.S. ambassador to the country were flown onto the supercarrier,
observe the strike group as it operates in the South China Sea," 
near the contested Spratly islands.
With senior Vietnamese government and military officials aboard, USS George
"cruised near the Paracel Islands - another chain claimed by both
China and Vietnam." 
On August 10 the guided missile destroyer USS John S. McCain docked at Da
Nang in central Vietnam, in its first visit to the country, to join the
joint naval maneuvers in the South China Sea.
Rear Admiral Ron Horton, commander of Task Force 73 of the U.S. Seventh
"This is indicative of the increasingly closer ties between the
U.S. and Vietnam. Exchanges like this are vital for our navies to gain a
greater understanding of one another, and build important relationships for
the future." 
The U.S. Seventh Fleet is,
"the largest of the forward-deployed U.S. fleets,
with 50-60 ships, 350 aircraft and 60,000 Navy and Marine Corps personnel."
That is, the mightiest seaborne military machine in the
As the U.S.-Vietnamese naval exercises were underway in the South China Sea,
an article by a former commander of the U.S. Pacific Fleet (assigned to U.S.
Pacific Command), Retired Admiral James Lyons, appeared in the editorial
pages of the Washington Times which advocated that,
"The United States should
consider leasing big-ticket military hardware to the Philippines to give it
the capability to defend its sovereign territory against Chinese
expansionism in the South China Sea..."
In particular, he said,
"the US should consider leasing a squadron of F-16
along with T-38 supersonic trainers, an aircraft for maritime patrol, and
two FFG-7 guided-missile frigates to provide a recognized capability to
enforce the Philippines’ offshore territorial claims."
He also wrote that "now that President Barack Obama’s administration has
directly challenged China, the US should expand its relations with ASEAN 'by
building on our Mutual Defense Treaty with the Philippines.'
"The US should negotiate a commercial agreement for access to logistic
support facilities in Subic Bay,"  where the U.S. maintained
a naval base until the Philippine Senate ordered it closed in 1991.
Washington's project for an Asian NATO designed to surround and neutralize
China is not limited to Southeast Asia and ASEAN.
The U.S. is currently leading this year's Khaan Quest (pronounced like
conquest) military exercises in Mongolia on China's northern border with
troops from military partners Canada, France, Germany, India, Japan, South
Korea and Singapore. Previous Khaan Quest exercises going back to 2003
trained Mongolian troops for deployment to Iraq and Afghanistan. 
On August 16 U.S. and British troops will begin ten days of military drills
in Kazakhstan, on China's northwest border, in the 2010 Steppe Eagle,
"multinational exercise, part of NATO's Partnership for Peace program..."
"The exercise is intended to assist Kazakhstan's Ministry of
Defense in its
stated aim to generate a NATO inter-operable peace support operational
capability," according to British military attaché Simon Fitzgibbon.
Kazakhstan deployed a "peacekeeping" contingent to Iraq in 2003
and may be tapped for one to serve under NATO in Afghanistan.
To China's south, a senior Indian Air Force official recently disclosed that
his government is upgrading another air base near the Chinese border to
According to the U.S. Defense News website,
moves are part of the effort to strengthen India's defenses against China."
In June India approved a $3.3 billion deal to purchase 42 more Su-30
air-to-air and air-to-surface jet fighters, bringing the planned total to
272 by 2018.
Regarding a joint Russian-Indian long-range multirole jet fighter/strike
fighter adaptation of the Su-30, the same Indian official said,
nuclear-armed Su-30MKI could fly deep inside China with midair refueling."
On China's Western flank where a narrow strip of land connects the two
countries, the U.S. Defense Department announced on August 11 that, in
addition to 30,000 U.S. forces not so assigned,
"The NATO-led International
Security Assistance Force in Afghanistan now has almost 120,000 troops from
47 different countries assigned to it,"  including forces
from Asia-Pacific nations South Korea, Mongolia, Malaysia, Australia and New
The noose is tightening around China and the nation's military knows it.
1) Washington Post, June 8, 2010
2) Jamestown Foundation, June 24, 2010
3) China Daily, June 7, 2010
4) United States Department of Defense, July 20, 2010
5) U.S. Risks Military Clash With China In Yellow Sea
Stop NATO, July 16, 2010
6) Agence France-Presse, July 14, 2010
7) Joint Chiefs of Staff, July 19, 2010
8) United States Department of State, July 27, 2010
9) U.S. Department of State, July 21, 2010
10) BBC News, July 21, 2010
11) Bureau of International Information Programs, U.S. Department of
July 23, 2010
12) Voice of America News, May 26, 2007
13) Associated Press, August 8, 2010
14) Navy NewsStand, August 9, 2010
15) Voice of America News, August 10, 2010
16) Navy NewsStand, August 9, 2010
18) Philippine Star, August 10, 2010
19) Mongolia: Pentagon Trojan Horse Wedged Between China And Russia
Stop NATO, March 31, 2010
20) Reuters, August 13, 2010
Kazakhstan: U.S., NATO Seek Military Outpost Between Russia And China
Stop NATO, April 14, 2010
21) Defense News, August 12, 2010
22) United States Department of Defense, American Forces Press Service,
August 11, 2010
From "Gunboat Diplomacy" to Confrontation
August 18, 2010
On August 16 the U.S. and its South Korean military ally began this year's
Ulchi Freedom Guardian military exercises in South Korea.
The ten-day warfighting drills involve 56,000
troops from the host country and 30,000 from the U.S. Last year's version of
the annual war games featured the same amount of South Korean soldiers but
only a third as many American troops, 10,000. The commander in charge of the
American forces, General Walter Sharp, described the current exercise
as "one of the largest joint staff directed theater exercises in the world."
In all over 500,000 South Korean military and
government participants are involved. 
Ulchi Freedom Guardian 2010 is the latest and largest in a series of almost
uninterrupted war games and naval maneuvers conducted over the past five
weeks in the region: The Korean Peninsula, the seas on either side of it,
and the South China Sea.
Three of the four nations involved are regional actors:
The other is not: The United States.
Washington led the four-day Invincible Spirit
joint war games with South Korea in the Sea of Japan off the east coast of
the Korean Peninsula from July 25-28, which were highlighted by the
participation of the almost 100,000-ton nuclear-powered supercarrier USS
George Washington among 20 warships, 200 warplanes including F-22 Raptor
stealth fighters, and 8,000 troops.
A Chinese news agency said of the exercises
"they were no ordinary war games" but
"were unprecedented in the past three decades both in terms of scale and
weaponry. The resources involved were said to be enough for launching a
"The US-South Korean war games were said to be aimed at preventing a
repeat of incidents like the sinking of South Korea's Cheonan warship
and maintaining peace on the Korean Peninsula. However, the war games
were more than enough to intimidate the Democratic People's Republic of
Korea... They were actually a show of force against China..."
After their completion, the South Korean
government announced that the U.S. and Seoul will conduct,
“a joint military exercise every month until
the end of the year.” 
The Nimitz class aircraft carrier George
Washington returned to its base in Japan only to head to the South China Sea
eleven days later to engage with another major U.S. warship in the
first-ever joint naval exercises with Vietnam in the neighborhood of the
Spratly and Paracel islands.
The docking of the USS John S. McCain destroyer
in a Vietnamese harbor and the "lurking" of USS George Washington in the
South China Sea near the two island chains were both unprecedented events.
The maneuvers were an open challenge to and clear act of defiance toward
China, following by two weeks U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton's
announcement in the Vietnamese capital that the U.S. was prepared to
intervene in territorial disputes over the above-mentioned islands on behalf
of claimants Vietnam, Taiwan, Brunei, the Philippines and Malaysia against
Two days before throwing down the gauntlet to Beijing, Clinton and Robert
Gates, Admiral Michael Mullen, and Admiral Robert Willard
- the last three America's top defense official, top military commander and
chief of its largest overseas combat command, U.S. Pacific Command - were in
South Korea to commemorate the 60th anniversary of the beginning of the
The conflict whose start they marked soon
escalated into the U.S.'s first war with China, a point hard to miss in the
While in South Korea, Gates, Mullen and Willard confirmed plans for regular
U.S.-South Korean joint military exercises, including in the Yellow Sea off
the west coast of the Korean Peninsula. The bulk of the sea's coastline is
The four-day U.S.-South Korean naval exercises late last month were
initially to have been conducted in the Yellow Sea, but were moved to the
other end of the Koreas, the Sea of Japan, because of Chinese objections.
If the ongoing Ulchi Freedom Guardian exercise is an annual event and
one scheduled well in advance, the U.S.-led naval exercises off Korean and
Vietnamese shores were not. And if the Invincible Spirit war games were
announced as strictly targeted at North Korea, joint maneuvers with Vietnam
in the South China Sea had nothing to do with the March 26 sinking of the
South Korean Cheonan warship.
The past month has witnessed an unbroken succession of military activities
near and off China's coasts; some scheduled, some hastily arranged; some
routine, some extraordinary; some conducted by one or another regional
state, several under the lead of the U.S.
To place matters in perspective, on March 4 the Chinese government announced
a $78 billion defense budget for 2010 with the lowest annual growth rate -
7.5% - since 1989, half that of recent years.
According to a New York Times report on
the topic and on the date in question,
"China’s military spending is still dwarfed
by that of the United States, which has about $719 billion in outlays
this year for national defense." 
Assuming the accuracy of the above figures, U.S.
military spending per capita this year will be almost forty times that of
China, $2,330 to $60.
The U.S. has eleven aircraft carriers, ten of them nuclear-powered
supercarriers, and eleven carrier strike groups. China has no aircraft
carriers. Unlike the U.S., China is not building a global interceptor
missile system with land, sea, air, and space components nor is it
developing an equivalent of the Pentagon's Prompt Global Strike project to
strike any spot on earth within minutes.
China has not been guilty of military aggression against another nation
since 1979, when it attacked northern Vietnam (with Washington's blessing).
In anticipation of the deployment of USS George Washington to what at the
time what thought to be the Yellow Sea, China's People's Liberation Army
held a military supply exercises in that sea on July 17 and 18.
Codenamed Warfare 2010, drills were held,
"amid reported tension over a scheduled
joint exercise between the United States and Republic of Korea (ROK)
The exercises were held "deep in the Yellow Sea"
 and "aimed at improving defense capabilities against
"Four helicopters and four rescue vessels
were deployed for the exercise... Tanks were also loaded onto vessels at
a port in Yantai, Shandong province... Similarly, rail[s] transported
tanks to ships and other military equipment was transferred to
The exercise focused on transporting
military supplies for future joint battles... The drill came at a
sensitive time with Washington and Seoul scheduled to hold a joint
military exercise in the Yellow Sea." 
As the U.S.-South Korean naval, air and
anti-submarine exercises began on July 25, China's navy (People's Liberation
Army Navy: PLAN) "conducted a large-scale, live-ammunition exercise in the
South China Sea," days before the arrival of USS John S. McCain and USS
George Washington in the sea.
They were supervised by Chen Bingde,
commanding general of the People's Liberation Army General Staff
"Main battleships, submarines and combat
aircraft from the PLAN's three fleets took part in the drill, believed
to be the largest naval maneuver since 1950 when the PLAN was formally
State media say China's military forces this
week conducted the largest exercise of its kind since the founding of
the military, known as the People's Liberation Army. The official Xinhua
news agency reports numerous warships, submarines, and combat aircraft
took part in live fire exercises held Monday [July 26] in the South
China Sea." 
On August 3 China launched major air defense
exercises which included 12,000 troops and 100 aircraft.
China's five-day exercise, called Vanguard
2010, took place,
"over the central province of Henan and the
eastern coastal province of Shandong, which borders the Yellow Sea."
The maneuvers also involved air defense missiles
and artillery units.
Two days later South Korea began its largest-ever anti-submarine drills in
the Yellow Sea with several thousand military personnel, 29 ships and 50
aircraft. Marines based on islands close to the border with North Korea
conducted live-fire exercises during the five-day event.
A report at the time provided details:
"The military practiced sinking enemy
submarines, and responding to coastal artillery fire. It also conducted
a drill to deal with North Korean commandos... Some 4,500 people from
the Army, Navy, Air Force, Marines and maritime police are taking part
in the exercise.
The military has mobilized nearly 30 naval
vessels, including the 14,000-ton amphibious landing ship Dokdo,
4,500-ton KDX-II class destroyers, and about 50 aircraft, including
KF-16 fighter jets." 
No sensible observer can believe that all of the
above developments - moves and countermeasures, drills and counter-drills -
are actuated by the sinking of a South Korean corvette with the death of 46
sailors almost five months ago.
The Chinese military establishment is not buying
In the last two and a half weeks articles have appeared in the Chinese press
containing language that has not been heard in decades, perhaps in half a
century. Warnings of military threats, appeals for caution and conciliation,
fundamental reevaluations of U.S.-Chinese relations, pleas for
de-escalation, and at times uncharacteristically harsh criticism of U.S.
motives and actions.
Toward the end of July General Ma Xiaotian, deputy chief of general
staff of the People's Liberation Army, and Foreign Ministry spokesman Qin
"spoke out against foreign warships
entering, and military aircraft passing over, the Yellow Sea or any
other offshore areas, because they pose a threat to China's security."
"China has to be alarmed when other powers display their military might
near its territory. Will the US allow China to conduct military drills
with neighboring countries in the Gulf of Mexico?"
"Geographically, the Yellow Sea is the door to the Beijing-Tianjin-Hebei
region, which has important security implications for the Bohai Sea Rim,
an important economic zone in China," Xinhua pointed out. 
The same feature mentioned that USS George
Washington has an operational range of 600 kilometers and the warplanes on
its deck a speed of 1,000 kilometers an hour, leaving even the Chinese
capital of Beijing vulnerable to attack.
To confirm Chinese apprehensions, on August 6 a U.S. armed forces
"The USS George Washington will participate
in a joint U.S.-South Korean military exercise in the Yellow Sea in the
near future, despite China’s opposition to the aircraft carrier
operating near its eastern waters."
Pentagon spokesman Geoff Morrell stated
on August 5 that the nuclear-powered supercarrier will participate in war
games in the Yellow Sea which will "include anti-submarine, show-of-force
and bombing exercises." 
The George Washington may join the recently
commenced Ulchi Freedom Guardian exercises which continue to August 26.
Rear Admiral Yang Yi, former head of the Institute of Strategic
Studies at the People's Liberation Army's National Defense University,
said of the news that,
“China will definitely react harshly to the
move. It's hard to predict its specific reaction, but that will for sure
cast a shadow over Sino-U.S. military relations.” 
An unsigned editorial in the Global Times of
August 9 titled "Taking a stand on US provocation" reacted to the Pentagon's
latest threat to dispatch the George Washington to the Yellow Sea.
"The words added to the already sizable
distrust accumulated recently between China and the US. They also
shattered the illusion of some Chinese over how the US treats China.
"In a short period of time, the Sino-US relationship has ebbed quickly
and seems to be still in a downward trend.
"Various US politicians have expressed that the US does not see China as
an enemy. However, words like these and recent actions by the US to
contain China's growth suggest otherwise."
The piece continued in language one would be
hard-pressed to recall reading since the early 1960s on the Chinese side,
where for four decades Henry Kissinger and
Zbigniew Brzezinski have been the most revered foreign
"It seems as if the US is good at playing
games. US politicians are sweet-mouthed but then stab you in the back
when you are not looking.
"This year the US is testing China's resolve over issues ranging from
China's offshore ocean sovereignty, to the Chinese yuan, to trade. Each
time it seriously damages the mutual trust previously built.
"Sovereign unity and national resurgence are two missions China must
"The biggest obstacle to fulfilling those missions comes from the US,
especially from the Pentagon." 
A feature of the same day in the ruling
Communist Party's People's Daily also commented on the deployment of the
U.S. supercarrier, reminding its readers that,
"The Pentagon reportedly said Thursday,
August 5, that the U.S. aircraft carrier USS George Washington would
participate in a series of United States-Republic of Korea (ROK) joint
naval exercises in the Yellow Sea. This series of U.S.-ROK military
exercises includes anti-submarine maritime interdiction operations,
bombing and special armed forces' operations for a 'show of strength.'"
After quoting the president after whom the
aircraft carrier was named that his nation should strive to cultivate amity
and justice toward all and peace and harmony among nations, the Chinese
"With a lapse of more than 200 years, what
kind of strength is the aircraft carrier named after this great American
statesman to show?" 
Also on August 9, a commentary by Major General
Luo Yuan of the Academy of Military Sciences bearing the title
"Chinese people won't stand for US naval provocation," was published which
contained these excerpts:
"Just imagine whether the Chinese people
will believe US President Barack Obama's statement that 'the US does not
seek to contain China' or US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton's claim
'we are in the same boat' if a US aircraft carrier bursts into the
"the US could pretend to not know the likely
reaction, saying that its military exercise with South Korea was just
over the Cheonan issue. Yet now, as the Chinese government has clearly
shown grave concern over the US action, the US remains hard-set on going
its own way. This is a deliberate provocation."
The author, in what a Western newspaper called
"a remarkably forthright view from such a senior military figure," 
also implied a reaction of a non-military nature:
"Imagine what the consequence will be if
China's biggest debtor nation challenges its creditor nation... They
should know that China's rise is the general trend, and no weapons could
resist it. China is the world's largest market, so offending China means
losing, or at least decreasing, market share."
And he provided an example of the saying that
turnabout is fair play:
"Imagine how the US would feel if China
showed the same ignorance of US interests and security as the US is
doing now, and operated military exercises with US neighbors or
competitors in its neighboring or sensitive regions." 
Four days later another article by the same
writer appeared in the People's Daily under the title "US engaging in
As "the United States has insisted on
sending aircraft carriers to the Yellow Sea to provoke China," it is
clear to the military strategist that "the foreign policy of the United
States is still showing three features that have long been part of its
The three components identified are hegemony,
gunboat diplomacy and unilateralism.
Luo Yuan defined and gave examples of each:
"The philosophical foundation of the
American hegemonic mindset is the deep-rooted 'manifest destiny' theory
held by some Americans.
"According to the theory, the American nation is the most outstanding
nation in the world. Its leadership in the world, which is bestowed by
God, is undeniable. Therefore, Americans have the responsibility to
handle world affairs and will appear wherever problems take place.
Nevertheless, the results are usually the opposite - things become worse
with the involvement of the United States... They believe that the
American nation is the most excellent, so they must 'lead the world' and
other nations have no choice but to follow them."
"The philosophical foundation of American
unilateralism is based on a zero-sum game and its basic principle is:
what I obtain must be what others lose and vice versa, so what others
obtain must be what I lose."
With an imaginary articulation of
Washington's policy, the author wrote:
"No matter how many people it involves,
I am superior to all others, and I can do whatever I like.
Everything must bend to American interests and will."
"The best example of U.S. gunboat diplomacy
is the Naval Operations Concept 2010 approved by the U.S. president in
May of this year, which vividly described U.S. 'maritime interests.'
According to the 2010 concept, U.S. naval forces will develop six core
competencies: forward presence, deterrence, maritime security, sea
control, power projection and humanitarian assistance." 
He analyzed the document's six key elements
 ad seriatim:
so-called forward presence means that
the United States can send its gunboats to every corner of the
world, tyrannize the weak and extend its security boundaries to
others’ doorsteps. This way, the United States can even claim the
Yellow Sea and the South China Sea are covered within its security
so-called deterrence is no different
from bully tactics, namely that "if you do not obey me, I will punch
so-called maritime security is to ensure
the inviolability of U.S. gunboats. The United States only cares
about its own safety, and it should not be expected to ever care
about others' safety.
so-called sea control applies the logic
of "whoever controls critical sea lanes controls the seas, and
whoever controls the seas controls the world."
so-called power projection is obviously
for war rather than peace.
so-called humanitarian assistance is
only for the Americans and U.S. allies, while others only receive
brutal and rough treatment from the United States.
A blunt indictment which also included the
"Ironically, the United States, which has a
blind belief in its military force and 'speaks' only through its
gunboats, is at once embarrassingly trapped in wars in Iraq and
The day before the above comments appeared,
Ni Lexiong, professor of international relations at the Shanghai
University of Political Science and Law, wrote that,
"a potential military crisis is hidden in
the gradually 'maturing' Sino-US relations. Why do both sides regularly
organize military exercises? There must be specific imaginary enemies in
military exercises. Regular and repeated military exercises are tests of
national strategic plans and tactical details.
"Before the outbreak of World War I in 1914, the German army had long
been practicing the Schlieffen Plan, which called for a sudden attack on
France on one side before Russia could mobilize on the other." 
The following day Rear Admiral Yang Yi,
the former director of the Institute for Strategic Studies at the
People's Liberation Army National Defense University who was quoted
earlier, said in an analysis called "Cold War mindset harms peace" that:
"Washington has held intensive military
exercises with allies in the Pacific Ocean and Northeast and Southeast
Asia over the past months, quite close to China and its surrounding
region... US-led exercises this year have drawn more concerns among
regional members because of the unequivocal motive behind the exercises
and the sensitivity of their locations...
The large-scale military exercise
[Invincible Spirit] is intended to send an unambiguous message to other
regional countries, including China, that the US is still the strongest
military power in the world and that Washington's military dominance in
Northeast Asia, and the wider Asia-Pacific region, cannot be
As the world's sole superpower with an
unchallenged armed force, no single nation in the world can stop the US
from conducting such activity, but Washington will inevitably pay a
costly price for its muddled decision."
He also warned that the global military colossus
may have feet of clay:
"When the long-established global strategic
pattern changes to the US' disadvantage, Washington's adherence to the
Cold War mentality and its excessive dependence on military means to
resolve international disputes will lead the superpower to bigger
strategic setbacks." 
Last week a Chinese source added to Major
General Luo Yuan's use of a term once thought outdated, gunboat diplomacy,
another one from the same era and mindset, brinkmanship:
"Washington and Seoul have chosen to ignore
China's security concerns time and again, and this should not be allowed
to fester at China's doorstep. This brinkmanship is an open defiance of
China's security environment." 
The Chinese press (on both sides of the Taiwan
Strait) has recently published several features on the threat of the U.S.
surrounding China with an Asian NATO, both analogue and extension of the
North Atlantic Treaty Organization. 
On August 14 the Xinhua News Agency wrote:
"The real intention of the US maneuvers in
the waters of Northeast Asia...is to consolidate the US-South Korea and
US-Japan military alliance and boost US military presence in the region,
and therefore intimidate and contain China."
"In addition to more troops in Afghanistan, the US military is
transforming Guam into its new strategic strike center that could cover
large areas of the Asia Pacific. It redeployed 60 percent of its nuclear
submarine fleet to the Pacific and has been consolidating its bases in
Japan, South Korea and the Philippines." 
Late last month an English-language Taiwanese
newspaper reported that,
"According to Chinese media reports, the
US's support for Vietnam in its bids for the Spratly and Paracel islands
is meant to threaten China's core interests and build a grand strategic
alliance surrounding the country.
"The US is capitalizing on the contradictions among East Asian countries
to form a front against China..." 
A recent piece in the People's Daily minced no
words in reiterating the point:
"Relations between China and the United
States have become decidedly testy in recent days and the US is anxious
to find its proxies in the region by inciting their discontent with
China and pulling them to the American side."
The dynamic is being exacerbated with,
"tensions building and mounting in recent
weeks over events in the Yellow Sea and the South China Sea, and with
the signs that the US is trying to meddle [with] and dominate issues
"The U.S. decision to include an aircraft carrier in the [upcoming
Yellow Sea] exercise is considered especially provocative, and some
Chinese suspect that Washington is sending a 'strong message' about
American power to China as well as North Korea. And that the US carrier
maneuvered to its former foe Vietnam arouses wild speculations about
whether the US is bent on building up a NATO in Asian version."
Obama administration... is experimenting with a new, more
insidious but very risky diplomatic strategy in the region, where it has
for long played [the role of a] hegemonic power, to contain an emerging
great power: Drifting from confrontation to confrontation with a rising
China, as Washington is now doing. This will bring about the doomed
fallout. In a not very long American history, perhaps, the only bitter
lesson to the super war machine was taught by China - which has never
rewarded it with a single chance to declare a complete victory on
"Like a contemptible wretch making trouble, these mean and petty actions
taken by the so-called super power would fail to help it get the
desired fruit - to effectively counterbalance China in Asia." 
Military strategist Colonel Dai Xu of the
Chinese People's Liberation Air Force wrote on August 11 that,
"One needs to have a basic understanding of
the nature of the United States and its global strategy in order to
comprehend its recent provocations in the Yellow Sea and the South China
Sea. The 2010 US defense report said first and foremost the U.S. is a
nation at war.
"From a historical perspective, the U.S. has continuously found enemies
and waged wars. It has become part of its social formula. Without
wars the US economy loses stimulus. Without enemies the U.S. cannot
hold the will of the whole nation.
"Its recent military drills in the Yellow Sea and announcement to
intervene in South China Sea affairs were efforts made to encircle
China. It is attempting to build an 'Asian NATO' with Japan, South
Korea, Australia and the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN)."
He added a recommendation to combat that
"In order to prevent the U.S. from
surrounding it, China needs to draw a clear bottom line. The U.S. is not
allowed to coerce China to give in on matters concerning China's
territory and maritime sovereignty, national solidarity and regional
issues. And it is not allowed to jeopardize China's national interest by
collaborating with neighboring countries...
If the U.S. is adjusting its global
strategic emphasis, China needs to reevaluate its strategy toward the
U.S. China loves peace, but it will staunchly safeguard its national
A Global Times editorial of last week provided
"In recent months, the US has been busy
cementing alliances in Northeast Asia and inking a new agreement with
China's Southeast Asian neighbor Vietnam. The US intention is clear: to
stir negative sentiment against China among neighboring countries.
"The US is trying to consolidate its scattered influence in the region.
To some extent, it can manage to do so, given its geographic detachment,
its global influence and its economic might... The US is returning to
Southeast Asia with a clear political agenda.
It is trying to expand US influence and
strengthen cooperation with countries in the region, but seeds of
distrust are also being planted with its attempt to contain China.
Countries around the region must see these tactics for what they are."
The French statesman Talleyrand, never
burdened by either scruples or principles, said that we were given speech
not to disclose but to disguise our thoughts. (La parole nous a été
donnée pour déguiser notre pensée.)
The words of major Chinese military leaders and strategists quoted above,
however, are not those of dissimulation or evasion, vainglory or bravado.
They should be interpreted at face value:
As the most dire of warnings, particularly
the references to World War I and the Korean War.
An armed conflict between the world's two main
economic powers would be a catastrophe for more than just Northeast Asia and
the Pacific Ocean region.
1) United States Department of Defense
American Forces Press Service August 16, 2010 http://www.defense.gov/news/newsarticle.aspx?id=60455
2) Xinhua News Agency, August 14, 2010
3) China Post, August 8, 2010
4) New York Times, March 2, 2010 http://www.nytimes.com/2010/03/05/world/asia/05china.html
5) China Daily, July 20, 2010
6) Xinhua News Agency, July 18, 2010
7) China Daily, July 20, 2010
8) Asia Times, August 6, 2010
9) BBC News, August 3, 2010
10) Korea Herald, August 6, 2010
11) Xinhua News Agency, July 31, 2010
12) Stars and Stripes, August 6, 2010
13) China Post, August 8, 2010
14) Global Times, August 9, 2010
15) People's Daily, August 9, 2010
16) Irish Times, August 14, 2010
17) Global Times, August 9, 2010 http://opinion.globaltimes.cn/commentary/2010-08/561460.html
18) People's Daily, August 13, 2010
19) Naval Operations Concept 2010 http://www.navy.mil/maritime/noc/NOC2010.pdf
20) People's Daily, August 13, 2010
21) Global Times, August 12 2010
22) China Daily, August 13, 2010 http://www.chinadaily.com.cn/opinion/2010-08/13/content_11148032.htm
23) China Daily, August 10, 2010
24) U.S. Expands Asian NATO To Contain And
Confront China Stop NATO, August 7, 2010 http://rickrozoff.wordpress.com/2010/08/07/u-s-expands-asian-nato-to-contain-and-confront-china
25) Xinhua News Agency, August 14, 2010
26) China reports: the US means to set up another NATO in Asia Taiwan
News, July 28, 2010
27) Is US building a NATO in Asia version? People's Daily, August 12,
28) U.S. building 'Asian NATO' to encircle China China.org.cn, August
29) Washington's bond with China's neighbors Global Times, August 9,