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'US Should Prepare For War With China': Admiral Harry Harris

  • Admiral Harry Harris warns China's military, economic prowess, foreign relations, advanced technology and the South China Sea point to one thing: war.

    Admiral Harry Harris warns China's military, economic prowess, foreign relations, advanced technology and the South China Sea point to one thing: war. | Photo: Reuters

Published 16 February 2018
Opinion

The admiral described himself as a "military guy" and advised Congress to "plan and resource to win a war," while simultaneously working to prevent it.

The United States should prepare for the possibility of war with China, newly appointed U.S. Ambassador to Australia Admiral Harry Harris told Washington Friday.

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According to Harris, China's increased military, economic prowess, foreign relations, advanced technology and politics regarding the South China Sea all point to one thing: war.

"China's intent is crystal clear. We ignore it at our peril. I'm concerned China will now work to undermine the international rules-based order," said Harris, due to retire as head of the U.S. Pacific Command in Hawaii.

The admiral also said the administration of Chinese President Xi Jinping has taken on a "cult of personality" and that developments and investments in the Eastern region should be watched.

"Key advancements include fielding significant improvements in missile systems, developing fifth-generation fighter aircraft capabilities, and growing the size and capability of the Chinese Navy to include their first overseas base in the port of Djibouti," he said.

"China's impressive military build-up could soon challenge the United States across almost every domain," Harris said, reminding the delegation of diplomats that China has built seven new military bases on the Spratly Islands, which are shared by China, Taiwan, Vietnam, Brunei, Malaysia and the Philippines.

Harris, whose promotion to ambassador has yet to be confirmed by the Senate, described himself as a "military guy" and advised Congress to "plan and resource to win a war" while simultaneously working to prevent it.

"If the United States does not keep pace, Pacific Command (PACOM) will struggle to compete with the People's Liberation Army on future battlefields," Harris said.

Chinese Ambassador to the U.S. Cui Tiankai, took aim at the admiral's claims: "It is utterly paranoid to fear that China's pursuit of its own path of development will be confrontational to the United States," Tiankai said.

Harris continued that even if China stays its forces, the United States should prepare to block any missiles from North Korea and consider what the next three to four years under Kim Jong Un might bring.

Interference from "key allies" such as Australia, in highly conflicted areas such as the South China Sea, would be pivotal in keeping the major Eastern bodies in check, he concluded.

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