Washington -

Experts expected that the huge increase in the size of China's economy will be accompanied by an expansion in the capabilities of its army and military industries, with an attempt to establish strategic hegemony over its neighbors first.

Stephen Lobell, an academic at Utah State University, believes that with its economic rise, China will "undoubtedly" try to equalize the US naval capacity in the Pacific Ocean with building a converging naval military capability.

Recent years have witnessed the expansion of Beijing's military influence in the South China Sea, through the establishment of many artificial islands outside its territorial waters to be used as military bases.


domination of Asia

For his part, American Professor John Marsheimer believes that China's economic strength will push it to dominate Asia in the same way that the United States dominates the Americas.

Marsheimer advised Washington's support for military cooperation with India, China's western neighbor, and with Japan, South Korea and the Philippines, in order to stand in the face of Beijing's hegemony over the Asian continent.

From here, experts put the inauguration of the OCUS alliance - between the United States, Britain and Australia, and the supply of the latter with advanced US nuclear-powered submarines - as part of an effort to deter Chinese expansion.

For its part, the Chinese government considered that the alliance "is extremely irresponsible and is starting a new arms race."

Yun Sun, an expert on East Asia affairs at the Stimpson Institute in Washington, says that "in view of the process of modernizing and arming the Chinese army, and the regional consequences, especially for Australia, the move of the tripartite alliance is only an attempt to catch up with the challenges posed by China's military power." emerging and dealing with it.

The new US alliances - after the "Ocos" agreement - impose an escalation in Chinese armaments (Getty)

Mutual military build

In an interview with Al Jazeera Net, Yun Sun pointed out that for China, "the nuclear-powered submarine deal undermines strategic stability in the region, an imbalance that will push it to strengthen, develop and deploy more of its own strategic weapons to restore stability."

"China has attempted to portray the event as an internal conflict in the Western camp (with France's complaint and the EU's discontent), and will likely want to drive a wedge between Western democracies. It will also seek to strengthen cooperation with Russia to jointly confront threats from the United States and its allies," Sun believes.

The US-China military relations have been tense and fluctuating in recent years.

Last July, satellite images revealed the construction of new silos in western China, from which intercontinental nuclear missiles could be launched.

Military experts interpreted the Chinese move as evidence of Beijing's determination to modernize its nuclear weapons quickly and on an unprecedented scale.

On the other hand, last August witnessed the participation of 25,000 US Marines in maneuvers to simulate the capture of islands in the western Pacific.

It is one of the largest military exercises in which dozens of American ships and submarines have participated in decades.

The exercises - which were conducted with Japanese, British and Australian forces - showed the Pentagon's focus on confronting Chinese ambitions in the Indo-Pacific region, and also represented a message of US reassurance to its allies around the world, especially after the withdrawal from Afghanistan.


China's escalation and the American reaction

Matthew Kroenig, a military expert at the Atlantic Council and a former official at the Pentagon and the Central Intelligence Agency, believes that China must be deterred.

"The attack submarines we are helping Australia build are specifically designed to destroy enemy warships, and these are exactly the capabilities we need in the Indo-Pacific to support allies and deter China," he says.

Kroenig thinks it makes sense for Australia to be the partner of choice. It is one of the United States' closest allies. "We fought side by side for more than a century in World Wars I and II, and in Korea, Iraq and Afghanistan, and now with this deal we stand shoulder to shoulder once again against the threat China's growing military.

Barry Pavel, an expert at the Atlantic Council, agrees that this step will not lead to an arms race. Since the arrival of President Xi Jinping, China has tended to develop advanced, high-tech and modern military capabilities in various fields.

Pavel stresses that "the United States and its allies still have a lot of work to do to deter the rapid advance of the Chinese People's Liberation Army. The OCOs alliance is a small but important step in doing so."

The Chinese "Long March 5" missiles are the result of the work of the Chinese space program (French)

How do you think China?

US officials and experts are suspicious of China's long-standing nuclear policy, due to its secrecy over its programs, military intentions, and defense budgets.

"For decades, China has been concerned about how US military capabilities - such as missile defense and precision strike conventional weapons - could undermine its ability to respond to a nuclear attack," says Tong Zhao, a China expert at the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace.

"The recent developments are also improving American capabilities, which is what Chinese nuclear experts constantly remind us of the weakness of their nuclear deterrence to the United States." Tong believes that China today realizes that it must prepare for direct external threats.

An Australian submarine was replaced by a nuclear-fueled submarine after the Okos agreement (Getty)

The importance of Australian submarines

Australia has become the seventh country expected to possess nuclear-powered submarines after it signed an agreement last week with the United States and Britain, which gives it extensive military capabilities at a time when China's naval power - in Southeast Asia - is close to parity with the United States.

At the same time, the US Naval Intelligence Office monitored China's possession of 28 nuclear submarines and 163 diesel-powered submarines by the end of 2020. Between 2015 and 2019, China built 132 warships, a high rate that reveals its rush to strengthen its war fleets, prompting neighboring countries to adopt new armament policies To deter Chinese ambitions, similar to what Australia has done.

The new submarines will give Australia the ability to move faster and farther, and to hide under water, as well as enable it to prevent the Chinese naval force from deploying near its coasts.

It will give it the ability to quickly and suddenly access to the Chinese shores.

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