China’s military might rattles US Generals

China’s military might rattles US Generals

WASHINGTON: China 's military might is growing at such a pace that it could soon rival American power "across almost every domain," a top US military official said Wednesday.

Admiral Harry Harris, who heads up the military's enormous Pacific Command (PACOM), warned lawmakers they must be wary of Beijing's investments in traditional assets as well as its development of a new wave of technologies such as hypersonic missiles and artificial intelligence.

"China's impressive military buildup could soon challenge the United States <link> across almost every domain," Harris told the House Armed Services Committee.

"Key advancements include fielding significant improvements in missile systems, developing fifth-generation fighter aircraft capabilities, and growing the size and capability of the Chinese navy to include their first overseas base in the port of Djibouti."

He added: "If the US does not keep pace, PACOM will struggle to compete with the People's Liberation Army on future battlefields."

The admiral stressed that China 's One Belt One Road <link> (OBOR) initiative is not as benign as it is made out to be and, in fact, all global chokepoints are currently under pressure from it.

"One Belt One Road is much more than just an economic engine that China is undertaking. It is a concerted, strategic endeavour by China to gain a foothold and displace the United States and our allies and partners in the Indo-Pacific region," he said.

One needs to look at the bases and places where China is putting its emphasis to see the realisation of this, he said. "They are in a position today to influence the shipping routes in the Strait of Hormuz, in the Gulf of Aden, the Red Sea which means the Suez Canal, and also in our hemisphere in the Panama Canal," he said.

"Also, finally in the Strait of Malacca, all those global chokepoints are under pressure from China 's One Belt One Road initiative," Harris said.

Notably, India was the first country to object to OBOR, part of which passes through the Pak-Occupied Kashmir. India has said that the China Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC <link>) violates India's sovereignty. Last year India had skipped China 's OBOR summit.

Following India's objections, many countries including the United States have come out openly against China 's OBOR.

Touted as Chinese President Xi Jinping <link>'s ambitious project, the One Belt One Road initiative focuses on improving connectivity and cooperation among Asian countries, Africa, China and Europe. - Agencies