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Editorial: Don't Underestimate China

Jul. 8, 2013 - 02:29PM   |  
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China is an economic superpower that has earned a reputation for achieving ambitious goals, whether grand public works, financial success, territorial claims or military growth.

Yet too many continue to be surprised by its military advancement.

Beijing said it would tame the Yangtze River and displaced a million-plus people to build history’s largest dam. It laid claim to the South and East China Seas, and used its economic and military muscle to intimidate neighbors from resisting

Beijing is heeding the advice of its great strategist, Sun Tzu: Whenever possible, leverage everything at your disposal to get adversaries to cede to your will — without having to fight.

Now China wants Russian Su-35 fighters equipped with advanced radars that, once coupled with an existing S-400 air defense system, will stretch China’s air defenses to 400 kilometers from its shores.

Doing so would effectively put Taiwan and other disputed territories under the Chinese umbrella, changing the entire Asia-Pacific dynamic.

It’s time America and its allies stop down-playing China’s steadfast determination and breakneck military modernization drive, despite Beijing’s insistance that its military plans are merely defensive.

While China plays a complex and concerted power game, using cash to influence lawmakers all around the region, a fiscally constrained US is seen as dangerously waffling on its own Asia pivot.

The Asia-Pacific region is hungry for US leadership. But Washington must do more to fully fund regional initiatives and increase engagement in this most critical part of the world.

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