China’s assertive posture in the South China Sea has prompted the United States Marine Corps to deploy as many as 30,000 marines to Hawaii and beyond, reports Want China Times. The U.S. Marine Corps specializes in expeditionary warfare. Defense experts said the move is aimed at dramatically reducing America’s response time in the Asia Pacific.
U.S. strategic weapons to be near China by next month
The relocation of marines is a key part of President Barack Obama’s Asia Rebalancing strategy. China is building a third airstrip in the disputed South China Sea, which is long enough to accommodate most Chinese military aircraft. Beijing’s land reclamation activities are the primary reason for the relocation of U.S. marines. North Korea’s nuclear program is the another reason.
According to South Korea’s Munhwa Ilbo, Washington will place its four strategic weapons in either South Korea or at the Guam naval base within a month. These four weapons are nuclear submarines, B-2 stealth bombers, nuclear-powered aircraft carriers and F-22 stealth fighters. Two F-22 fighters and the USS Ronald Reagan are set to visit South Korea in October.
China a ‘competitor’ to the U.S. and its partners
What’s more, the U.S. Marine Corps has brought together commanders from 23 countries for a conference aimed at integrating operations of their amphibious forces. The conference began in Hawaii on Monday, reports Reuters. Commanders from Vietnam, the Philippines, and Japan have also participated. However, China was not invited because it was a “competitor” to the U.S. and several countries attending the conference.
Washington has grown critical of Beijing’s assertiveness in the South China Sea. China’s state-run Xinhua news agency said in a column that Washington’s already strong military presence in the Asia Pacific has emboldened some countries that have territorial disputes with China to take aggressive moves. Xinhua said any aggressive behavior in the disputed waters is the direct consequence of American actions. Beijing claims control over the entire South China Sea.