The Chinese destroyer Zhengzhou is commissioned for the East China Sea fleet of the PLA Navy on Dec. 26. (Photo/Xinhua)
China could soon defeat the United States and its allies in a naval conflict in the East Pacific, says Vassily Kashin, a senior research fellow at the Moscow-based Center for Analysis of Strategies and Technologies.
In a commentary published on Dec. 27 on the website of the Voice of Russia, the Russian government's international radio broadcasting service, Kashin says it is "highly probable" that by 2020 China could defeat the US in a local conflict in the east part of the Pacific or slow down the transportation of US forces to the region after it completes its current cycle of reforming and rearming the People's Liberation Army.
"China could be able of reaching its political goals even before the US localizes all the necessary forces for a full-scale counterattack," Kashin said.
The US army has developed the "AirSea Battle" concept to counteract joint efforts made by Iran and China to stop the build-up of American forces in neighboring regions, Kashin said. The AirSea Battle concept envisions three main courses of action; the destruction an adversary's intelligence, the destruction of the adversary's means to isolate a combat area, and the destruction of an adversary's armed forces.
However, Kashin said that China has been preparing against the strategy via a large-scale countering of intelligence and control systems by means of electronic warfare, cyber attacks and the use of anti-satellite weapons.
"China will be able to launch a massive highly accurate non-nuclear strike against US facilities used by transportation and military infrastructure in the region by reducing abruptly the speed of building up American forces," he wrote.
Compounding the problem is that the US only has South Korea and Japan as its military allies in the region, said Kashin, who adds that while Taiwan has an armed forces, it remains "extremely vulnerable" for strikes from the mainland and may be unable to use its military capability in the event of a US-Chinese conflict for political reasons. The Philippines, on the other hand, could be more of a distraction to American forces than help, Kashin said, adding that allies in Europe are unlikely to be interested in helping.
"The US may simply have to accept defeat," Kashin said, meaning that the most obvious way to protect American interests in East Asia is to increase its permanent presence of armed forces in the West Pacific, even if it means encountering further problems in maintaining a military presence in the Middle East.