The NT Times does a piece about America and Pacific rim counties working together militarily against a China that seems to want to expand a-la ‘ Russia Ukraine….
“We’re not concerned with the past, we are concerned with the future,” said Col. Inadome Satoru, commander of Japan’s Ninth Air Wing Flight Group. “We can ensure stability by showing strength.”
Asia and the Pacific are steering into an anxious, well-armed moment with echoes of old conflicts and immediate risks. Rattled by China’s military buildup and territorial threats — along with Russia’s war of aggression in Ukraine and doubts about U.S. resolve — nations across the region are bolstering defense budgets, joint training, weapons manufacturing and combat-ready infrastructure.
For decades, Asia’s rise made it an economic engine for the world, tying China and other regional manufacturing hubs to Europe and America. The focus was trade. Now, fear is setting in, with China and the United States locked in a volatile strategic contest and with diplomatic relations at their worst point in 50 years….
In response, many of China’s neighbors — and the United States — are turning to hard power, accelerating the most significant arms race in Asia since World War II.
On March 13, North Korea launched cruise missiles from a submarine for the first time. The same day, Australia unveiled a $200 billion plan to build nuclear-propelled submarines with the United States and Britain that would make it only the seventh nation to have them.
Japan, after decades of pacifism, is also gaining offensive capabilities unmatched since the 1940s with U.S. Tomahawk missiles. India has conducted training with Japan and Vietnam. Malaysia is buying South Korean combat aircraft. American officials are trying to amass a giant weapons stockpile in Taiwan to make it a bristling “porcupine” that could head off a Chinese invasion, and the Philippines is planning for expanded runways and ports to host its largest American military presence in decades.
None of this may be enough to match China. Its own surging arsenal now includes “monster” coast guard cutters along with a rapidly increasing supply of missiles and nuclear warheads….
Many countries hope that stronger militaries will discourage China from going any further, but the buildup also reflects declining confidence in the United States. The war in Ukraine has drawn down U.S. political capital and material support. In many Asian capitals, there are doubts about the American military’s ability to adapt and stop China’s advance, and worries about what U.S. politics might produce — the dreaded nightmare of an overreaction to Chinese provocations, or abandonment with a retreat…..
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