Chinese oppose US carrier deployment

In a speech to the Asia Society June 9, Admiral Mike Mullen, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, expressed dismay over China's failure to support U.S. and allied calls for punishing North Korea over its sinking of the Cheonan, a South Korean corvette. Forty-six crewmen died when a North Korea submarine ambushed and torpedoed the Republic of Korea (ROK) warship March 26.

Beijing's reaction is more than just "tepid" as Adm. Mullen described it. It sees American support for South Korea to be a threat to China. On the same day as the admiral's speech, an editorial in the Chinese Communist Party news paper Global Times warned against joint U.S.-ROK naval exercises, arguing the "Yellow Sea no place for US carrier,".

A symbol of its past hegemony, the US still likes to deploy aircraft carriers around the world when it wishes to disturb others.

So far, no definitive answer has been given to speculation over whether the US will send a carrier to participate in joint military drills with South Korea in the Yellow Sea. But the possibility remains infuriating to many Chinese.

Stationed in the Japanese port of Yokohama since 2008, the US carrier George Washington has been deployed to watch China's naval activity and flex its muscle in the West Pacific. It certainly intends to make its presence felt in the Yellow Sea and the East China Sea.

But the US should reconsider its military movements in the West Pacific. Disguised as a move aimed at maintaining regional stability, the deployment of a carrier off of China's coast is a provocation that will generate hostility among the Chinese public toward the US. Who would not be bothered by an opponent hanging around at the door with a gun all day long?

Calling the United States "an opponent" with only a "past hegemony" is bad enough. But the use of the term "provocation" and later in the long editorial describing the U.S. as attempting "to incite China with military aggression" and "to provoke China militarily" indicates Beijing's view of Washington is rather different than the "partnership" espoused by U.S. officials at the recent U.S.-China Strategic & Economic Dialogue. A show of force against Pyongyang means a potential confrontation with Beijing.

Adm. Mullen said he is concerned by the "disconnect" between China's stated military intentions and its rapid military buildup of high-technology weapons designed to attack the U.S. fleet. But there is a clear connection. Beijing's ruling communists consider America to be a geopolitical rival and North Korea to be a fraternal ally, just as they did over a half century ago during the Korean War. Seven years of appealing to China for help in controlling Pyongyang during the Six Party Talks have proven futile.

Washington must drop its own disconnect between diplomacy, trade and strategy in regard to Beijing. The core interests of the two great powers are at odds, and America must prepare accordingly.

 

In a speech to the Asia Society June 9, Admiral Mike Mullen, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, expressed dismay over China's failure to support U.S. and allied calls for punishing North Korea over its sinking of the Cheonan, a South Korean corvette. Forty-six crewmen died when a North Korea submarine ambushed and torpedoed the Republic of Korea (ROK) warship March 26.

Beijing's reaction is more than just "tepid" as Adm. Mullen described it. It sees American support for South Korea to be a threat to China. On the same day as the admiral's speech, an editorial in the Chinese Communist Party news paper Global Times warned against joint U.S.-ROK naval exercises, arguing the "Yellow Sea no place for US carrier,".

A symbol of its past hegemony, the US still likes to deploy aircraft carriers around the world when it wishes to disturb others.

So far, no definitive answer has been given to speculation over whether the US will send a carrier to participate in joint military drills with South Korea in the Yellow Sea. But the possibility remains infuriating to many Chinese.

Stationed in the Japanese port of Yokohama since 2008, the US carrier George Washington has been deployed to watch China's naval activity and flex its muscle in the West Pacific. It certainly intends to make its presence felt in the Yellow Sea and the East China Sea.

But the US should reconsider its military movements in the West Pacific. Disguised as a move aimed at maintaining regional stability, the deployment of a carrier off of China's coast is a provocation that will generate hostility among the Chinese public toward the US. Who would not be bothered by an opponent hanging around at the door with a gun all day long?

Calling the United States "an opponent" with only a "past hegemony" is bad enough. But the use of the term "provocation" and later in the long editorial describing the U.S. as attempting "to incite China with military aggression" and "to provoke China militarily" indicates Beijing's view of Washington is rather different than the "partnership" espoused by U.S. officials at the recent U.S.-China Strategic & Economic Dialogue. A show of force against Pyongyang means a potential confrontation with Beijing.

Adm. Mullen said he is concerned by the "disconnect" between China's stated military intentions and its rapid military buildup of high-technology weapons designed to attack the U.S. fleet. But there is a clear connection. Beijing's ruling communists consider America to be a geopolitical rival and North Korea to be a fraternal ally, just as they did over a half century ago during the Korean War. Seven years of appealing to China for help in controlling Pyongyang during the Six Party Talks have proven futile.

Washington must drop its own disconnect between diplomacy, trade and strategy in regard to Beijing. The core interests of the two great powers are at odds, and America must prepare accordingly.

 

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