The military gap of US leaves China even more powerful than US.At November’s biennial air show in the southern city of Zhuhai, the biggest state-owned missile maker, China Aerospace Science and Industry Corporation Ltd, screened an animation showing a hostile “blue force”, comprising an aircraft carrier, escort ships and strike aircraft, approaching “red force” territory.
On a giant screen, the animation showed a barrage of the Chinese company’s missiles launched from “red force” warships, submarines, shore batteries and aircraft wreaking havoc on the escort vessels around the carrier. In a final salvo, two missiles plunge onto the flight deck of the carrier and a third slams into the side of the hull near the bow.
The fate of the ship is an unmistakable message to an America that has long dominated the globe from its mighty aircraft carriers and sprawling network of hundreds of bases. China’s military is now making giant strides toward replacing the US as the supreme power in Asia. With the Pentagon distracted by almost two decades of costly war in the Middle East and Afghanistan, the Chinese military, the People’s Liberation Army (PLA), has exploited a period of sustained budget increases and rapid technical improvement to build and deploy an arsenal of advanced missiles.
China’s growing missile arsenal hasn’t yet been proven in a real-world clash, and some Chinese officials play down their advances. But under the Trump administration, Washington has come to view China as a rival determined to displace the US in Asia. This modern-day missile gap, the administration believes, is emerging as one of the biggest dangers to American military supremacy in Asia since the end of the Cold War. The Pentagon is now scrambling for new weapons and strategies to counter the PLA’s rocket arsenal.
“We know that China has the most advanced ballistic missile force in the world,” said James Fanell, a retired US Navy captain and former senior intelligence officer with the US Pacific Fleet. “They have the capacity to overwhelm the defensive systems we are pursuing.”