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China 'throwing down the hatchet' with U.S.


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June 6, 2013

Admiral: 'We're in another Cold War with another communist, totalitarian regime'

China is claiming control over the vast majority of the South China Sea in its latest effort to challenge U.S. authority, and President Obama must make it clear that cannot happen, warns retired U.S. Navy Admiral James “Ace” Lyons.

The New York Times recently reported that China is quietly distributing official maps to foreign diplomats showing it controls 80 percent of the South China Sea, considerably more than it has publicly claimed in the past. Six different nations have competing claims for various parts of the sea, which is rich in oil, gas and minerals. If China were recognized as controlling 80 percent of the sea, foreign planes and ships would have to seek permission to enter those critical waters.

Lyons, who served 36 years in the U.S. Navy and completed his career as commander in chief of the U.S. Pacific Fleet, told WND this simply cannot be allowed to happen, and it’s incumbent upon President Obama to stop it.

“President Obama has to be very clear and let China know we will not tolerate their illegal claims to these vast ocean areas that have been recognized for centuries as international waters,” said Lyons, who argued that Obama has a golden opportunity to set things straight this week when he meets with Chinese leader Xi Jinping in California. “This will probably be one of the first issues discussed at the summit, and I’m sure that our allies will be watching carefully how President Obama handles this issue.”

According to Lyons, the U.S. Navy policy on the South China Sea has been consistent from the beginning of our nation, and he said China benefits from the longstanding policy as well.

“The United States Navy has stood for freedom of navigation and the right of innocent passage for over 236 years, and we’re certainly not going to change course now. And we’re certainly not going to back down on that recognized principle. China has to recognize they’ve benefited greatly from that principle,” Lyons said.

The admiral warned this move by the Chinese is a major step toward a larger, more disturbing goal: surpassing the United States on the high seas.

“China has built a navy specifically to fight the United States Navy. You know, their anti-ship ballistic missile is not to go against the Bangladesh navy,” Lyons said. “We should consider that an unfriendly act. By their actions, they have thrown down the hatchet. They really are signaling to us that we are entering the 21st century where we’re in another Cold War with another communist, totalitarian regime,” he said.

So what would the best U.S. strategy be to make the Chinese reverse course?

“First of all, we have to make clear to China that we will stand by our mutual defense treaty with our allies over this issue should hostilities develop,” said Lyons, who is very critical of what he sees as decreasing of our military might.

“We have to stop this unilateral disarmament that we’ve been going through. When we have five carriers tied up at the piers in Norfolk, Va., that’s unconscionable because we don’t have the funds to operate them. So sequestration has got to be reversed.”

Most of America’s nuclear focus since the end of the Cold War centered on the Asian subcontinent, North Korea, Iran and other rogue states. Lyons said the U.S. needs to appreciate just how much of an arsenal China likely holds.

“The Russians estimate that the Chinese have over 1,800 strategic warheads. That’s much more than the 300 we give them credit for. So when we sit down with the Russians on any future arms limitations talks, the Chinese need to be forced to participate and be at the table,” Lyons said. “And to further put teeth in that, President Obama has to live up to the commitment that he made when he got Congress to sign off on the last arms treaty agreement with the Russians, and that was to modernize our strategic infrastructure and the development of a new warhead.”

Lyons admits China holding a sizable chunk of America’s debt hurts U.S. efforts to demand policy changes, but he said it’s not as big of a factor as some suggest.

“I think that works both ways. That’s one side of the equation, but we also have leverage on the other. I believe China needs us more than we need them,” he said. “They need this market here, and they can’t afford to lose it.”