China’s Strategy Active Defense Not Anti-access, Area Denial


Active Defense Means Attack for Defense. The strategists of active defense regard attack as the best way of defense.

Lowyinstitute.org’s article “China’s counteroffensive in the war of ideas” on February 24, 2020 shows US strategists’ entire ignorance of China’s strategy.

China’s latest Defense White Paper makes it very clear that China’s strategy is active defense but the article still regards “anti-access, area denial” as China’s military strategy and believes that China’s offensives in the war of ideas are counteroffensives that mirror “its ‘anti-access, area denial’ military strategy”.

China held two South-South Human Rights Forums in 2017 and 2019 not for counteroffensives but for spreading the human rights it advocates among the vast number of developing countries. The Beijing Declaration approved by the participants of the 2017 forum regards the rights to subsistence and development as basic human rights different to the human rights system advocated by the West.

To advocate its one-party system, China held high-level dialogue between the Communist Party of China (CPC) and political parties from around the world from November 30 to December 3, 2017.

SCMP says in its report about the dialogue that according to Xinhua, the meeting was attended by representatives from over 300 overseas political groups mostly from Southeast Asia, Central Asia and Africa, but the Republican Party in the US and Russian ruling party United Russia also sent representatives.

Xi said in his speech to the dialogue, “We do not import foreign models, and we do not export the China model, either,” and “We will not require other countries to copy what we do.”

Xinhua says in its report, “Many speakers attributed China’s success to the choice of a path based on its own characteristics and praised its standing of ‘not exporting the Chinese model.’”

That implies that China provides an example of choosing the way of development based on a country’s own characteristics instead of importing other countries’ ways, which clearly means negation of importing Western democracy.

In addition, Xi said the Chinese Communist Party would step up communications with overseas political groups and enable 15,000 of their members to visit China for inter-party exchanges in the coming five years.

China will certainly incur lots of costs in providing accommodation, travel and other treatments to the 15,000 members of overseas political groups to convince them that Western democracy is not their only choice.

The above shows that China is making offensive instead of counteroffensive in conducting its active defense—Attack is the best way of defense.

Comment by Chan Kai Yee on lowyinstitute.org’s article, full text of which can be viewed at https://www.lowyinstitute.org/the-interpreter/china-s-counteroffensive-war-ideas.


China Cannot Win Trade War with US by Passive Defense


SCMP talks about Chinese think tank’s top suggestions for China to win its trade war with the US in its report “How can China win a trade war? A Beijing think tank offers its top tips” today.

The suggestions include:
1. The formation of a united front with EU, Japan, Russia and ASEAN in upholding globalization to counter US protectionism, but those countries will not be able to absorb the goods that China export to the US before the tariff hikes.;

2. Boosting domestic consumption, which is the reform China wants to carry out but encounters the resistance from vested interests. The trade war facilitates overcoming such resistance;

3. Reduce restriction to private sector to increase private investment, which is the reform China wants to carry out but encounters the resistance from vested interests. The trade war facilitates overcoming such resistance; and

4. Flexible yuan exchange rate.

All the above measures aim at reducing the damages done by US tariff increases instead of inflicting harms on the enemy. They are merely passive defense. China can by no means win the trade war with those measures.

All US accusations of China stealing US technology are but the excuses for starting the trade war. It’s common sense that China cannot surpass the US by stealing. It has to be able to innovate and create. For that it shall have abundant financial resources.

The US is very careful to prevent any other countries from getting its top technologies. If the US believes that China may not surpass the US in technology with its own innovation and creation, it need not start the trade war, It is quite enough to conduct stringent measures to prevent China from obtaining US technology.

There is no need to conduct a trade war that hurts itself while hurting China.

However, the US fears now that with more abundant resources, China will be able to innovate and create better technologies to surpass it. As the US is not able to compete with China in getting financial resources, it can but start a trade war to destroy Chinese economy so as to deprive China of the resources to surpass the US.

The above-mentioned measures suggested by China’s think tank are good to reduce the damages that may be caused by US offensives in the trade war. However, at best they can only reduce the damages to some extent instead of entirely preventing the damages.

They are but measures of passive defense.

China has issued a white paper on its military strategy of active defense. What is active defense? It means attack for defense as attack is the best defense.

Remember, this is a war. The US starts the war to destroy China to prevent it from growing stronger than the US.

There shall be no mercy as soon as one’s enemy has started the war by attacking him. One has to hit back hard to destroy one’s enemy or one will be destroyed by one’s enemy.

Therefore, to win the trade war China has to attack.

There are quite a few ways. As those are ingenious surprise moves to win the war while frontal engagement is being carried out, I had better refrain from mentioning them.

I believe Chinese President Xi Jinping has already had some plans but kept them secret. He will attack when he has made sufficient preparations.

A very simple example of active defense is that China shall impose selective export tariffs (note: not import tariffs) on the parts US enterprises produce in China and then export to the US for production of products for export to China.

Trump’s tariff hikes on those parts have already made US enterprises suffer. China shall put salt on the wound. It shall impose excessively high export tariffs to force US enterprises to move their production to China. China shall provide preferential treatment for such moves. That will hurt the US as it will reduce US jobs and tax revenue.

In a war, one has to hurt the enemy in addition to reducing the effect of the attacks from the enemy.

China has to conduct ingenious surprise moves to destroy its enemy and win the war.

Xi shall be able to conduct such ingenious surprise moves in the trade war. Otherwise he will not be a competent commander-in-chief of the trade war.

Comment by Chan Kai Yee on SCMP’s report, full text of which can be viewed at https://www.scmp.com/news/china/economy/article/2155733/what-china-can-do-win-trade-war-beijing-think-tank-offers-its-top


Vision, Confidence in Addition to Wisdom Needed for Good Weapon Strategy


China’s hypersonic spaceplane, with a combined cycle engine that hops between jet, scramjets, and rockets, promises to be the ultimate form in reusable and easy space travel. Photo from CCTV 13 footage

I had a post yesterday titled “China’s Space Era Strategy Overwhelmingly Superior to US Air-Sea Battle” on China’s wisdom in developing spaceplane to obtain weapon superiority.

Some people question Chinese President Xi Jinping’s wisdom in stressing development of integrated space and air capabilities for both attack and defense. They argue that having lagged much behind the US in space technology, China is not practical in pursuing such capabilities as it will not be able to tackle lots of tricky technologies for the development of a spaceplane.

They, however, seem ignorant that the technology is not quite new. The US developed its space shuttle in 1981 and put it in operation in 1982. Space shuttle is in fact a kind of spaceplane. It was vertically launched, but landed horizontally.

Xi, however, has the vision to see the tremendous potential of spaceplane as a formidable weapon and the confidence in Chinese scientists and engineers’ ability to master the technology.

US military lacks the vision to see the fierce military capabilities of spaceplane; therefore, they have given up instead of making efforts to further improve their space shuttles. Otherwise, the US would have much more advanced spaceplanes than China now.

From this we can see the vital importance of weapon strategy. The US has a much greater military budget but is losing in its arms race with China due to its military poor weapon strategy.

One thing really absurd is US military experts’ repeated description of China’s A2/AD and US anti-A2/AD weapons and measures to break China’s A2/AD.

They have kept on doing so despite Chinese military has made clear to US military that A2/AD is not China’s strategy. In addition, China has published a white paper on China’s strategy of active defense.

Is US military so strategy illiterate as not being able to distinguish between A2/AD and active defense?

Unbelievable!

World War II has already taught military strategists the importance of weapon strategy, but US strategy illiterates seem to have not learnt from the lessons.

Before World War II Germany saw the potential of the new weapons of tanks and warplanes and adopted advanced technology to make its army mechanized and its warplanes dominate the sky. It has thus made Britain and the Soviet Union suffer seriously at the beginning of the war.

Ignorant of the importance of air force, a British battleship was sunk by Japan’s aircrafts at the beginning of the Pacific War.

At that time, the US realized the importance of aircraft carrier and won the war against Japan with its air-sea battle strategy.

Now, like Britain before the beginning of World War II, the US fails to realize the importance of adopting the most advanced technology of our space era to develop integrated space and air capabilities. Its space competition with the Soviet Union was a waste of huge resources for a show of technical superiority. When it has won the competition, it neglects space and transfer its resources to pursue near-term weapon superiority.

China’s space program is not for show. It aims at obtaining technology for weapon development and exploiting space resources.

China’s aerospace bomber with space era technology will destroy US best aircraft carriers just like the destruction of British battleship by Japanese aircrafts in World War II.

Article by Chan Kai Yee.


Submarine First-Attack Strategy Outdated by China’s Artificial Islands


US Ohio-class nuclear submarine

US Ohio-class nuclear submarine

In his article titled “Kicking Down the Door: Ohio-Class Subs vs. China’s A2/AD” senior military analyst Ben Ho Wan Beng suggests breaking China’s A2/AD with first-day attack of cruise missiles from Ohio-class and Virginia-class VPM attack nuclear submarines (note VPM means the Virginia-class nuclear submarine fitted with the Virginia Payload Module (VPM) to increase the number of cruise missiles it can carry to 40 from 12).

Sorry, that strategy has already been outdated by China’s construction of seven artificial islands in the South China Sea.

China is skillful in applying Sun Tzu’s strategy of subduing the enemy with strategy. It takes actions before its potential enemy has adopted the strategy suggested by Mr. Beng.

Anti-submarine facilities installed on the artificial islands will enable China to detect and track US submarines which can only operation in the South China Sea where the water is deep enough.

Even if China fails to detect a submarine, it may quickly send its anti-submarine aircrafts and helicopters from the artificial islands to attack the US submarine when it betrayed its location in launching its missiles.

The US is certainly upset that the artificial islands have deprived the US the capabilities of attacking China with submarines but it can do nothing to stop that. As an alternative, it has to spend billions of dollars to develop and make B-21 strategic bomber to attack China.

Here, I have to point out that China’s strategy is not A2/AD but active defense, which means using attack as the means of defense. My interpretation of China’s active defense is the development of the weapons to attack US homeland in retaliation of US attack of Chinese homeland. China has developed such weapons for active defense against US nuclear attack, which is called nuclear deterrence. It is now developing weapons for conventional deterrence.

Comments by Chan Kai Yee on Ben Ho Wan Beng’s article titled “Kicking Down the Door: Ohio-Class Subs vs. China’s A2/AD” on National Interest. Full text of the article can be viewed at http://nationalinterest.org/feature/kicking-down-the-door-ohio-class-subs-vs-chinas-a2-ad-15664


What Makes the U.S. Unable to Start a War with China?


Chinese guards of honor. Image: Wikimedia Commons/Kremlin.ru

Chinese guards of honor. Image: Wikimedia Commons/Kremlin.ru

US media The National Interest published on December 12 Robert haddick’s article on how U.S. war with China could be started or avoided, but it fails to see the even larger picture.

I have pointed out that China’s strategy of active defense means attack for effective defense. In order to obtain the capabilities of attack for active defense, China has been vigorously developing the capabilities to attack U.S. homeland in retaliation of U.S. attack of Chinese homeland. The major weapons for that is super quiet and fast attack nuclear submarines able to attack U.S. homeland with lots of long-range cruise missiles and strategic bombers able to attack U.S. homeland with hypersonic missiles.

What Robert Haddick describes in his article contains uncertainty that neither side is sure to win a war so that a party, mainly the U.S. may start war either wins or loses.

However, if China has developed the above mentioned capabilities for counterattack at U.S. homeland, there will be no war between China and the U.S. at all unless U.S. politicians and generals are stupid and mad to start a war. Judging by Haddick’s article, the U.S. is very clear that China does not want to fight a war with the U.S. It is U.S. intervention that may cause the U.S. to fight a war with China.

China does not send its navy to the U.S. to attack the U.S.

It is the U.S. that is sending its navy to threaten China.

Therefore, developing the counterattack capabilities is China’s shortcut to prevent being attacked by the U.S. China is making great efforts to do so.

I would rather call China’s such capabilities as conventional deterrence.

Comments by Chan Kai Yee on The National Interest’s report.

The following is the full text of the report:

Five Ways War with China Could Be Started… or Avoided

Robert Haddick December 12, 2015

Sometime soon, perhaps before the end of the year, the U.S. Navy could perform another freedom of navigation patrol in the Spratly Islands, this time near Mischief Reef, another low-tide elevation that China has extensively built up with dredged sand. The last such patrol, conducted on October 27 by USS Lassen near Subi Reef, was a botched mission in the view of many analysts, since it left observers wondering whether the United States had inadvertently reinforced China’s sovereignty claims. The forthcoming Mischief Reef patrol may offer a much-needed “mulligan” to an Obama administration still striving to achieve credibility for its “Asia rebalance” policy.

How will China’s People’s Liberation Army (PLA) respond to the next patrol? After USS Lassen’s cruise, the PLA dispatched J-11B fighter-attack aircraft to its airbase on Woody Island in the nearby Paracel island chain, and then conducted training exercises with the Flanker-variant aircraft over the South China Sea. China has the capacity to project substantial anti-air and anti-ship capacity to the Spratlys. How China will respond to the next patrol remains a mystery and is no doubt contributing to the Obama administration’s apparent skittishness in the South China Sea.

What we do know is that China’s leaders believe that they will one day be able to challenge the U.S. military position in the western Pacific. We know this because for two decades China has expended enormous, and still rapidly growing, resources on building up a full range of air, naval, missile and military space power in the region, all specifically designed to counter an intervention by U.S. expeditionary forces. We have to assume that successive Chinese administrations would not have made this investment if they did not believe it could yield results.

But will China’s military buildup eventually result in a clear reversal of the military position in the western Pacific, a new correlation of forces that would compel U.S. policymakers and military planners to peaceably accept a Chinese-led order? Historian Geoffrey Blainey explained in his masterful The Causes of War (1973) that when competing players agree on their relative strengths (who is dominant and who is not), conflict is unlikely. U.S. supremacy meant that China was unable to challenge the deployment of two U.S. aircraft carrier strike groups during the 1996 Taiwan Strait Crisis. Today’s leaders in Beijing probably also lacked the confidence to oppose USS Lassen’s patrol (and likely also concluded that the stakes this time were not worth such a challenge).

But a decade from now, when the build-out of the PLA’s space sensor network, anti-ship missiles forces and submarine fleets are much more mature, leaders in Beijing may be hoping that all the players come to a new agreement on relative strengths, and once again, as in 1996, avoid a conflict when a new crisis appears. Such a hypothetical new agreement would presumably also mean the end to America’s freedom of navigation challenges in the Spratlys and elsewhere in the western Pacific.

Naturally, the transition from one dominant player to another creates a very dangerous interval. Indeed, the goal of the Pentagon’s “Third Offset” initiative is to prevent such a transition from ever occurring, or to even be considered. As Blainey deduces, “wars usually begin when two nations disagree on their relative strengths.” Whether decision-makers in either Washington or Beijing are willing to risk military escalation will depend on the confidence they have in various war-fighting concepts, along with the troops and equipment that would execute them. If Blainey is correct, war could occur—instigated by, say, direct PLA resistance to a future U.S. freedom of navigation patrol—because of disagreement (or misperception) by the players over the efficacy of at least five concepts that have thus far been untested in large-scale combat.

1. Will the PLA’s “reconnaissance-strike complex” work?

Drawing on the Soviet reconnaissance-strike complex programs from the late Cold War era, the PLA’s own system is also composed of satellite, airborne and other sensors; a command-and-control structure; and a variety of long-range anti-ship cruise and ballistic missiles designed to strike adversary naval task forces. China is far ahead of the United States in theater-range ballistic missiles (the United States has none), as well as anti-ship cruise missiles, while the PLA’s cruise missile inventory far exceeds that of the United States in range, speed, types and numbers. The PLA Air Force has made great improvements in anti-ship doctrine and training, especially in deep ocean operations, a trend that will undoubtedly continue in the decade ahead. In addition, annual reports from the Pentagon and the U.S.-China Economic and Security Review Commission make clear that the PLA continues to rapidly expand its space-based and airborne ocean surveillance sensor capacity.

What remains unknown how well the PLA’s battle staffs have linked together the sensor networks and communication systems to make a robust “anti-navy” capability that would hold up under stress. Also unclear is the reliability of the PLA’s various long-range anti-ship missiles when employed against moving and defended targets while at sea. More testing in the years ahead may answer questions and uncertainties regarding future Chinese capabilities. If not, remaining uncertainties and debate will contribute to Blainey’s “disagreement dangers.”

2. Will U.S. carrier strike group missile defenses work?

“Send in the carriers” has been a long-standing U.S. crisis response technique. Indeed, it was President Bill Clinton’s employment of two carrier strike groups during the climax of the 1996 Taiwan Strait Crisis that caused China to back down—and to subsequently launch the PLA’s anti-access-centered military buildup, which continues to this day. In spite of the increasing missile threat to U.S. aircraft carriers, U.S. policymakers almost reflexively turn to these warships as signaling devices during crises. That could be a disaster if the carrier strike group’s missile defenses are inadequate for future threats.

The U.S. Navy is striving mightily to improve its missile defenses. For example, the Navy Integrated Fire Control – Counter Air (NIFC-CA) concept will achieve new integration of sensors, data links and anti-missile weapons from a wide range of platforms, and would begin the carrier’s missile defense at much further ranges than currently. A contrasting concept would instead employ a tremendous concentration of short-range missile interceptors and focus missile defense on the last moments before enemy missiles impact U.S. ships. Further in the future, the Navy is looking to high-powered lasers and electromagnetic rail guns for missile defense, although there is skepticism among some engineers about the feasibility of these systems.

In the next decade, will the Navy’s carrier defenses be able to completely thwart a missile raid composed of over a hundred missiles, arriving on two or more axes? Even a few hits, say, less than a 95 percent interception rate by Navy missile defenses, would register as a lost battle for the Navy. As explained above, experienced Navy officials disagree among themselves on what approach to take to keep pace with the growing missile threat. That seeming confusion over how best to defend these ships could bolster the confidence (warranted or not) of PLA planners. And that could be another possible entry on Blainey’s “disagreement” ledger.

3. Could PLA missiles successfully suppress U.S. bases in the western Pacific?

Beginning in the late 1990s, U.S. military analysts began worrying about the PLA land-attack missile threat to U.S. and allied air and naval bases in the western Pacific. Such concerns were expressed in reports from RAND, the U.S.-China Economic and Security Review Commission and the Pentagon itself. These reports explained the PLA’s increasing capability to shut down, at least temporarily, major U.S. bases in Japan, South Korea, Okinawa and perhaps Guam with precise ballistic and cruise missile strikes. Doing so would greatly suppress the Air Force’s ability to generate tactical aircraft sorties and could damage Navy pier-side ships and the ability to support those underway.

Drawing on the Soviet reconnaissance-strike complex programs from the late Cold War era, the PLA’s own system is also composed of satellite, airborne and other sensors; a command-and-control structure; and a variety of long-range anti-ship cruise and ballistic missiles designed to strike adversary naval task forces. China is far ahead of the United States in theater-range ballistic missiles (the United States has none), as well as anti-ship cruise missiles, while the PLA’s cruise missile inventory far exceeds that of the United States in range, speed, types and numbers. The PLA Air Force has made great improvements in anti-ship doctrine and training, especially in deep ocean operations, a trend that will undoubtedly continue in the decade ahead. In addition, annual reports from the Pentagon and the U.S.-China Economic and Security Review Commission make clear that the PLA continues to rapidly expand its space-based and airborne ocean surveillance sensor capacity.

What remains unknown how well the PLA’s battle staffs have linked together the sensor networks and communication systems to make a robust “anti-navy” capability that would hold up under stress. Also unclear is the reliability of the PLA’s various long-range anti-ship missiles when employed against moving and defended targets while at sea. More testing in the years ahead may answer questions and uncertainties regarding future Chinese capabilities. If not, remaining uncertainties and debate will contribute to Blainey’s “disagreement dangers.”

2. Will U.S. carrier strike group missile defenses work?

“Send in the carriers” has been a long-standing U.S. crisis response technique. Indeed, it was President Bill Clinton’s employment of two carrier strike groups during the climax of the 1996 Taiwan Strait Crisis that caused China to back down—and to subsequently launch the PLA’s anti-access-centered military buildup, which continues to this day. In spite of the increasing missile threat to U.S. aircraft carriers, U.S. policymakers almost reflexively turn to these warships as signaling devices during crises. That could be a disaster if the carrier strike group’s missile defenses are inadequate for future threats.

The U.S. Navy is striving mightily to improve its missile defenses. For example, the Navy Integrated Fire Control – Counter Air (NIFC-CA) concept will achieve new integration of sensors, data links and anti-missile weapons from a wide range of platforms, and would begin the carrier’s missile defense at much further ranges than currently. A contrasting concept would instead employ a tremendous concentration of short-range missile interceptors and focus missile defense on the last moments before enemy missiles impact U.S. ships. Further in the future, the Navy is looking to high-powered lasers and electromagnetic rail guns for missile defense, although there is skepticism among some engineers about the feasibility of these systems.

In the next decade, will the Navy’s carrier defenses be able to completely thwart a missile raid composed of over a hundred missiles, arriving on two or more axes? Even a few hits, say, less than a 95 percent interception rate by Navy missile defenses, would register as a lost battle for the Navy. As explained above, experienced Navy officials disagree among themselves on what approach to take to keep pace with the growing missile threat. That seeming confusion over how best to defend these ships could bolster the confidence (warranted or not) of PLA planners. And that could be another possible entry on Blainey’s “disagreement” ledger.

3. Could PLA missiles successfully suppress U.S. bases in the western Pacific?

Beginning in the late 1990s, U.S. military analysts began worrying about the PLA land-attack missile threat to U.S. and allied air and naval bases in the western Pacific. Such concerns were expressed in reports from RAND, the U.S.-China Economic and Security Review Commission and the Pentagon itself. These reports explained the PLA’s increasing capability to shut down, at least temporarily, major U.S. bases in Japan, South Korea, Okinawa and perhaps Guam with precise ballistic and cruise missile strikes. Doing so would greatly suppress the Air Force’s ability to generate tactical aircraft sorties and could damage Navy pier-side ships and the ability to support those underway.

Should disagreements about these (and numerous other) technical and tactical questions grow, military planners and policymakers on both sides will perceive and misperceive opportunities for military advantage. History abounds with such disagreements, which led both sides to conclude that their war plan would work. It took a war to find out who was right:

Would the Iraqi army in Kuwait in 1991 inflict frightening casualties on counter-attacking coalition forces the same way it recently had against Iran? Saddam thought yes, U.S. commanders thought no.

Could the Japanese army in 1942 fight down the Malay peninsula jungle and capture Singapore from the north? General Yamashita said yes, General Percival said no.

Could the British navy in 1982 mount a successful transoceanic amphibious assault to recapture the Falkland Islands? Argentine commanders said no, British commanders said yes.

Today, Chinese and U.S. military planners and policymakers likely agree on the correlation of forces in the western Pacific. But on current trends, that agreement will change to disagreement, greatly increasing the danger of conflict. When that happens, the temptation for the PLA to forcefully oppose a future U.S. freedom of navigation patrol or other such encounter will rise.

U.S. officials can stop the slide to dangerous disagreement by either reversing the trends discussed with these five concepts, or by reinforcing other, possibly new concepts that will remove any doubts about the outcome from escalation and conflict.

Robert Haddick is a Visiting Senior Fellow at the Mitchell Institute for Aerospace Studies and the author of Fire on the Water: China, America, and the Future of the Pacific.


US Strategists Blind to China’s Capability to Attack US Homeland


gold coin in commemoration of of the success development of 093G attack nuclear submarine

Gold coin in commemoration of of the successful development of 093G attack nuclear submarine

Test cruise of China's 4th-generation nuclear submarine

Test cruise of China’s 4th-generation nuclear submarine

US media National Interest published on October 22 its defense editor Dave Majumdar’s article “China’s Greatest Fear: U.S. Navy ‘Cruise Missile Carriers’” that shows U.S. poor intelligence and strategic ignorance.

Mr. Majumdar believes that to counter China’s A2/AD strategy that makes it hard for U.S. aircraft carrier to go near China to attack Chinese homeland, the US shall develop nuclear submarines that carry long-range cruise missiles that can attack China out of the range of China’s A2/AD defense.

The ultra-stealthy nuclear cruise missile submarines with its electric permanent magnet motor that Mr. Majumdar wants the U.S. to develop is still on paper, but China is building at least three new attack nuclear submarines with vertical launch systems (VLS) able to launch cruise missiles from under water.

On February 15, I published the news on the construction of the three Chinese attack nuclear submarines in my post “China Building 3 Newest Type 093G2 Attack Nuclear Submarines” based on a report on the website of Taiwan’s Defense International magazine. The report was later confirmed by Taiwan’s Defense Ministry.

The website published a photo taken on December 2014 that shows that China’s Hulu Island Shipyard had completed the construction of 2 Type 093G2 nuclear submarines. There was one more such submarine under construction.

I said in the post,

The website says that the three new submarines are the second modified version of Type 093 installed with a new generation of nuclear reactors that lag only a little behind the best of US counterparts. It gives the submarine the codename 093G2 as there has been a preceding modified version that it refers to as 093G1 with low noise that the US cannot trace.

The great new development in 093G2 is its vertical launch system (VSL). From the photo of Google map, only 3 units of VSL can be seen behind the sail hull of the submarine. There may be 12 to 24 VSL tubes for launching YJ-18 anti-ship missiles and anti-ground cruise missiles.

The installation of VSL makes the submarine a multifunctional one with anti-submarine, anti-ship and ground attack capabilities.

As for super quietness, on April 3, 2014, I said in my post “Test Cruise of China’s Magnetic Liquid Propelling 4th-generation Nuclear Submarine” based on mil.qianzhan.com’ report, “Last August, Tan Zuojun, Vice Governor of Liaoning Province disclosed Liaoning had successfully completed the development of fourth-generation nuclear submarines.”

According to Hong Kong military analyst Liang Guoliang, China began research and development of its fourth-generation nuclear submarine in 2000. Such a submarine is of a revolutionary design with magnetic liquid propulsion. As a result, it has no screw propeller and is even free of tail and horizontal rudders. Therefore, it generates no mechanical or cruise noise at all and is a real “ocean black hole”. In theory, its speed may reach 100 knots, quicker than ordinary high-speed torpedoes.

I have pointed out the three goals of China’s active defense strategy:

First, to obtain the capability to wipe out invading enemy at sea. It seems something like the A2/AD strategy that U.S. strategists regard as China’s but it is in fact different. For A2/AD, preventing enemy from coming near is enough, but for China’s active defense, the enemy shall be wiped out.

Second, to obtain the capability to defend China’s trade lifeline by attacking enemy navy at high sea.

Third, to obtain the capability to attack enemy homeland in retaliation of enemy attack of Chinese homeland.

For the second and third goals, China is developing its most advanced attack nuclear submarines and aerospace bombers.

The fourth-generation submarines remain China’s top secret. China’s qianzhan.com has closed its mil.qianzhan.com perhaps due to its disclosure of such top military secret.

China’s official military website mil.huanqiu.com gives a summary translation of Mr. Majumdar’s article but comments that according to foreign media, China has developed 093G cruise-missile nuclear submarines suspected to have installed VSL. If that is true, such submarines are huge threat to US aircraft carrier battle groups in a potential military conflict and can threaten enemy homeland with long-range cruise missiles.

Mr. Majumdar fails to see that China has the idea of the development of cruise-missile nuclear submarines and has built some such submarines. That is because of his ignorance of China’s active defense strategy and poor intelligence about China’s progress in improving its attack nuclear submarines.

Article by Chan Kai Yee as comments on mil.huanqiu.com’s report and National Interest’s article

Source: mil.huanqiu.com “U.S. military’s weapon China fears most? China also has a weapon in its arsenal to counter the U.S.” (summary by Chan Kai Yee based on the report in Chinese)

Source: National Interest “China’s Greatest Fear: U.S. Navy ‘Cruise Missile Carriers’”

The following is the full text of Mr. Majumdar’s article:

China’s Greatest Fear: U.S. Navy ‘Cruise Missile Carriers’
Dave Majumdar October 21, 2015

The U.S. Navy is working on developing a new ballistic missile submarine to replace the service’s current Ohio-class boomers, but should the Navy build some of those vessels as cruise missile carriers?

The Navy should consider building additional Ohio Replacement Program (OPR) submarines to serve as cruise missile carriers. Or alternatively, the Navy should design the twelve planned boomers so that those vessels can accept the current seven-shot Multiple-All-Up-Round Canisters (MACs) found on the first four Ohio-class boats that were converted into guided missile submarines (SSGNs). That should not be a huge technical challenge because the OPR is being designed to use the same Trident II D5 submarine launched ballistic missiles (SLBM) as the Ohios.

Indeed, former Navy Capt. Jerry Hendrix, director of the defense strategies and assessments program at the Center for a New American Security (CNAS), has gone so far as to say that such a submarine could potentially replace the aircraft carrier as the centerpiece of the U.S. Navy fleet. “If the Navy chooses to not pursue unmanned combat aerial vehicles in order to keep the carrier relevant in the future, then it is the time to move on to another generation of weapons, perhaps submarines carrying long range conventionally armed missiles and operating with impunity in the waters denied to the carrier,” he wrote in a piece for The National Interest today.

Many on Capitol Hill and in the Navy—including the Naval Sea Systems Command (NAVSEA)—share similar ideas. But cost is always a potential sticking point—the twelve ORP boats are already breaking the bank with their roughly estimated $5.5 billion price tag. However, the Navy has no choice but to pay for those submarines since the research and development cost and production costs are mandatory—those boomers are part of the strategic nuclear deterrent. Since the upfront development costs are mandatory, the Navy might as well take advantage of it and extend the production run and gain additional economies of scale.

The 20,000-ton cruise missile-carrying ORP variant would pack a significant punch. With sixteen missile tubes each stuffed with a seven cruise missiles would allow the vessels to carry 112 long-range missiles. But not all of the tubes need to carry missiles, some could be configured to carry unmanned underwater vehicles, unmanned aerial vehicles or even spare low-earth orbiting micro-satellites on a modified Trident SLBM. In short, a conventionally armed ORP could be an extremely potent weapon in an anti-access/area denial environment. It wouldn’t replace a carrier necessarily—but it could bring an enormous amount of firepower to the initial stages of a major war.

The Navy, of course, is currently planning on replacing the firepower of the four Ohio SSGNs by building twenty Block V Virginia-class attack submarines with a payload module housing four MAC tubes. Those boats would be able to twenty-eight additional cruise missiles giving those submarines a very potent punch. But Congress has indicated that it would prefer that that Navy build all of its Block V submarines with the extra missile tubes. The Block V Virginia with its additional striking power would distribute the Navy’s firepower throughout the fleet.

But given that China is continuing to develop its anti-access/area denial capability, the Navy could always use more offensive firepower in those highly contested areas. As Hendrix noted, submarines—and especially the ultra-stealthy OPR with its electric permanent magnet motor—would be able to operate with near impunity inside the teeth of China’s defenses. As such, a conventionally armed OPR could be a very useful asset—much more so than the troublesome Littoral Combat Ship, which might be worth terminating to help pay for more ORPs.

Dave Majumdar is the defense editor for The National Interest. You can follow him on Twitter: @davemajumdar


China’s New Defense: Diversion, Induced Explosion of Precision Weapons


China's Defense Engineering Expert Major General Qin Youquan

China’s Defense Engineering Expert Major General Qin Youquan

PLA Daily published a report on China’s active defense by diversion and induced explosion of enemy precision warheads and bombs before they hit their targets.

The information is provided by Major General Qin Youquan, an expert on informationalized defense engineering of the Third Engineer Scientific Research Institute of PLA General Staff Department.

The report provides no information about China’s advanced integrated defense technology to neutralize enemy precision-guided weapons but makes known what China is developing in its active defense.

It says that in modern informationized war, the key technology for territorial defense is entirely unconventional and has already begun to develop anti-satellite weapons, high-end anti-missile weapons, aerospace aircrafts and space war flying vehicles. In such key technology, emphasis is placed on the diversion and induced explosion technology for super low and short-range defense that neutralizes precision-guided weapons with resourceful measures of hiding, deceiving and attacking.

Although the report provides nothing about China’s such defense weapons for secrecy, this blogger provided quite some detailed information on them in his previous post “China Showcases Lots of New Anti-Precision Strike Equipment” on May 10, 2014.

Source: PLA Daily “Expert on diversion and induced explosion that neutralize enemy weapons” (summary by Chan Kai Yee based on the report in Chinese)


U.S. Doomed to Lose in War with China due to Strategy Illiteracy


U.S. new carrier USS Ford that costs $12.9 billion to build but is easy target of Chinese DF-21D and DF-26 anti-ship ballistic missiles within their range. It will fall prey to China’s super quiet and fast nuclear submarine and hypersonic missiles from long-range strategic bomber at high sea in the future.

U.S. new carrier USS Ford that costs $12.9 billion to build but is easy target of Chinese DF-21D and DF-26 anti-ship ballistic missiles within their range. It will fall prey to China’s super quiet and fast nuclear submarine and hypersonic missiles from long-range strategic bomber at high sea in the future.

U.S. media Breaking Defense published an article titled “Carriers Crucial In War With China – But Air Wing Is All Wrong: Hudson” on October 8 justifying outdated U.S. Air-Sea strategy with aircraft carriers as its key weapons. However, in their military strategic consideration, they assume that China adopts A2/AD strategy that Chinese military has repeatedly denied. As a result, no consideration is given to the active defense strategy China adopts now.

The capabilities to attack for active defense in our space era are the nuclear submarines and aerospace bombers that are able to sink US aircraft carriers at high sea anywhere in the world. China already has the technology for super quiet and fast nuclear submarines with magnetic liquid propulsion and is busy developing aerospace strategic bombers with hypersonic missiles.

The article advocates sending long-range bombers and submarines with long range weapons to create pockets of reduced risk to operate and then sending aircraft carriers in to conduct large-scale attack at Chinese homeland. The writers forget that due to its active strategy, China is developing its submarines and long-range bombers to attack U.S. homeland. It will first destroy all U.S. defense facilities similar to U.S. strategists’ plan to create pockets of reduced risk and then conduct large-scale conventional attack at U.S. homeland with its strategic bombers and cruise missiles from its submarines.

Is the U.S. prepared for that in planning its war with China?

U.S. strategists fail to consider that even without the capabilities to attack U.S. homeland, China will win a battle near Chinese homeland. The problems in U.S. strategy lie in its lack of air dominance in the future. They know that all U.S. air bases will be destroyed by Chinese missiles at the beginning of the war so that the U.S. cannot use its F-22s to maintain air supremacy. The U.S. has to develop fighter jets with longer range and UCLASS (unmanned carrier-launched airborne surveillance & strike) drones in the future but China has already been developing its J-20 to dominate airspace so that in the future all US aircrafts whether U.S. new carrier-based fighter jets or UCLASS that can only attack land targets without air combat capability will fall prey to China’s J-20s or even better land-based fighter jets that will emerge later.

U.S. lang-range bombers are no exception!

It is easier to develop land-based aircrafts superior to carrier-based ones. U.S. strategists seem not even to have such common sense.

As for submarine attack, without air supremacy, U.S. submarines will also fall prey to Chinese anti-submarine aircrafts as soon as they have revealed their positions after launching their missiles.

In addition, why China incurs huge expenses in building its artificial islands in the South China Sea?

Because U.S. nuclear attack submarines are too large to operate near China except in the South China Sea where the sea is deep enough. However, the artificial islands enable China to set up an underwater surveillance network to detect U.S. submarines. In wartime, China can easily deploy anit-submarine aircrafts on the artificial islands to kill U.S. submarines.

My description proves that U.S. strategists remain strategy illiterates. In their plan, they even fail to consider others’ strategy.

Article in response to U.S. Breaking Defense’ article “Carriers Crucial In War With China – But Air Wing Is All Wrong: Hudson”

The following is the full text of Breaking Defense’ article:

BREAKING DEFENSE
Carriers Crucial In War With China – But Air Wing Is All Wrong: Hudson
By Sydney J. Freedberg Jr. on October 08, 2015 at 4:00 AM

UPDATE with Forbes statement WASHINGTON: At $4.7 billion over budget, Ford-class aircraft carriers have taken a beating in Congress. This morning, though, the House Seapower subcommittee chairman will roll out a report from the conservative Hudson Institute that’s a ringing defense of the carrier — but which also contains a stinging indictment of the aircraft that fly from it. The report calls for upgrading current multi-mission planes for longer range and building multiple new types of more specialized aircraft, potentially including two different models of UCLASS drone.

Nuclear-powered super-carriers are irreplaceable, co-author Bryan McGrath told me, and the Ford is a good design. But, he said, “the air wing will have to be completely rethought…to win and deter the war we cannot lose.”

That’s also the war we often dare not name: a war with China. “What bothered me was the degree to which there was a self-evident, high-end argument that was not getting made by the Navy,” McGrath said. “So I, with my partners at Hudson, said, ‘we’re going to have to do this for them.’”

Rep. Randy ForbesRep. Randy Forbes, the House Seapower chairman who’ll headline tomorrow’s roll-out, has frequently criticized the executive branch for pussyfooting around the Chinese threat. While a strongly partisan Republican, Forbes takes congressional oversight seriously and once hammered a Bush administration official for 22 minutes just to get him to admit Chinese espionage was a problem.

One of Forbes’s favorite stories about such self-censorship concerns “a very good personal friend” he otherwise much admires, former Chief of Naval Operations Adm. Jonathan Greenert. “When they were at the War College, they had a young officer stand up and ask them in a very, very sincere way, how do we talk about Chinese competition?” Forbes recounted Tuesday at the Heritage Foundation. “The admiral said to even talk about China as a competitor goes across the line and goes too far.”

The Navy’s current case for carriers is the Islamic State. For 54 days until allies okayed the use of land bases, only carrier-based aircraft could strike targets in Iraq and Syria. But you don’t need the Ford for that, McGrath said.

“If all you wanted to do was sit off some Third World nation and plink targets 12 hours a day, you wouldn’t need a $12.9 billion aircraft carrier,” said McGrath. “In order to really talk about why $12.9 billion is worthwhile… the opponent that makes that investment most worthwhile is China.”

That argument’s pretty counterintuitive in national security circles. The conventional wisdom is that carriers are great for projecting American airpower around the world, just as long as nobody can shoot you down or sink you. If the enemy has long-range, precision-guided anti-ship and anti-aircraft weapons, plus the sensors and networks to target them — what’s often called “anti-access/area denial” or A2/AD — you can kiss your carriers goodbye.

That’s precisely wrong, McGrath argued. The A2/AD threat makes the carrier more relevant. “If you think that the aircraft carrier is vulnerable,” he said, “what is the word you use to describe First Island Chain airbases” — i.e. islands within range of China — “that don’t move at 40 miles an hour?” Land-based aircraft, like Air Force fighters, are going to be bombed out of their bases in short order by salvoes of long-range missiles. So, he said, “if you hope to have tactical air power to do all the things the joint force needs” — defeat enemy fighters, escort friendly bombers flying from intact, distant bases, and so on — “the only way you’re going to have it available is from the aircraft carrier.”

(The implicit criticism of the Air Force here, McGrath acknowledged, is another reason why the Navy can’t make such arguments in public).

That said, the report hardly recommends sailing aircraft carriers into the East China Sea on day one of a war. To the contrary, “just after the shooting starts…aircraft carriers and surface ships are likely to be brought back beyond the range of the hardest of the A2/AD weapons,” McGrath told me. “The submarines will then go in, and [Air Force] long-range bombers with long range weapons, and they will do the business of creating opportunity by taking out ISR [intelligence, surveillance, and reconnaissance] capability, creating pockets of reduced risk to operate.”

Note that word, “pockets.” You don’t try to bring the whole A2/AD defense down so the carriers can return to their standard offshore circling, launching a steady stream of airstrikes. Instead, the report advocates “pulse” tactics. Once other forces tear a hole in the A2/AD defense, several carriers and their escorts race into it, launch a few huge raids, and then get out. Essentially, the report acknowledges, this is a massive hit and run attack.

The Navy will need new kinds of training to figure this out, McGrath said. “We haven’t operated multiple aircraft carriers in an integrated manner in my memory,” he said. Carriers might operate near one another and split up targets, but they don’t mass their air wings together as a single striking force.

The air wing is the carrier’s main weapon and it’s also the main target of the report’s critique. The big problem is short range. As long as they can get mid-air refueling — mainly provided by vulnerable Air Force tankers — F-18 Hornets from a carrier in the Indian Ocean can hit targets in Afghanistan. Without aerial refueling — all too probable in high-threat airspace — “the striking range of a modern aircraft carrier is about what it was in World War II,” McGrath said.

The Navy’s standard F-18 Hornet can hit targets roughly 600 miles from the carrier without refueling. Against China, that’s not enough: Chinese anti-ship missiles like the DF-21 and DF-26 have ranges between 2,000 to 2,500 miles. As a result, “the air wing is what drives much of the carrier’s vulnerability,” McGrath said. “If we create… an air wing that buys some of that range back, then the aircraft carrier operates in a less risky profile,” striking from greater and safer distances.

Central to this long-range future air wing is the UCLASS drone, Unmanned Carrier-Launched Airborne Surveillance & Strike. There’s been a fierce debate over whether UCLASS should be optimized for long-duration surveillance patrols, with strike secondary — the Navy’s position — or for deep-penetration strikes, with surveillance secondary — the position of Rep. Forbes and Sen. John McCain. McGrath and his colleagues say that we need both, even if that means buying two kinds of UCLASS aircraft.

“I had been for the longest time a strike-oriented-UCLASS guy,” McGrath said. “We have plenty of surveillance with P-8 [Poseidon] and [MQ-8C Triton, aka] BAMS.” But while writing this report, he said, he realized the Poseidons and Tritons are unstealthy, unmaneuverable, vulnerable aircraft that might not be make it from their distant land bases to provide surveillance inside an A2/AD zone. That puts a premium on a survivable scout drone that can fly from the carrier itself.

Two kinds of UCLASS would be just a start. The Navy has spent decades getting rid of specialized airplanes — the S-3 Viking sub-hunter, the F-14 Tomcat interceptor — in favor of multi-purpose fighter-bombers, the F-18 and future F-35. But it’s time to bring back the specialists, the report argues. For example, the next Navy fighter, the still-notional F/A-XX, needs to be a thoroughbred air superiority machine rather than a fighter-bomber.

UCLASS, F/A-XX, and “sea control” sub-hunters make a formidable shopping list, especially in a time of sequestration. Even in flush budget times, it would take decades to implement the new air wing. But then aircraft carriers are proverbial for how long they take to turn around.

UPDATE“Carriers provide our commanders with an unrivaled range of options, but both the ships and their air wings need to evolve to stay ahead of changes in the security environment,” Rep. Forbes said in a statement to Breaking Defense praising the report. “The Navy has given a great deal of thought to the future of the carrier and its air wing, but it is critically important to have independent experts offering their own insights about the capabilities and concepts we will need.”


Small-Batch Production of J-20 May Begin in 2016: Chinese Expert


Recently emerged new J-20 prototype no. 2016

Recently emerged new J-20 prototype no. 2016

The October issue of Canada’s Kanwa Defence Review says that it is possible for trial small-batch production of J-20 stealth fighters to begin in 2016 judging by the progress in the construction of the infrastructure in its manufacturer. The annual output may be 14-18 fighters not lower than that of J-10 fighters.

A Chinese military expert not willing to disclose his name told Global Times reporter on September 29 that by 2016, test flights of J-20 prototypes will have been carried out for more than 5 years; therefore, in theory small-batch production for trial use in Chinese air force is possible judging by the duration of test flights. However, if that is the case, the period of test flights for J-20 will be the shortest compared with other stealth fighter jets in the world.

However, the expert points out that as J-20 still uses AL-31F or WS-10 engines, it does not meet the standards for a fifth-generation aircraft in supersonic cruise speed and super maneuverability. Therefore, the J-20 produced will not be its finalized version.

This blogger has pointed out the three goals of China’s active defense:

First, to prevent its homeland from being attacked. For this, China has developed lots of anti-ship ballistic and cruse missiles and land-based air force and navy to carry out saturate attack at invading enemy, but it still lacks the fighter jets to grab air supremacy from U.S. F-22. That is why China is making such urgent efforts to produce its J-20 to counter F-22.

China has allocated $16 billion for development of its homegrown aircraft engines and made substantial progress in that area. It has developed WS-15 for J-20 but needs time to test the engine.

Second, to protect its trade lifelines at high sea. For that, it has been developing its super quiet and fast fourth-generation nuclear submarine with magnetic liquid propulsion. There has been report on its success in that area, but it takes time to make enough number of such attack nuclear submarines to defend its lifelines.

In addition, it is developing hypersonic flying vehicles and missiles for that goal and may surpass the U.S. in that area.

Third, to be able to attack U.S. homeland in retaliation of U.S. attack of Chinese homeland.

The submarines and hypersonic weapons can be used for that goal. In addition, it is developing strategic bombers for that purpose.

If China focuses on the above-mentioned goals instead of contending for world leadership with the U.S., it will have more than enough resources. On the other hand, if it wants to achieve itemized superiority over the U.S., it will be short of funds as its economy is smaller than the U.S.

The U.S. has to maintain world hegemony with an excessively large navy with lots of aircraft carriers. If China wants to develop a navy as strong as the U.S., it will take at lease 25 years even if it has enough financial resources.

Source: “Expert: J-20 still fails to meet the standards for fifth-generation fighter jets: It may be produced in small batches for deployment in Chinese troops” (summary by China Kai Yee based on the report in Chinese)


China’s Parade Shows Its Active Defense Capabilities against Invasion


DF-26 aircaft carrier killer with a range up to 4,000 km

DF-26 aircaft carrier killer with a range up to 4,000 km

Firing of long-range rocket cannons

Firing of long-range rocket cannons

Reuters says in its report “Confident China moves to challenge U.S. in Beijing’s backyard” today that analysts see the following three areas of conflict that may give rise to a military showdown between China and the U.S.: “the South China Sea, where China has a series of overlapping territorial disputes with its neighbors, the East China Sea, where remote islets are a source of friction between Beijing and U.S. ally Japan, and any conflict over self-ruled Taiwan.”

Obviously, China will take military action in the three cases to protect its interests. That is why Chinese people support China’s military build-up for that. Chinese people’s Chinese dream is to make China strong enough to defend China against foreign aggression. That is why Chinese strategy is active defense instead of offense.

Therefore, Reuters is wrong in quoting a senior Beijing-based Asian diplomat as saying, “There can only be one big brother in this region.” China does not want to be the only one big brother in the region. It only wants to have the active defense capability to prevent US invasion.

As I have repeatedly pointed out that for such a capability, China has to develop weapons to attack U.S. homeland in retaliation of U.S. attack of its homeland. As long as China has obtained such capability, the U.S. will not dare to attack China no matter even if U.S. military is much stronger than Chinese military.

Moreover, I have repeatedly pointed out Obama’s transfer of 60% U.S. military force to area near China is a strategic mistake. What China fears most is the cutting of its trade lifelines by the US at high sea as it will take decades for China to develop a strong navy to deal with the large number of U.S. advanced aircraft carrier fleets at high sea.

In the area near China, China has the geographical advantage to use its land-based air force and land-supported navy including submarines to conduct saturate attack at U.S aircraft carriers with its anti-ship ballistic and cruise missiles, including not only DF-21D with a range of only 1,500 km but also DF-26 with a range between 3,000 and 4,000 km. It was clearly pointed out in the parade that DF-26 has anti-ship capability.

As for submarines, US submarines are all large nuclear ones difficult to operate in the shallow waters near China while China’s large number of quiet advanced conventional submarines are designed for operation in such waters. China has built quite a few artificial islands that will enable it to deal with US submarines that are able to operate in the deep South China Sea.

In addition, the report is ignorant that China has got anti-submarine technology from France and built its 054 frigates, Z-15 helicopters and Gaoxin-6 anti-submarine aircrafts for submarine warfare.

As for Taiwan, it has no choice but to surrender in a military conflict as the entire island is within China’s powerful longest-range rocket artillery. If US fleets come to its rescue in the Taiwan Strait, they will be all be killed by China’s rocket artillery with shorter range.

China refraining from showing off such artillery precisely proves that the parade is not directed at Taiwan.

Article by Chan Kai Yee as comments on Reuters report.

The following is the full text of Reuters report:

Confident China moves to challenge U.S. in Beijing’s backyard
BEIJING By Ben Blanchard Wed Sep 9, 2015 5:28pm EDT

It is the near future, and China prepares to strike back after being attacked, loosing off ballistic missiles to take out an aircraft carrier and destroying an airfield as a fighter jet takes off.

The enemy is not named in the animation, released late last month by Chinese internet giant Tencent, but the ship looks a lot like a U.S. Nimitz-class carrier, while the destroyed fighter is clearly a Lockheed Martin Corp F-22.

It may be fantasy, but the clip – viewed more than 60 million times so far – reflects a mood of rising nationalism and confidence among the Chinese public and military.

An assertive China under President Xi Jinping now believes its military has the technology to at the very least make the United States think twice before undertaking any military adventures in what China sees as its backyard.

“Can the United States be certain of getting the upper hand in the event of a showdown with China?” retired Major-General Luo Yuan, now a widely followed military commentator, wrote in June. “China is preparing every day to win a modern war.”

Xi visits the United States at end of this month.

Analysts see three potential arenas for such a showdown – the South China Sea, where China has a series of overlapping territorial disputes with its neighbors, the East China Sea, where remote islets are a source of friction between Beijing and U.S. ally Japan, and any conflict over self-ruled Taiwan.

The United States remains by far the world’s most powerful military nation and has pledged to keep sailing in what it regards as international waters off China, dedicating some of its most advanced assets to the region.

But China’s ostentatious display of some of its latest military hardware at a parade in Beijing last week to mark the end of World War Two underlined its growing might.

A senior U.S. official said that, while the Chinese military build-up of recent years had been of ongoing concern, last week’s parade was “more for a showcase effect and not something that has anybody in Washington overly worried”.

MISSILES ON SHOW

Among the weapons unveiled for the first time at the parade was an anti-ship ballistic missile, the Dongfeng-21D, a still untested weapon designed to destroy an aircraft carrier with one hit.

Also on show were several intercontinental ballistic missiles such as the DF-5B and the DF-31A as well as the DF-26 intermediate range ballistic missile, dubbed the “Guam killer” by defense media because it bolsters China’s ability to threaten the U.S. Pacific Ocean base.

Airfields and ports under construction on newly reclaimed Chinese islands in the disputed South China Sea will help China project power far into South East Asian waters.

“We’ve already basically broken through the first island chain,” retired rear admiral Zhang Zhaozhong said in state media this year, referring to the ability to confront the United States close to home around Taiwan.

“Now we need to break through the second and third island chains,” he added, meaning being able to challenge the U.S. Navy in the rest of East Asia and then out as far as Hawaii.

Richard Bitzinger, a regional security analyst at Singapore’s S. Rajaratnam School of International Studies, said while there was nothing technologically new on show last week, he was concerned at potential Chinese military over-confidence.

“Just because they are developing capabilities that are complicating operations, especially for the Americans, doesn’t mean they have won the war already,” he said.

PACIFIC POWER

The United States, which under President Barack Obama has pursued a strategy of “rebalancing” towards Asia, is not about to give up its position as the leading naval power in the western Pacific any time soon.

The U.S. Navy says about 58 percent of all of its forces – ships, aircraft, sailors and Marines – are deployed to or home-ported in the Pacific Fleet, including in Japan, Guam and Singapore.

The USS Ronald Reagan aircraft carrier is on its way to Japan and three more American aircraft carriers are home-ported on America’s Pacific coast.

A recent Pentagon report also noted significant gaps in Chinese defenses, saying it lacked, for example, a robust anti-submarine warfare capability.

“Having these missiles and being able to use them effectively in a conflict are two very different things,” said a Western official in Beijing, citing internal assessments of the missiles on show at the parade, adding it was not clear whether the newest models had even been deployed yet.

Still, China’s advances are already causing major headaches in democratic Taiwan, which China claims as its own and has never renounced the use of force to bring under its control. The United States is obligated by law to help Taiwan defend itself.

An unpublished Taiwan Defense Ministry report, seen by Reuters, warned that China’s upgraded H-6 bomber, when equipped with anti-ship missiles, would enable China to project power even deep into the Indian Ocean.

The same aircraft type appears in the Tencent animation, firing off missiles that end up taking out the carrier.

“The message China is giving these days is ‘we’re here and you’d better get used to it’,” said one senior Beijing-based Asian diplomat. “The aim is to push the Americans as far away as possible. There can only be one big brother in this region.”

(Additional reporting by Michael Martina in BEIJING, Greg Torode in HONG KONG, J.R. Wu in TAIPEI, Phil Stewart and Matt Spetalnick in WASHINGTON and Matt Siegel in SYDNEY; Editing by Alex Richardson)