Pentagon Building Up Forces, Alliances in South China Sea

This areal photo taken through a glass window of a military plane shows China's alleged on-going reclamation of Mischief Reef in the Spratly Islands in the South China Sea Monday, May 11

In a major policy shift, the Pentagon declared Wednesday the United States will directly defend U.S. national security interests in the South China Sea against China’s expansive and illegal maritime claims.

David Shear, assistant defense secretary for Asia and Pacific affairs, told a Senate hearing that China’s claims over almost all the Southeast Asian sea are destabilizing and risking a regional conflict with states such as Vietnam, Philippines, and Malaysia that have also claimed disputed islands.

China Preparing for Drone Warfare

Lijian UAV

China’s military plans to produce nearly 42,000 land-based and sea-based unmanned weapons and sensor platforms as part of its continuing, large-scale military buildup, the Pentagon’s annual report on the People’s Liberation Army (PLA) disclosed Friday.

China currently operates several armed and unarmed drone aircraft and is developing long-range range unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) for both intelligence gathering and bombing attacks.