- The Washington Times - Thursday, June 26, 2008

China EMP arms

China’s significant military buildup includes strategic weapons designed to counter U.S. military advantages, including electric pulse weapons, a senior Pentagon official told Congress Wednesday.

James J. Shinn, assistant secretary of defense for Asian and Pacific security affairs also said during House testimony that China’s arms buildup is increasing the danger of a future conflict over Taiwan.

Mr. Shinn warned that one troubling aspect of the large-scale buildup is what he termed a “deliberate and well-thought-through Chinese strategy to invest in asymmetric warfare - cyber-warfare, counterspace capability, a very sophisticated ballistic and cruise missile program and, of course, undersea warfare.”

He disclosed that China’s military is working on exotic electromagnetic pulse (EMP) weapons that can devastate electronic systems using a burst of energy similar to that produced by a nuclear blast.

Chinese EMP weaponry “is one of several examples of asymmetric warfare that we need to deal with,” Mr. Shinn told the House Armed Services Committee.

“The consequence of EMP is that you destroy the communications network,” Mr. Shin said. “And we are, as you know, and as the Chinese also know, heavily dependent on sophisticated communications, satellite communications, in the conduct of our forces. And so, whether it’s from an EMP or it’s some kind of a coordinated [anti-satellite] effort, we could be in a very bad place if the Chinese enhanced their capability in this area.”

“In terms of the danger associated with the military balance across the straits… I think we’d have to conclude that as the balance has shifted toward the mainland, it has materially increased the danger across the straits,” he stated.

The recent election of Ma Ying-jeou as Taiwan’s president and the renewal of China-Taiwan discussions “at least, appears to have reduced the threat and the probability of the use of force.”

Air Force Maj. Gen. Philip M. Breedlove, vice director of the Joint Staff for strategic plans and policy, said he agreed with Mr. Shinn and warned that the increase in Chinese air defense and other war-fighting capabilities in the strait “make it militarily a more challenging area.”

Gen. Breedlove said it is hoped that increased military dialogue with China will diffuse the danger of “possible incidents across the strait.”

The Pentagon’s annual report to Congress on China’s military power revealed that Beijing has deployed about 1,000 ballistic missiles opposite Taiwan, which broke with China in 1949 after nationalist forces fled the mainland during the civil war with communists.

Intercept law passage

House passage of the compromise legislation on a new federal electronic surveillance law was a defeat for congressional liberals, who opposed the bill.

Approval of the amended Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA) was a victory for the Bush administration, which won renewed power to spy on the communications of foreign terrorists and spies, and also defeated liberal lawmakers’ efforts to punish American telecommunications companies with lawsuits for supporting the intercept program.

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