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China Makes No Secret of Desire for World Dominance

The truth is out there for everyone to see, says the INDOPACOM J-2

China’s quest for global dominance is definitive and open, said the director for intelligence (J-2) in the U.S. Indo-Pacific Command (INDOPACOM). Rear Adm. Michael Studeman, USN, held little back as he described China’s maneuvering and aggressive tactics as it pursues a long-term strategy of world domination.

Speaking to the keynote audience on the second day of TechNet Indo-Pacific, running virtually March 1-3, Adm. Studeman allowed that many dynamic factors also are influencing U.S. policy in the INDOPACOM region. The recent coup in Myanmar has stifled democracy in that country. “It’s hard for us to watch what looked like a pretty good 10-year run where democracy had a chance,” he said, noting that democracy has been hijacked and derailed. Thailand has instability from protests by the public against the monarchy.

North Korea, according to the International Energy Agency, may have restarted nuclear fuel reprocessing. “If that is true, then that could put us into a different level of tension with Korea going into 2021,” the admiral declared. He added that this action may be designed to influence the new U.S. administration as a bargaining chip for sanctions relief.

The potential for severe conflict between China and India has lessened with a reduction of tensions on the line of actual control between the two countries, he related. The pullback of heavy equipment from that region still does not alleviate the strategic distrust that emerged there, and the area will continue to be a sore spot between the two nuclear powers.

India has warmed up even more to working with INDOPACOM, especially in sharing information, Adm. Studeman related. India feels stronger about the strategic threats and assertiveness it faces coming from China, and it is looking at new ways of cooperating with the United States.

But China’s actions dominate relations with all the countries in the region. The country makes no secret of its desire for dominance, and it doesn’t limit its military buildup to operations in the seas near China. “I’m just here to tell you, and I see almost everything we have on China, that they definitively want to be the leading power in the world and to supplant and displace the United States.

“The Chinese are convinced their destiny is to be the leading power—not a leading power, but the leading power,” Adm. Studeman stated.

“It’s alarming to see how China has become under Xi Jinping,” the admiral added, noting that his concentration of power is unseen since the reign of Chairman Mao Zedong. The confidence Xi has in the growing power of China is translating into fears and concerns across the region, he added.

China’s militarization has pushed deeper into the Indo-Pacific region, with both land-based missiles and forward-deployed special mission aircraft operating farther from its borders. A new national security law allows the People’s Liberation Army (PLA) forces to deploy and use force against any threats to China’s “development goals,” the admiral points out. This authorizes the use of force by the PLA anywhere in the world, which will almost certainly lead to greater and more distant deployment of PLA forces worldwide.

China’s internal policies offer a taste of what it means to be led by the country, he offered. Hong Kong, for example, has seen “the strangulation of freedom and the death of autonomy.” China has crushed dissent through structural, legal and security measures that have clamped down on the people. Taiwan is looking at that model and rejecting it, he added.

In Xinjiang, the government has sent people to re-education camps that Adm. Studeman described as “brainwashing, intimidation, prison camps that exist across the territory. “These stories are just horrific, if you read about the rape, the abuses there, the intimidation, the psychological warfare essentially that the Chinese have committed against an entire people,” he stated. The international community is debating whether this constitutes genocide, but the admiral pointed out that sterilizing an ethnic group counts as justification for being designated as genocidal. “You don’t have to outright kill to qualify for that term.

“This is the kind of China that we’re facing,” he warned.