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China Investing Estimated $200 Billion in ‘Imperialistic’ Military to Rival U.S., Warns Pentagon Sr. Strategist

Jeff Poor
Business & Media Institute
June 4, 2010

With China holding over $700 billion in U.S. debt, a lot of caution has been applied to the diplomatic relations between the United States and China by the Obama administration. However, gone relatively unnoticed has been the expansion of the Chinese military.

On CNBC’s June 3 “Street Signs,” host Erin Burnett explained the Chinese military would have a compact fighter jet rivaling the U.S. Air Force’s F-22 in eight years. She aired and interview she conducted with U.S. Ambassador to China Jon Huntsman, which comes on the heels of China snubbing Defense Secretary Robert Gates. Huntsman pointed out the refusal of the Asian superpower to engage the United States and said it was a “huge problem.”

“On the military issue generally, the lack of transparency and the lack of dialogue and interaction is a huge problem for the United States,” Huntsman said to CNBC. “And we need more interaction. We need interaction at the junior officer level and we need interaction at the senior officer level and we’re getting very little of it right now. And when you have no dialogue, when you have no interaction, you have cultures that sort of build up on both sides. And they’re built up based upon suspicion and lack of trust.”

According to Burnett, China contends it is spending $40 billion to $50 billion on its military. However, Retired Army Lt. Col. Bob Maginnis, a senior strategist for the Pentagon told CNBC it was three or four times those estimates and offered a litany of things China is procuring to bulk up its armed forces.

“Well, it’s three or four times that Erin because the People’s Liberation Army has all sorts of side businesses,” Maginnis said. “And of course, the pay to the average soldier there is very low. But by in large for the last 20 years, we’ve seen double-digit increases in their defense budget and we’ve seen very tangible evidence of that. They have a new strategic force. They have submarine-launched ballistic missiles. They have anti-access weapons systems. In other words, they can stop our carriers now. And oh, by the way, they are making their own carriers. I mean, their navy has been described by our admiral in the Pacific as pretty dramatic increase in their capabilities.”

Maginnis explained this shift in military spending is clear evidence the Asian superpower is set to rival the United States militarily. He also noted this was a shift in strategy – from defensive to an aggressive global power.

“Erin, when you translate it to tangible evidence on the ground, things just don’t make sense,” Maginnis said. “You know, 260 ships – we have 286. And they’re ramping up their production of submarines. As I mentioned a moment ago, they have four aircraft carriers they’ve purchased from Australia and the former Soviet Union which they’re refitting. They even intend to build their own aircraft carriers and right now, they’re training pilots for those aircraft carriers. This is not a defensive navy. This is an aggressive overseas navy. In fact, they recently changed their strategy which is called “the far-sea strategy.” In other words, it’s a global strategy.”

As China pushes ahead with their military, it could be interpreted to be “imperialistic,” he added.

“Well, they are certainly very aggressive in the marketplace, and because they are aggressive on the marketplace, they want to have the capability to defend their interests across the globe,” Maginnis said. “So how else do you come to the conclusion that they are, I think, somewhat imperialistic.”

Last year, it was reported the Chinese had developed a special “kill weapon” designed to destroy U.S. aircraft carriers.

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