Sat, Jul 16, 2016 - Page 3 News List

RIMPAC preparing China to invade Taiwan: US expert

By William Lowther  /  Staff reporter in Washington

China’s participation in the Rim of the Pacific (RIMPAC) military exercises might be improving Beijing’s ability to launch an invasion of Taiwan, a US expert said.

Reports from Honolulu said that a “big focus” of the naval maneuvers now under way is on how to land attack troops from amphibious ships and via helicopter.

“The American strategy of mil-mil [military-to-military] engagement with China is not only failing, it is a threat to US security interests,” said Richard Fisher, Asian military affairs expert at the International Assessment and Strategy Center.

“China is not going to change its path of aggression in the South China Sea or on the Taiwan Strait,” Fisher said.

“The insights it will gain from RIMPAC will only serve to improve its ability to impose imperialist control over the South China Sea and to better undertake a future military invasion of Taiwan,” he added.

Fisher said that this year’s RIMPAC exercise offered “a very disturbing” illustration of US patience-against-hope versus clear-cut Chinese aggression.

He said that during this year’s RIMPAC exercises, China’s People’s Liberation Army (PLA) could gain insights from the conduct of advanced amphibious assault operations by the US Navy’s latest and most modern landing helicopter dock (LHD) ship — the USS America.

“The PLA will likely be most grateful as they also intend to build their own LHD of similar size to the USS America,” Fisher said.

According to a report in the military newspaper Stars and Stripes, troops are this week practicing inflatable boat landings in the surf at Hawaii’s Kaneohe Bay and the US is demonstrating landings with 26-tonne amphibious assault vehicles.

A RIMPAC spokesman said that US Marines and the US’ “partner nations” had been busy since last week practicing getting on and off tilt-rotor Ospreys and CH-53E helicopters, and securing objectives, live-firing weapons and training at the shoreline.

Over the next few days, there are to be actual amphibious scenarios in which the Hawaiian islands will be used to represent fictitious countries in military operations.

A US Marine Corps spokesman said that the amphibious scenarios would include “forcible entry from the sea, flying forces off a ship.”

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