CHINA STRATEGY CONFIRMS TRENDS ON THE GROUND, U.S. SAYS

Wall Street Journal on May 27, 2015, ABOARD A U.S. MILITARY JET reported on China strategy. Excerpts below:

The Chinese “white paper” on defense strategy—which said Beijing plans to shift its armed forces’ focus toward maritime warfare—confirmed trends the U.S. has been monitoring for some time, a senior U.S. defense official said.

“I don’t think there were any surprises for us in the latest white paper,” the official told reporters traveling to Hawaii with Defense Secretary Ash Carter. “The trends described in that paper are trends that we’ve been following for some years.”

In its first public summary of military strategy, the State Council—China’s cabinet—said the navy will expand its operations from offshore areas to the open seas, while the air force will broaden its focus to include offensive operations as well as defense of China’s territory.

…as China continues to expand artificial islands in the South China Sea, the country’s true military intentions continue to be mysterious, the official said. American officials have long sought more clarity from Beijing about its military spending, policy and hardware-acquisition plans.

The white paper expressed Beijing’s interest in operating more aggressively in air and at sea, noting that it would operate vessels in so-called blue waters, farther from shore.

“Chinese blue-water capability has been building for quite some time,” the official said.

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