Chinese Senior Col. Zhou Bo made headlines at the annual Shangri La Dialogue in Singapore, held from May 31 to June 2, when he announced that Chinese ships have been conducting reconnaissance operations in America's Exclusive Economic Zone.
As the Obama administration descends into a long summer of scandal investigations, its domestic weakness could serve to exacerbate long-standing Asian political fault lines that heretofore were calmed by the assurance of American strength.
China's defense minister and the U.S. Navy secretary on Tuesday discussed security at sea and plans to bolster the U.S. military presence in the Asia-Pacific region that have been sharply criticized by Beijing.
Japanese military officials said they were closely watching seven Chinese warships spotted Tuesday in waters off a southern island.
China celebrated the commissioning this week of its first aircraft carrier with blustering statements and warnings to neighbors in Asia that the warship will help China settle its numerous maritime disputes.
Rear Adm. Yin Zhuo, a leading Chinese navy official, told his nation Aug. 24 that plans to boost U.S. missile defenses in Asia are a strategic conspiracy to trick other nations in the region into investing vast resources to develop nuclear and ballistic weapons.
"China is a country with fertile soil to produce traitors. There were over 1 million Chinese traitors during the Resisting the Japanese War [World War II]. In today's China, there are more traitors than that number," said Rear Adm. Zhang Zhaozhong of the Chinese navy, who is the most well-known and most senior military commentator on China's state television. He is one of the most outspoken, hard core anti-American spokesmen. The revealing remarks were made June 7 in the online edition of the official Chinese newspaper the Global Times.
The Navy's next-generation warship, the 15,000-ton Zumwalt-class destroyer, is no good and can be destroyed by Chinese fishing boats armed with explosives, according to a leading Chinese military commentator, People's Liberation Army Rear Adm. Zhang Zhaozhong.
At the recent U.S.-Chinese defense talks in Beijing, the subject of the Pentagon's new Air Sea Battle Concept, a program to counter China's growing anti-access and area denial weapons, was not discussed.