BEIJING, Sept,9 (ChinaMil) -- With the implementation of America's "Asia Pacific Rebalancing" strategy, the US has taken more frequent moves in the West Pacific, not only taking a toll on regional peace, but also posing a threat to China.
People are usually sensitive to the visible military deployments such as how many aircraft carriers entered the West Pacific or how many combat aircraft were stationed. In comparison, the threat to China posed in the virtual space by electronic warfare airplane, radar and other equipment deployed by the US in the West Pacific hasn't drawn enough attention.
But the fact is that as military game extends from wartime to peacetime, the war space also expands from the real world to virtual space, where China is facing rising national security threat from the United States, which may even become the main threat in the future.
The US is pursuing advantages in the virtual space partly because its "Asia Pacific Rebalancing" strategy hasn't been very effective since it was launched. The core of that strategy is that the US will dispatch 60% of its sea and air forces overseas to the Asia Pacific before 2017-2020, so as to contain China's development with powerful military presence and maintain its domination in the region.
However, regarding the South China Sea issue, the US didn't get what it wanted from the use of military power and could not shake China's resolve and will to defend its sovereignty, rights and interests in any way.
In a way, it signified the failure of the "Asia Pacific Rebalancing" strategy in the current stage, which was unacceptable to the United States, so it turned to the virtual space to continue putting pressure on China and try to regain a sense of superiority.
Therefore, the US has shifted its focus from "hard power" to more "soft power" to contain China, and one of the moves is stepping up measures against China in the virtual space, which mainly consist of two parts - electromagnetic equipment and cyber operations.
By doing this, the US is implementing its Third Offset Strategy, and it does have technological advantage or domination in those two aspects. At present, America's containment of China in the virtual space is reflected in following two areas.
First, it strongly pushed the deployment of the THAAD (Terminal High-Altitude Area Defense) missile battery in ROK and even in Japan.
Many people think of the THAAD as merely a military system deployed by the US in ROK and are more focused on its combat capability, but what the US really cares about is its radar early warning function.
The US claimed that deploying THAAD in Northeast Asia is to deal with missile threat, but its real agenda is to establish an early warning system in that region in order to grasp the military dynamics there.
Second, it intensified the deployment of electronic warfare forces in the West Pacific.
Four EA-18G Growlers were deployed to the Clark Air Base in the Philippines in mid-August, and this type of aircraft was also equipped on the US aircraft carrier cruising in the West Pacific.
As a strike-oriented electronic warfare equipment, EA-18G Growler is the most powerful electronic jammer today that can carry out monitoring missions, collect signals and intelligence, and also jam electromagnetic equipment like radar.
It's only too obvious why the US deployed such aircraft in the West Pacific, which, combined with the two X-band radars previously deployed in Japan, will constitute a sound electromagnetic system in that region, and its capability will be further enhanced once the US sets up the third X-band radar in the Philippines.
The offensive-defensive virtual force established by the US in the West Pacific will be a key foundation for its future operations against China.
Realistic forces focus on defense, while virtual forces are responsible for attack- this may become the main model of America's containment of China for a period to come. Such a situation means that China will face more pressure from the virtual space in the future.
Therefore, while improving the combat capability of its realistic military forces, China should also pay more attention to capability building for soft game in the virtual space.
Only when China is fully prepared for both the "open" and "secret" approaches of the US, will China be able to avoid a passive position.
By Han Xudong, professor at the PLA National Defense University (NDU)