Inside China

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“This was fairly quick turnaround from the second to the third [sea] trial for this newly refurbished carrier, so one can presume political intent,” said Richard Fisher Jr., a military analyst with the International Assessment and Strategy Center.

Far less subtle was the Chinese government’s decision to air a state-run CCTV television report on the PLA’s Second Artillery Corps and the ICBM stockpile under its command on the same day Mr. Kim’s death was announced.

China bashes air-sea office

With the creation of the air-sea battle office in August, the Pentagon is striving to enhance and integrate air and naval combat capabilities many believed are aimed at China, a nation engaged in a full-scale arms race in Asia to challenge America’s presence in the region.

According to the Pentagon news release, the air-sea battle concept will “counter emerging threats that include conventional ballistic missiles, long-range precision cruise missiles, advanced integrated air and missile defense systems, electronic and cyber warfare capabilities, submarines, surface combatants, and modern combat aircraft.” All these systems are hallmarks of China’s military capabilities and weapons stockpile of late.

China, however, has been attacking the concept.

In addition to boilerplate rebuttals issued by the Chinese Defense Ministry’s spokesman to any U.S. defensive and preventive posturing in the region, leading Chinese military bloggers and defense analysts have issued a constant stream of articles in China’s exuberant military discussion forums.

On Dec. 12, PLA navy Rear Adm. Yang Yi charged in the official Communist Party mouthpiece the People’s Daily that the air-sea battle concept was yet another U.S. conspiracy to use anti-access and anti-area-denial forces as an excuse to scramble for control of the commanding heights in a future military struggle against China. He also said the United States had developed a Cold War-like military alliance in Asia to confront China.

On Dec. 19, Han Xudong, a military scholar at the Chinese Defense University, wrote a People’s Daily article that also appeared in its subsidiary, the Global Times, that accused the air sea battle concept of being a combination of saber-rattling and psychological deterrence against China.

Miles Yu’s column appears Thursdays. He can be reached at mmilesyu@gmail.com.

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