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HAGATNA, Guam (Pacific Daily News, May 28) – Guam residents shouldn't be alarmed about a recently released Pentagon report that states communist China is building up its military and increasing its capabilities for pre-emptive strikes and surprise attacks, Guam's top security chief said yesterday.

"From my homeland security perspective, the report does not reflect an immediate danger for Guam," said Maj. Gen. Donald Goldhorn, Guam's homeland security adviser and adjutant general of the Guam National Guard.

The Office of the Secretary of Defense report, mandated under federal law, said an emerging China "has the greatest potential to compete militarily with the United States and field disruptive military technologies that could over time offset traditional U.S. military advantages."

The report comes at a time when the United States is realigning its forces in the Pacific, including a plan to relocate 8,000 Marines and thousands of their dependents from the southern Japanese island of Okinawa to Guam. The move will bring $15 billion to Guam's shores.

The Office of the Secretary of Defense also warned that China's growing military capabilities threaten Taiwan.

An attack could severely damage China's economy and lead to international sanctions, spur a Taiwan insurgency that could tie up the Chinese military for years, and possibly cause Beijing to lose its coveted hosting rights for the 2008 Olympics, the report said.

Any incursion by China against Taiwan would have an impact on Guam-based U.S. forces.

During her keynote address at the University of Guam's commencement ceremony yesterday, Guam Delegate Madeleine Bordallo spoke of the opportunities that will come with the impending military buildup.

"If you read today's Pacific Daily News, today's paper, there is news about Department of Defense's report on China's own military buildup," Bordallo said to nearly 200 college graduates.

"The article only further highlights how important it is to build up military forces to protect Guam and the United States."

She said Guam stands at the "threshold of new economic opportunities that are directly tied to our strategic location.

"Guam has become an important place to maintain peace in our region."

'Modern power'

An April 2007 report by an independent task force organized by the Council on Foreign Relations, a nonpartisan center for scholars, also warned of the China buildup.

"China's military modernization has two main drivers: One with a clear operational objective -- Taiwan," the task force said, "and the other with a clear strategic objective -- to build a modern military because China will be a modern power."

The 31-member task force was chaired by:

# Retired Adm. Dennis C. Blair, who was president and chief executive officer of the Institute for Defense Analysis from 2003 to 2006. He also served in 2002 as the commander-in-chief of the U.S. Pacific Command. Blair holds the 2007-2008 Omar Bradley Chair of Strategic Leadership at the Army War Collage and Dickinson College.

# Former U.S. Ambassador Carla A. Hills, who is chairwoman and chief executive officer of Hills & Co., International Consultants. The firm advises companies on global trade and investment issues. Hills also was the Housing Secretary and a former U.S. assistant attorney general.

"China's military strategy will be shaped by its growing dependence on imported oil, the presence of unstable regimes on its western and northeastern borders and Beijing's lingering concerns about a U.S.-led containment strategy," the task force members said.

Guam buildup

The Council on Foreign Relations task force said many of China's neighbors and potential adversaries are "closely marking" China's military modernization and making adjustments to their own defense plans and expenditures that help balance China's growing military capabilities.

The task force, however, warned: "Taiwan has failed to keep pace with China's defense modernization, shifting more of the burden to deter potential Chinese military action onto the United States."

The task force noted the Guam buildup.

"For its part, the United States is upgrading forward deployed naval and air forces in the Pacific theater -- especially on Guam -- and will for the first time base a nuclear-powered aircraft carrier in Japan," the task force said.

The task force pointed to the U.S.-Japan alliance as the "cornerstone of the United States' Pacific system of alliances."

"The United States depends on the alliance to help advance U.S. interests not only in East Asia, but also beyond," the task force said. "The United States should continue to strengthen the U.S.-Japan alliance to cope with the full range of challenges of the post-Cold War world."


"The principal area in which the mission sets of the United States and China currently come into potential conflict is Taiwan," the task force said.

"China can damage Taiwan with missiles," task force members said, "but it can only take and hold Taiwan if it can win and sustain control of the space, air and waters around Taiwan -- a difficult task without U.S. intervention, and nearly impossible should the United States intervene in a China-Taiwan war."

The task force said China is making progress toward being able to fight and win a war with Taiwan -- absent U.S. intervention, and it is also beginning to build capabilities to safeguard its growing global interests.

"The mere existence of these capabilities -- including anti-satellite systems -- poses challenges for the United States," the task force said.

"China does not need to surpass the United States, or even catch up with the United States, in order to complicate U.S. defense planning or influence U.S. decision-making in the event of a crisis in the Taiwan Strait or elsewhere."

Michael Pillsbury, a former Pentagon official who now serves as an adviser on China issues, called the Office of the Secretary of Defense report the "most blunt warning in any U.S. document in history to China of the really bad things that will happen if they attack Taiwan."

'Sustained' dialogue

The task force said a "sustained and systematic official dialogue on military affairs would enhance trust and reduce the potential for miscommunication and miscalculation, particularly during crisis periods."

"In order to convince China to be more open about its defense places, the United States will have to be more open about its own," the Task Force said. "But even then, China is unlikely to provide full reciprocity."

However, the task force said that shouldn't dissuade Washington from engaging with the People's Liberation Army.

Guam has been key to the U.S. approach to dealing with China. The U.S. approach is centered on turning a potential foe into a friend.

Just last year, the island and its waters played a major role in an impressive display of American power that was observed by a Chinese delegation.

In June, Valiant Shield was the largest gathering of aircraft carriers in the Pacific since the Vietnam War. The exercise brought together more than 20,000 personnel, three carriers, more than 20 ships and more than 200 aircraft. The exercise also served as a diplomatic bridge between U.S. officials and the 10-member Chinese delegation of politicians and military commanders.

Valiant Shield will again be held this summer.

"More robust exchanges would expose the PLA to outside perspectives," the task force said, "and also ensure that China accurately comprehends the degree to which the military balance today and for the foreseeable future favors the United States."

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