US Navy Commander: China’s action key indicator if region heads confrontation or cooperation

US Pacific Fleet commander Admiral Harry Harris Jr. hits on China’s unprecedented land reclamation. “China is creating a great wall of sand, with dredges and bulldozers, over the course of months,” the commander said.

“The lack of clarity on its sweeping nine-dash line claim that is inconsistent with international law and the deep asymmetry between China’s capabilities and those of its smaller neighbors,” Admiral Harris said at think tank Australian Strategic Policy Institute on March 31. “Well it’s no surprise that the scope and pace of building man-made islands raise serious questions about Chinese intentions.”

“How China proceeds will be a key indicator of whether the region is heading towards confrontation or cooperation,” the Admiral said.

“We’re all hopeful that China will become a contributor to stability, not a source of insecurity. But as we like to say in Navy circles, hope is not a strategy,” he noted.

US Pacific Fleet is the largest navy command fleet providing naval power for US Pacific Command. It has approximately 200 ships and submarines, nearly 1,100 aircraft, and more than 140,000 Sailors and civilians.