Chinese military build-up far exceeds its defensive needs: US

The US urges China to be more transparent regarding "military capabilities".

Washington: Sharing concerns of many of China`s neighbours in Asia, the US has said the Chinese military build-up far exceeds its defensive needs and asked Beijing to become more transparent with regard to its "military capabilities, expenditures and intentions”.

"The US shares the concern of many in the region that this type of military build-up far exceeds China`s defensive needs," Wallace "Chip" Gregson, Assistant Secretary of Defence for Asian and Pacific Security Affairs, said.

It has become increasingly evident that China is pursuing a long-term, comprehensive military build-up that could upend the regional security balance, Gregson said, adding that many of China`s newly acquired capabilities appear to go well beyond what might be needed in nearby waters.

"These are weapons we refer to as `anti-access` and `area-denial` systems or, in the acronym-rich Pentagon, `A2/AD`.”

"These are designed to deny access to the Western Pacific region or to deny the ability to operate within that vital area. A2/AD systems threaten our primary means of projecting power: our bases, our sea and air assets and the networks that support them," he said in his address to the Progressive
Policy Institute`s Forum on China, University of California Washington Centre.

The A2/AD challenge is not limited to a single weapon system or tactic, Gregson said. "It is better understood as a series of overlapping capabilities across multiple domains. The capability that has perhaps been getting the most attention is China`s anti-ship ballistic missile technology. This is a capability we have been watching for some years."

"But there are other examples of this kind of destabilising weaponry, such as China`s investments in advanced submarines, surface-to-air missiles, anti-satellite weapons and computer network warfare techniques," he said.

In addition, these kinds of weapons threaten to undermine the basic norms that have bolstered East Asian peace and prosperity, such as open access to sea lanes for commerce and security assistance, the Pentagon official said.

"We call upon China to become more transparent regarding its military capabilities, expenditures and intentions. We are not asking for an unreasonable degree of disclosure – simply enough to allow all parties to avoid miscalculation," Gregson said.