Beijing is reacting to the Pentagon’s so-called “pivot to Asia,” and not in a friendly way. Amid several recent naval exercises — including the 22-nation RIMPAC now underway around Hawaii – China doesn’t like what it sees. Take this Friday editorial – headlined “U.S. Military Meddling” – in the state-owned China Daily:
Amid lingering tensions in Northeast Asia, people cannot help but ask what is the real intention behind such brazen showboating of military muscle in the region…The displays of force help drive home the message that for all its current woes the U.S. remains the supreme military power…Last but not least, it is widely perceived that the U.S. strategic maneuvers in the Asia-Pacific cater to its desire to counter the rise of a few regional powers, China included. As U.S. combat operations in Iraq have been brought to [an] end and it is pulling troops out of Afghanistan, the U.S. is counting on such a strategic shift to keep the vital region within the range of its gunpowder.
Guess China Daily wasn’t invited to participate in Tuesday’s conference call with Vice Adm. Gerald Beaman, commander of the U.S. Third Fleet. “RIMPAC Not Targeting N. Korea, China, U.S. Says,” was the headline South Korea’s Yonhap News Agency used to sum up that chat. But no surprise there: China wasn’t invited to RIMPAC, either.