A senior Chinese official said on Tuesday that the U.S. military is deploying an “unprecedented” number of its forces in the Asia-Pacific region, increasing the risk of an accidental naval clash between China and the United States.
“The U.S. military deployment in the Asia-Pacific region is unprecedented,” said Wu Shixun, president of the National Institute of South China Sea Studies, a government research center, noting that “the possibility of a military accident or accidental shooting has begun to increase.”
He said , “If a crisis erupts, the consequences for bilateral relations will be catastrophic.”
Wu made the statement while presenting a report to his institute on the U.S. military presence in the region, stating that the United States had deployed 375,000 soldiers and 60% of its warships in the Indian and Pacific Oceans and had sent three aircraft carriers.
Wu disclosed that during the eight years that former U.S. President Barack Obama spent in the presidency, the U.S. Navy conducted 4 naval operations compared to 22 under President Donald Trump.
He stated that the two armies should “intensify communications” in order to “prevent misunderstanding and misjudgment.”
He recommended resuming high-level military meetings, opening a direct phone line and conducting joint naval exercises, and said that China does not consider the United States a potential competitor or “envisions a new cold or hot war with the United States.”
He warned that “the deterioration of military relations will significantly increase the possibility of a serious accident, conflict or even crisis.”