The Chinese Threat to the US Is Growing

If President Obama thinks climate change is our greatest national security threat, he'd be wise to ponder the change in the global climate of a volley of Chinese DF-21D "carrier-killer" missiles destroying an American carrier battle group on its way to counter, say,  a Chinese invasion of Taiwan.

This very real possibility was seen as the DF-21D, equipped with a terminal guidance system that gives it the ability to hit moving targets, was shown off in a military parade last September.  As Investor's Business Daily (IB) noted in January 2015:

The DF-21D, a road-mobile anti-ship ballistic missile, is designed to target and track aircraft carrier groups with the help of satellites, unmanned aircraft and over-the-horizon radar. Launched into space, the DF-21D re-enters the atmosphere and maneuvers at 10 times the speed of sound toward its target.

The public display of the DF-21D comes after the Chinese announcement that it is building its second aircraft to go along with a refurbished Soviet carrier, the Liaonng, commissioned by China in 2012 after extensive refitting of the 25-year-old vessel.  As IBD has reported, the Liaoning is only the first step in the building of a blue-water navy capable of competing with our diminishing one, with Admiral Samuel J. Locklear III, chief of the U.S. Pacific Command, warning that the U.S. is losing its Pacific dominance to China:

China's Communist Party-affiliated newspaper, Global Times, gloated over Locklear's warning, noting his remarks in a story beneath the headline "U.S. losing grip on Pacific: PACOM."

In the Times story, Jin Canrong, a deputy dean of the School of International Studies at Renmin University of China, said the American admiral's comments recognize China as a rising military power. Indeed, it is. China has launched its first stealth drone, known as Sharp Sword, and is developing indigenous aircraft carriers. Its "two-ocean strategy" is based on the goal of building a fleet of five or six carrier battle groups.

China's first battle group, led by its first carrier, the Liaoning, recently conducted a monthlong exercise that saw the refurbished Soviet-built flattop and her escorts sail south to the waters near Taiwan. During the exercise, a Chinese warship nearly collided with the guided missile cruiser USS Cowpens, which was shadowing the battle group.

Ignoring Chinese (and Russian) provocations is par for the golf course for the ever-vacationing President Obama.  A recent example was the probe of U.S. territorial waters near Alaska by a Chinese flotilla.  By sending five warships into Alaskan territorial waters while President Obama visited the 49th state to eat bear-killed salmon, rename Mt. McKinley, and warn of nonexistent climate change, China has made a statement that it intends this to be the Chinese century, a message our commander-in-chief has studiously ignored.

The Obama administration contends that there is nothing to see in the Chinese action, so move on, and it was not in fact a threatening move, but an innocent transit allowed under the Law of the Sea Treaty, one of those pacts that have put restraints on American sovereignty and security:

"This was a legal transit of U.S. territorial seas conducted in accordance with the Law of the Sea Convention," said Pentagon spokesman Cmdr. Bill Urban. ...

China's Defense Ministry confirmed that its navy ships had sailed to the Bering Sea for training after joint exercises with Russia in late August, but said the activity was routine and not aimed at any particular country.

Right.  We should not be concerned with Chinese warships coming within 12 nautical miles of the U.S. coast after conducting naval exercises with the Russians in the Northern Pacific as President Obama shrinks U.S. Navy levels to numbers lower than before World War I.

China's military and political ambitions can be seen in not only its unprecedented military buildup, but also in its territorial ambitions, which have laid claims not only to Taiwan, but also to Japan's Senkaku islands in the East China Sea and to virtually all of the South China Sea, including the disputed Spratly and Paracel Island chains.  As Yahoo News reported on Saturday:

China has unveiled changes to the structure of its military, adding three new units, described by President Xi Jinping as "a major policy decision to realize the Chinese dream of a strong army", state media reported.

The formation of the new units, which follows Beijing's announcement that it was building a second aircraft carrier, comes with China acting more aggressively in territorial disputes in the South China Sea and East China Sea, drawing the ire of its neighbors and the United States.

China is expanding and restructuring its military forces for what it considers an inevitable confrontation with the United States. An editorial in The Global Times, a newspaper seen as a mouthpiece for hard-line nationalists in Beijing warns of the consequences of resistance warns, "If the United States' bottom line is that China has to halt these activities, then a U.S. China war is inevitable in the South China Sea."

As Investor's Business Daily has noted:

Beijing has long declared the South China Sea to be its territorial waters and has laid claim to two disputed chains: the Paracel Islands, about 200 miles from the coast of Vietnam, and the Spratly Islands in the southeastern part of the South China Sea. China's territorial ambitions include the Senkakus in the East China Sea, part of what Chinese military doctrine refers to as the "first island chain" that surrounds China.

In the South China Sea, as of February, according to Reuters, China had finished construction on no less than six different island reefs from which to project its power in the South China Sea.  Included in its military effort is the construction of a 3,000 meters (9,842 feet) long runway on the artificially expanded Fiery Cross Reef as a base for Chinese fighter aircraft.

China's creation of artificial islands in the South China Sea is happening so fast that Beijing will be able to extend the range of its navy, air force, coastguard and fishing fleets before long, much to the alarm of rival claimants to the contested waters.

Reclamation work is well advanced on six reefs in the Spratly archipelago, according to recently published satellite photographs and Philippine officials. In addition, Manila said this month that Chinese dredgers had started reclaiming a seventh.

China is preparing for a military confrontation with the United States.  By that time, President Obama, who has left us with a woefully diminished military capability, will probably be out of office working on his golf handicap.  He has been ours.

Daniel John Sobieski is a freelance writer whose pieces have appeared in Investor's Business Daily, Human Events, Reason Magazine, and the Chicago Sun-Times among other publications.