Trends begun in 1996 and formalized in 2001—U.S. engagement of China while hedging against China becoming a peer-rival, America cultivating regional allies in a “neo-containment” enterprise, both Washington and Beijing devoting ever-larger shares of national wealth to the military as a key strategic tool—reached culmination in 2007–08. Parallel military-diplomatic strands saw blocs coalescing, building the potential for future contention. Following revelations of China’s new Type-093 SSN being commissioned and Type-094 SSBN being launched, Beijing began 2007 by introducing the J-10, an aircraft comparable to the U.S. F-16 and, then, on January 11, mounting a direct-ascent ASAT strike on an old satellite without notice or explanation. DoD had been reporting Beijing’s ASAT endeavors for years; still, this demonstration of the PLA’s threat to military use of space caused both anger and anxiety. American visitors—CJCS Gen. Peter Pace in March, commander PACOM, Adm. Timothy Keating, in May, Secretary Gates in November—asked what China’s intent was. Beijing’s assurances that this was a “scientific experiment with no military import” and that China remained committed to non-militarization of space convinced few critics.6
KeywordsRegional Ally Military Capability Defense Minister China Relation Maritime Labor
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