In the context of a recent article in The Australian that China was being invited to America's biggest annual Pacific naval exercise, RIMPAC (which wasn't really news), it is useful to be reminded of the climate of wariness and mistrust in which such invitations are extended.
The U.S. trade publication Defense News last week posted a video on its blog from a U.S. Naval Institute conference featuring an extraordinarily blunt assessment of China's maritime strategy and ambitions from U.S. Navy Captain James Fanell, Deputy Chief of Staff for Intelligence and Information Operations for U.S. Pacific Fleet. The moderator describes Fanell as the "top intelligence officer" in the Pacific Fleet, which means he is likely advising some of the U.S. military's senior decision-makers on China's military strategy and capability.
Fanell's language is, well, bracing. He calls China "hegemonic" and says it displays "aggression"; he claims China "bullies adversaries" and that it has become a "mistrusted principal threat." Watch Captain Fanell's presentation from about 21 minutes into the above video.Enjoying this article? Click here to subscribe for full access. Just $5 a month.
Sam Roggeveen is editor for the Lowy Interpreter, where an edited form of this piece first appeared.