Elijah City, Nevada (PressExposure) March 06, 2011 -- Last week, the U.S. Navy's chief commander for the Asia-Pacific region called on Beijing to be "responsible and constructive" as it gears up to deploy its first aircraft carrier.
At a forum in Hong Kong, Vice Adm. Scott Van Buskirk said, "It is our sincere hope that as China continues to develop a blue-water navy-one that may soon include an aircraft carrier-it will employ that navy in a way that is responsible and constructive."
Besides developing its first aircraft carrier, which allows Beijing to extend its power far beyond its borders for the first time, China also recently tested its first fifth-generation J-20 stealth fighter, which competes with the U.S.'s latest stealth fighter.
Additionally, the Chinese military has unveiled the world's first anti-ship ballistic missile (asbm), which is believed to be capable of destroying U.S. aircraft carriers from hundreds of miles away before defensive maneuvers can be undertaken. Toshi Yoshihara, an associate professor at the U.S. Naval War College, has noted that asbms would also make other U.S. targets vulnerable. "If those missiles can reach carriers in the open ocean, they can target critical naval bases all along the Pacific Rim. That challenges the basic principle of American power projections in the Far East."
And the U.S. has no response to China's asbms.
China's mushrooming military might and its rising economic power have concerned many of its neighbors-Vietnam, India, the Philippines, Japan-in an era when the ailing U.S. economy is prompting calls for cuts in Washington's defense spending. U.S. defense programs have slashed $78 billion from the budget over the next five years, and Defense Secretary Robert Gates has called for an additional $100 billion in cuts.
In his speech, Van Buskirk attempted to reassure Washington's allies by listing several improvements U.S. naval forces have made in the region.
"Some worry that the U.S., with our sluggish economy and continued military engagement in Afghanistan, is weakening its position and its commitment to Asia," he said. "From where I sit as the U.S. Seventh Fleet commander, I can tell you that our commitment to this region has never been stronger."
But many Asian leaders are unconvinced, as demonstrated by the steps that both Vietnam and the Philippines have recently taken to diminish their reliance on the U.S, and to prepare themselves for the inevitable rise of China.
China's behavior in recent years and specific Bible prophecies agree that it is unlikely that Beijing will heed van Buskirk's calls to be "responsible and constructive." As the shift in power continues, more and more Asian nations will abandon the sinking U.S. ship and will rally behind China to support its ascendancy. To understand more about the shifting tides of power in the South-Pacific, read "China's Military Advancements Surpass Western Expectations.