China’s navy has received renewed attention as its growth begins to challenge U.S. military hegemony within the Pacific Ocean. The uncertainty surrounding how this will affect future relations between China and the U.S. remains unknown and worrisome. As an established economic superpower, China is now moving to become one of the greatest military powers. China’s modernisation of its naval capability began in 2000 and has recently accelerated in 2013. It has also increased its air and strategic rocket power. This has become challenging for the U.S., especially surrounding Taiwan and within the South China Sea region. A main concern for the U.S. involves China disrupting their operation within the Pacific Ocean where they’ve remained since World War II. This conflicted area now comprises the U.S. and their allies alongside Chinese warships and aircrafts.
Commander of the U.S. Indo-Pacific, Philip Davidson, stated that “China is now capable of controlling the South China Sea in all scenarios short of war with the United States.” These predictions are based on Chinese naval forces becoming the world’s largest navy within 2017, overtaking the U.S. with warships and submarines. Davidson also went on to say that “There is no guarantee that the United States would win a future conflict with China.” This is because for China to prevail, the Chinese military simply need to intervene enough within the region that offensive reactions by the U.S. would become too costly. As stipulated by SBS, this has become possible for Beijing who have created anti-access capabilities that utilize missiles, radar and satellites to neutralize America’s powerful aircraft carrier strike groups.
The fear from the U.S. surrounding the growth of the Chinese naval and missile capabilities will heavily depend upon what type of power China wants to become. If China takes the offensive approach, this will create severe insecurity and will lead the U.S. striking back. If this were to happen then America’s allies would be dragged into a long and hard battle. Therefore, for peace and international security to remain within the region, it is important that China is careful with its actions and intentions. It is also important for the U.S. to question whether its presence within foreign waters is necessary. The U.S. is known for their competitiveness and it’s important for their insecurity to remain contained to avoid conflict. This is because peace should always remain the ultimate goal, especially since the fight for power never ends without devastation and death.
President Xi Jinping stated in April that “The task of building a powerful navy has never been as urgent as it is today.” This is due to a combination of factors that involve China’s national security and expansion, including the goal of creating a “Blue Water” navy which will defend its increasing interests outside coastal waters. This advancement of anti-ship missiles and submarine warfare has come to a shock to the U.S. as three years prior, Xi declared that China would not militarize its artificial islands farther south, however, this has since occurred. Regardless of the current trade war against China, the country’s advancement doesn’t seem to be slowing down within the distant future.
China’s growth and the threat of potential conflict against the U.S. represents an international security issue as well as a humanitarian issue. At all costs its important for these two powers to remain at peace with each other, otherwise the conflict that will follow could be disastrous for global peace.
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