Washington: A 'bellicose' China has mounted an aggressive and expansionist policy to further its influence in the region at the expense of established borders and sovereignty of other nations, according to a report by Republican lawmakers in the US Congress.
"While tensions between China and Taiwan have persisted since the 1950s, China has now mounted an aggressive and expansionist policy towards other nations in the region in order to enlarge their sphere of influence," the Republican Study Committee said in its report yesterday as the House of Representatives initiated steps to pass the annual budget.
"The Chinese have done so at the expense of established borders and the sovereignty of other countries, many of which are key US allies. Small and remote islands like the Senkaku Island chain, as well as the Spratly and Paracel Islands, are now being threatened by China's Navy," the report said.
These territorial claims over shoals and reefs pose a deceivingly greater threat to the region than their geographic size would suggest, the committee said.
The report, however, made no reference to the ongoing border standoff between India and China in the Sikkim sector.
"Allowing for a bellicose China to seize these blips on a map would further embolden the country to threaten key United States treaty-bound allies," the report said.
In November 2013, China unilaterally declared an Air Identification Zone over the disputed East China Sea, encompassing parts of Japanese and South Korean airspace.
"This measure has forced international civilian airliners traversing this zone to report to China's Air Force, bringing geostrategic tensions into the airspace domain," it said.
The Chinese military build up, the report said, threatens the basic freedom of navigation on the high seas that has always been a bedrock security, diplomatic, and commercial principle of the United States.
"Many of our allies, including Australia, Japan, the Philippines, South Korea, and even Vietnam have become increasingly concerned over China's posturing, and have all clamoured for a more robust US security commitment in this vital and strategic region," it said.
To deter China, the Republican Study Committee's budget supports an increase in US shipbuilding account, in order to reestablish its Navy's global reach and capabilities.
Specifically, the RSC supports an increase in the Navy's fleet size to 350 fighting ships "to maintain presence in the 18 maritime regions where the United States has critical national interests," it said.