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Home >> Opinion
UPDATED: 17:05, August 06, 2004
US holds unprecedented seven-carrier military exercise with three intentions
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Currently the US' seven aircraft carriers are busy holding a global military exercise. During the exercise, dubbed Summer Pulse 2004, the US puts altogether 150,000 troops from the army, navy and air force, more than 600 fighter planes and seven of its 12 carrier groups. The unprecedented scale, therefore, attracts the attention from various sides. Some analysts believe the US is holding a large aircraft carrier military drill with its eyes on China. The US intentions, however, do not stop at that.

The military drill is not centered on west Pacific
According to the CRI Online the US seven-carrier global military exercise began on June 5 and is expected to last until August. Seven carrier groups that take part are Harry S. Truman, George Washington, Enterprise, John C. Stennis, Ronald Reagan, John F. Kennedy and Kitty Hawk. Among them Kitty Hawk is the only carrier group stationed abroad, which is based in Yokosuka, Japan. The US defense department said the seven carrier groups would conduct simultaneous exercises in the Atlantic, the east Pacific, the west Pacific, the Mediterranean Sea, the Indian Ocean (including the Red Sea and the Persian Gulf) where the US second, third, seventh, sixth and fifth fleets belong respectively, covering five war zones nearby including the Asia Pacific, Europe, Middle East, Latin America and the US mainland.

Recently the media keep on promoting the US seven-carrier military drill. Some media said in their reports the seven carriers would gather near the west Pacific, a theory coming from an article carried by the US Los Angeles Times on July 15, which is titled Sailing Toward a Storm in China. The author is Chalmers Johnson, director of the China Research Center of California University at Berkeley. Following the publication of the article the Pentagon and relevant US experts immediately denied the saying. The US Washington Observer Weekly on July 21 quoted Bernard Cole, dean of the National Security Policy Department of the US National Defense University as saying "The US military hasn't built up unusual carrier concentrations in the Pacific. The seven carriers are taking part in the exercise in accordance with a long-arranged plane and arrived at the designated sea areas simultaneously: four are deployed in the east and west Pacific and the Indian Ocean, two are in west Atlantic and one in sea near the United States". The Russian Red Star carried an article on July 22 pointing out that the seven US carrier groups would carry out simultaneous combat drills in the Pacific, the Atlantic and the Gulf region. Among them two carrier groups Kitty Hawk and John Stennis would gather in the South China Sea. The Hong Kong South China Morning Post on July 26 further pointed out that reports about seven US carriers conducting military exercises near China's Taiwan are but the media's running after a shadow in order to create a sensational effect. The newspaper cited the spokesperson of the headquarters of the U.S. Pacific Command as saying that only two carriers would be cruising in the Pacific.

From what the author sees the joint military exercise of seven US carriers is carried out separately worldwide whilst the west Pacific is indeed the key area of the US military exercise.

The global military exercise has three intentions
The US has three intentions in spending great efforts to carry out a global military exercise in which it unprecedentedly dispatched seven carriers.

First is to further raise the US military's rapid response capability in overseas intervention and its ability to handle crisis. The Russian Red Star pointed out that the US' new Navy operational plan (the Fleet Response Plan) requires the US military to have at least eight carrier ready for combat in the designated areas worldwide. Among them six assaulting carriers groups should be able to arrive at the designated areas within 30 days and another two should come to assist in three months. Summer Pulse 2004 exercise is to ensure the long-term presence of the US Navy in world's strategic sea areas and raise the US military's capability in mobilizing rapid response forces.

Second, the Pacific part of the exercise is a concrete demonstration that the US' center of global military strategy is shifting east. In order to deal with hot areas such as the Korean Peninsular and the Taiwan Straits, and more importantly to guard against the rise of China the US is vigorously adjust and reinforce its military deployment in Asia Pacific. This includes holding frequent joint exercises and arms sales etc. in order to maintain close military relations with Japan and China's Taiwan, actively build the Guam base and prepare for the permanent deployment of two carriers in the west Pacific.

Third, one of the stresses of the US seven-carrier joint exercise is to put up military deterrence to China's military fight against "Taiwan Independence". The fact that the participant aircraft carriers set foot in the west Pacific is a clear demonstration. Chalmers Johnson said the exercise is possibly sending a message that the US is willing to resort to force on the Taiwan issue. He also pointed out that the neo-conservatives in charge of the Pentagon view it (China) as the future military threat and this attitude is very dangerous for the security situation in northeast Asia. Richard Fisher, the US conservative military expert on China also pointed out that "the US military is holding the Summer Pulse 2004 exercise because the Chinese mainland's policy toward Taiwan is becoming increasingly tough. It is really necessary to give the Chinese mainland a 'pulse'". Franks, military expert with the British Jane's Defense Group, also believes the US carrier military exercise is aimed at the Pacific area, and is particularly prepared for the possible emergent situations in northeast Asia.

Therefore, the US seven-carrier joint military exercise not only is intended to reinforce its global maritime supremacy but also demonstrates that its strategic center is shifting east toward the Asia Pacific. It also includes the intention of deterring China's military fight against "Taiwan Independence". All these cannot but put countries concerned on alert.

By People's Daily Online

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