China’s ruling Communist Party is “rejuvenating” and preparing for a military conflict in Asia, the outgoing intelligence chief of the Navy’s Pacific Fleet is warning. “The strategic trend lines indicate the Communist Party of China is not only ‘rejuvenating’ itself for internal stability purposes, but has been and continues to prepare to use military force,” Navy Capt. James E. Fanell said on Saturday during his retirement speech Saturday at Pearl Harbor. Speaking on a pier across the harbor from the battleship USS Missouri, where Japan’s surrender was signed ending World War II, and near the memorial over the submerged wreckage of the USS Arizona, sunk in 1941 during the Japanese attack, Fanell said he believes Beijing prefers not to use its growing military force for achieving regional dominance.
“But let’s not deceive ourselves. The evidence I’ve been chewing on over the past 15 years is overwhelming,” he said. “Beijing has prepared for military action and [Chinese] President Xi Jinping’s ‘China Dream’ has a defined timeline to reach this ‘rejuvenated’ end state.” On the Obama administration’s policy of shifting forces to the Pacific, called the “rebalance,” Fanell said the program is a good first step to counter the challenge of China. “But it must be backed up with a real, tangible deterrent force and we must stand up to Beijing’s propaganda and bullying campaign, especially those that come at the expense of our allies and partners,” he said. The rebalance includes the shift of some troops, naval, and air forces to the region but it has been limited as a result of sharp defense cuts under the Obama administration and continuing U.S. military commitments in the Middle East. More