The US government’s increasing weapon deployments near Chinese territories marks an escalation of a “dangerous” arms race with China as the two countries are engaged in a “geopolitical rivalry,” says Keith Preston, a political analyst in Virginia.
Tensions have been running high between Washington and Beijing, since last month’s announcement that South Korea had made a final decision to host the US-made Terminal High Altitude Area Defense (THAAD) missile system in a base south of Seoul.
US Army Chief of Staff General Mark Milley told his Chinese counterpart Li Zuocheng on Tuesday that THAAD was a “defensive measure to protect South Koreans and Americans from the North Korean ballistic missile threat and is not a threat in any way to China.”
Beijing insists the system would threaten security and stability on the Korean Peninsula and put Chinese military assets within the range of US radars.
Preston told Press TV on Wednesday that the recent surge in tensions is indicative of an emerging “geopolitical rivalry” between the US and China, which was accelerated by the row in the South China Sea.
China claims “indisputable sovereignty” over most of the sea, through which more than $5 trillion of trade moves annually, and looks unfavorably upon the continued American military presence there.
America, in turn, accuses Beijing of carrying out what it calls a land reclamation program in the South China Sea by building artificial islands in the disputed areas.
“Both the United States and China claim a certain degree of jurisdiction over that region,” he noted.
The analyst said the missile row between the two countries was an extension of the same geopolitical rivalry, where Washington is trying to assert its presence by providing military support to Seoul. China, he said, is trying to stop that trend by aiding Pyongyang.
“This is not a good situation,” Preston explained. “Because this does involve an escalation of an arms race, if you will, between the two powers.”
“We do not really want to have an arms race escalate between the two countries, particularly when the United States, North Korea and China are all nuclear-armed nations,” he concluded.