Top US senator warns on rising China

20th December 2010, Comments 0 comments

The United States must keep its nuclear arsenal, military aircraft and naval forces up to date to "control the Pacific Rim" in the face of China's rising power, a top US senator said Monday.

"As we continue the effort to dismantle, defeat and disrupt Al-Qaeda, we must also plan for the threats that our country will face in the coming decades," said Republican Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell.

The United States must invest "in the strike aircraft and naval forces required to control the Pacific Rim as economic growth and the military capabilities of China increase," he said.

McConnell's comments came in a speech on the floor of the Senate in opposition to ratifying a landmark nuclear arms control agreement with Russia, the new Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty (START).

The senator was referring to the need for Washington to be able to retain influence in the region in the face of China's rising economic and military clout, an aide said.

"It is critically important to work with our allies to maintain control, stability and security in the Pacific Rim," the aide said on condition of anonymity.

"We know that economic expansion in Asia and the growth of China's military argue for a sustained, strong American presence," the aide said.

"Our Asian allies want us there. But if we do not start planning now for this eventuality we will be unprepared for these changes."

© 2010 AFP

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