The United States’ top Navy commander in the Pacific has launched a stinging attack on China’s ”aggressive” military growth, warning that Beijing’s assertiveness is a ”witches’ brew” for a naval standoff.
In unusually strong language, Admiral Harry Harris, Commander of the US Pacific Fleet, branded China’s establishment of a controlled flight zone around islands disputed with Japan dangerous and unilateral.
”I’m concerned by the aggressive growth of the Chinese military, the lack of transparency and a pattern of increasingly assertive behaviour in the region,” he told the Australian Strategic Policy Institute conference in Canberra on Wednesday night.
Late last year, China established an air defence identification zone, which was widely considered a provocation in its dispute with Japan over a cluster of disputed islands in the East China Sea, and led to several tense exchanges between Beijing and Canberra.
”The way China went about it was dangerous – unilaterally, without consultation with other parties and over disputed waters,” Admiral Harris said.