07 June 2017

China Attacks Pentagon Report, Laments U.S. “Cold War Mentality”

Josh Chin, “China Attacks Pentagon Report, Laments U.S. ‘Cold War Mentality’,” Wall Street Journal, 7 June 2017.

Beijing dismisses Defense Department warning about Chinese military’s ambitions outside Asia

… The Pentagon report… for the first time examined China’s “maritime militia,” a growing civilian fleet staffed by military-trained fishermen that Beijing uses for “low-intensity coercion” in defending its vast maritime claims in nearby seas. While the militias used to rent boats from companies or fishermen, China now appears to be building a state-owned fleet to patrol the South China Sea, the report says.

“The maritime militia is literally on the front lines of advancing China’s sovereignty claims in the South China Sea.” said Andrew Erickson, an expert in Chinese maritime strategy at the U.S. Naval War College.

Mr. Erickson said there were several incidents in the past decade in which militia boats conducted surveillance and carried supplies during conflicts with China’s neighbors over disputed islands. Its inclusion in the report was important, he said.

“By ‘calling it out’ in public, the U.S. government can reduce the force’s room for maneuver,” he said.