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Pace Discusses Chinese Military During Japan Troop Visit

By Jim Garamone
American Forces Press Service

YOKOTA AIR BASE, Japan, Aug. 19, 2007 – U.S. leaders continually assess China's military capacity, but don't believe the Chinese intend to harm to the United States, the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff said here Aug. 16.

“This does not mean that we go to sleep,” said Marine Gen. Peter Pace during a town hall meeting.

Pace told servicemembers he judges capabilities and intentions on facts. “Fact No. 1 is for any country, anywhere on the globe, a threat must have two things: capacity and intent,” he said.

The capacity of the Chinese military is growing and has been growing for the past decade. Despite this growth, “I have not seen any indications that their intent is to use any of that capacity against us,” Pace said.

The Joint Chiefs of Staff keep an eye on developments in China and around the world. The successful Chinese anti-satellite test conducted in January is of concern militarily, the chairman said. The United States depends on the high ground of space for much of its military advantage. U.S. military officials are thinking about how to counter that Chinese capability, he said.

“How do we counter that?” he asked. “What ways do we have to solve the problem should one of our satellites one day be knocked out of space?”

Even with a Chinese military build-up, their capabilities don’t match those of the United States, the general said.

“If you look at Chinese military power and you look at ours, you get pretty comfortable, pretty quickly,” he said. “Chinese capacity is increasing, our capacity is increasing, and the overall delta between their capacity and ours remains huge in our favor.”

Pace urged the audience to look at the United States military through Chinese eyes. “You would see a nation that has enormous, overwhelming capacity to deliver pain,” he said. “Therefore, you probably would not want to get into a conventional fight with the United States.”

Trade with China is a steadying influence in the relationship between the two countries, Pace said. “The more trade there is between countries, the less likelihood there will be conflict between those countries,” he said. “This is because as each country becomes more dependent on the resources of another, as one nation becomes more dependent on the health of another, it makes less and less sense for those two nations to enter a suicide pact by fighting each other.”

He said he is an optimist about the relationship with China, a country he last visited in March. “As the Chinese government works to provide resources and a better quality of life for 1.3 billion people, the opportunities there for the entire globe to have a higher standard of living are enormous,” Pace said.

The United States and its allies must pay attention to the friction points with China that could create tensions and make Chinese leaders willing to give up the benefits of trade for war, the chairman said.

Contact Author

Gen. Peter Pace, USMC

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