China's New Deal For America?

(From Bloomberg)
China’s New Missile May Create a ‘No-Go Zone’ for U.S. Fleet

By Tony Capaccio

Nov. 17 (Bloomberg) -- China’s military is close to fielding the world’s first anti-ship ballistic missile, according to U.S. Navy intelligence.

The missile, with a range of almost 900 miles (1,500 kilometers), would be fired from mobile, land-based launchers and is “specifically designed to defeat U.S. carrier strike groups,” the Office of Naval Intelligence reported.

Five of the U.S. Navy’s 11 carriers are based in the Pacific and operate freely in international waters near China. Their mission includes defending Taiwan should China seek to exercise by force its claim to the island democracy, which it considers a breakaway province.

The missile could turn this region into a “no-go zone” for U.S. carriers, said Andrew Krepinevich, president of the Center for Strategic and Budget Assessments in Washington.

Scott Bray, who wrote the ONI report on China’s Navy, said China has made “remarkable progress” on the missile. “In little over a decade, China has taken the program from the conceptual phase” to “near fielding a combat-ready missile,” he said. Bray’s report, issued in July, was provided to Bloomberg News on request.

China also is developing an over-the-horizon radar network to spot U.S. ships at great distances from its mainland, and its navy since 2000 has tripled to 36 from 12 the number of vessels carrying anti-ship weapons, Bray, the ONI’s senior officer for intelligence on China, said in an e-mail.

China’s Strategy

The new missile would support China’s “anti-access” strategy to detect and if necessary attack U.S. warships “at progressively greater distances” from its mainland, Krepinevich said.

Defense Secretary Robert Gates, in a Sept. 16 speech, said China’s “investments in anti-ship weaponry and ballistic missiles could threaten America’s primary way to project power and help allies in the Pacific -- particularly our forward bases and carrier strike groups.”

Admiral Gary Roughead, chief of U.S. naval operations, says the new Chinese missile was one factor in his 2008 decision to cut the DDG-1000 destroyer program from eight ships to three because the vessels lack a missile-defense capability.

The Navy instead plans to build up to seven more Lockheed Martin Corp. Aegis-class DDG-51 destroyers and equip them with the newest radar and missiles.

China’s ballistic missile “portends the sophistication of the threats that we’re going to see,” Roughead said in an interview earlier this year.

China has ground-tested the missile three times since 2006 and conducted no flight tests yet, Navy officials said.

‘Limited Capability’

General Xu Caihou, China’s No. 2 military official, played down the weapon’s significance.

“It is a limited capability” to meet “the minimum requirement of” China’s national security, Xu, vice chairman of China’s Central Military Commission, said in response to a question following an Oct. 26 speech in Washington.

Mark Stokes, an analyst who has studied the missile program, said the Navy’s assessment indicates China started to develop the weapon after the March 1996 Taiwan “crisis.” That’s when the Clinton administration sent two aircraft carriers and escort warships into the Taiwan Strait and the surrounding area after China fired missiles near the island before its presidential election, Stokes said.

Stokes just published a study of the weapon for the non- profit Project 2049 Institute in Arlington, Virginia, that studies Asia security issues.

Alter Rules

An article in the May 2009 edition of Proceedings, a magazine published by the U.S. Naval Institute, said the missile “could alter the rules in the Pacific and place U.S. Navy carrier strike groups in jeopardy.”

“The mere perception that China might have an anti-ship ballistic missile capability could be a game-changer, with profound consequences for deterrence, military operations and the balance of power in the Western Pacific,” the article said.

Paul Giarra, a defense consultant who studies China’s weapons, called the missile “a remarkably asymmetric Chinese attempt to control the sea from the shore.”

No American military operations -- air or ground -- are feasible in a region where the U.S. Navy cannot operate,” Giarra, president of Global Strategies and Transformation, based in Herndon, Virginia, said in an e-mail.

China is not spending large sums on defensive military hardware without reason. The Chinese seem to demonstrate a much longer strategic view than many Western Democracies. Perhaps this ties in to the massive export program they have selling goods to the US and building up treasuries in the process. When the time comes for the US to default on its debt, perhaps the Chinese would be in a strong position to make a real estate deal in exchange for some of those US treasuries they hold.
Taiwan sounds like a fair exchange for some debt relief.
How about that Mr. Obama?
And if you don't like it, what are you going to do about it?