Bryan Clark of the Centre for Strategic and Budgetary Assessments said: “China has the ability to control the South China Sea because it has established escalation dominance in that area.”
Beijing’s main priorities for 2019 include strengthening its military training and preparation for war.
An editorial published on New Year’s Day in the state-run military newspaper the PLA Daily said: “We should be well prepared for all directions of military struggle and comprehensively improve troops’ combat response in emergencies to ensure we can meet the challenge and win when there is a situation.”
|China will crush Trump’s military if they dare to flex their military muscles in the South China Sea (Image: GETTY)|
“If you want to be able to conduct sea control in a region, having a big navy is a valuable part of that.
“China is able to focus the attention of that navy on near seas to an extent that its competitors like the US cannot.
“We’ve got a global responsibility, a global navy, whereas China’s got the luxury of focusing more of its attention on the near seas, including the South China Sea.”
China is continuing to flex its military muscles in Asia, strengthening its claims over the disputed South China Sea.
US warships are deployed in the region and are tasked with monitoring Chinese expansion.
Mr Clark, who was formerly a Special Assistant to the Chief of Naval Operations and Director of his Commander’s Action Group, continued to say: “China has got the world’s largest coast guard.
“It has more than a thousand ships, and a couple hundred of those are able to operate throughout the South China Sea, and only about a dozen of those are able to actually deploy out overseas.
“Thousands of ships have been brought into service to support the Chinese operations in the East and South China Seas.
“They routinely harass and interfere with ships of the United States Navy and other navies.
“It gives the Chinese a capability that is not really mirrored on the other side by the US.
He added: “There are multiple islands in the South China Sea that are now built up, armed and able to support air operations, giving the Chinese the ability to control, surveil, monitor and conduct air defence in parts of the South China Sea persistently without having to deploy ships there.
“The Chinese could have a terrestrial-based surveillance and air defence network over the South China Sea.
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