“Greetings to your peers”.
Then Chinese President Xi Jinping said on Tuesday to the sailors of the People’s Liberation Army. In a multinational sea exhibition in the northern Chinese port city of Qingdao, Xi’s implied message was clear: We now have an oceanic marine that will introduce our will to others.
It’s a message that the US can’t ignore.
Xi presided over Tuesday’s naval screen while aboard China’s latest type 055 destroyer warship. That ship has extremely advanced sensor platforms and air defense capabilities. It is designed to protect Chinese strike groups in the event of a conflict with America. To be clear, it can compete with American warships in a full fight.
Xi’s pride is understandable.
Thanks to its investments, China now retains ships and submarines that can seem far from Chinese waters. While this is an ongoing effort, China retains an ability to fight near territorial states such as the Philippines and Vietnam. It offers Beijing an arrow to employ alongside the protection of its territory denial program to protect the mainland. The arrow supports Xi’s activities in the Indian Ocean and Chinese military interests as far away as Venezuela. All this serves a clear strategic goal: to set up the military architecture to serve the Xis mercantile empire. That is, to establish the architecture to shift and defeat the US efforts to defend our order against China’s aggression.
We must become more serious about China’s growing threat. The US Navy continues to mask overhead aircraft as the line tip of its naval flight. And the US military command responsible for China-related operations continues to lack the tools it needs to win.
President Trump should quickly address these issues. If not, he can preside over China’s global hegemony.