In US’ military and security developments involving the People’s Republic of China report to Congress, findings reveal China had previously claimed it “did not intend to pursue militarisation”. However, last year officials found China had begun to arm the island. The report said: “China seeks to secure its objectives without jeopardising the regional stability that remains critical to the economic development that has helped the CCP maintain its monopoly on power.”
However, China’s leaders employ tactics short of armed conflict to pursue China’s strategic objectives through activities calculated to fall below the threshold of provoking armed conflict with the United States, its allies and partners, or others in the Indo-Pacific region.
The report added: “These tactics are particularly evident in China’s pursuit of its territorial and maritime claims in the South and East China Seas as well as along its borders with India and Bhutan.
“In 2018, China continued militarization in the South China Sea by placing anti-ship cruise missiles and long-range surface-to-air missiles on outposts in the Spratly Islands, violating a 2015 pledge by Chinese President Xi Jinping that China does not intend to pursue militarisation of the Spratly Islands.
“China is also willing to employ coercive measures – both military and nonmilitary – to advance its interests and mitigate opposition from other countries.”
The development comes at a time of high drama between the US and China over the waters.
The ongoing row is centred around the waters, which are the richest in the world.
China claims almost all of the strategic South China Sea.
Countries such as Brunei, Indonesia, Taiwan and the Philippines are pushing China to claim parts of the maritime region.
The United States, Japan and India do not have any territorial claims there.
The news follows a report from the Pentagon that suggests the US has become fearful of China’s quest to be the dominant global force amid the country’s development of a “nuclear triad”.
The Pentagon has warned Beijing is close to completing an elite cohort of being able to deliver a nuclear strike by land, sea and air.
Earlier this week, Philippines President Rodrigo Duterte urged the US to declare war on China in the ongoing dispute.