Re-Visiting ChiCom Threat To U.S.

John A. Quayle blueoval at SGI.NET
Thu Dec 6 08:21:36 MST 2001

Gen. Shelton sees China as growing threat to U.S.

By Bill Gertz

The Pentagon's top general warned yesterday that China may emerge as a
Soviet-like superpower in the coming years. Top Stories "I am firmly
convinced that we need to focus all elements of U.S. power and diplomacy on
ensuring that China does not become the 21st-century version of the Soviet
bear," said Gen. Henry H. Shelton, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff,
during a speech to the National Press Club. In particular, the United
States needs to convince China that resolving its differences with Taiwan
peacefully "is the only way ahead."
China's government stated in a recent official report that the situation in
the Taiwan Strait was "grim." The Communist government is building up its
missile forces opposite the island and has also stepped up threatening
rhetoric, calling for unification, through force if necessary.
Gen. Shelton said the combination of a capitalist-style economy and
Communist political dictatorship is a potential threat to regional
stability.  He noted that it will not be easy for the United States to
prevent China from becoming a new Soviet Union. "China takes a distrustful
view of the United States' intentions, as
articulated in their recent defense white paper," he said. The government
white paper characterized the United States as a global menace and threat
to peace.
"They are aggressively modernizing their military forces, both conventional
as well as nuclear. At the same time, they hope to maintain control of an
expanding capitalist-like economy under a communist hierarchy that embraces
centralized planning and centralized control.  "This situation is a
contradiction that could threaten China's internal power, and consequently
threaten stability throughout the region."   Gen. Shelton made no mention
of the recent long-range missile test
carried out by China during his visit to the country last month.  The
flight test of the new DF-31 mobile missile was the second in the
missile-development program and officials said a third flight test could
take place in the next several weeks.  The four-star general, who will
finish his term as Joint Chiefs chairman
in September, said the next administration will need to boost defense
spending by $60 billion to $100 billion to fix problems caused by
underfunding during the Clinton administration, a depletion that has caused
a "fraying" of the military.
The problem for defense planners is "plenty of strategy, not enough
forces," Gen. Shelton said.  "And the wear and tear on our equipment is
significant, leading to what has been termed as a fraying of our force," he
said.  Recent instability in Haiti, Africa, Indonesia and Southwest Asia
provide a window on the future international-security environment, Gen.
Shelton said.  "I think we all realize it's murky, it's frustrating and
it's increasingly dangerous," he said.  Asked if there will be any changes
in the military's "don't ask, don't tell" policy of permitting homosexuals
to serve secretly in the ranks, Gen. Shelton said: "I think that the
current policy strikes the right balance between the requirements for good
law, order and discipline, and provides for opportunities for men and women
to serve the nation, and I think from the policy standpoint, we've got it
right."   Improvements can be made in implementing the policy, he noted.

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