August 19, 2010 09:11
The U.S. Defense Department says North Korea, the Spratly Islands, the Senkaku Islands, Afghanistan and Pakistan are "flash points" that could prompt China to assert its regional interests.
"China's leaders hope to prevent regional instability from spilling across China's borders and thereby interfering with economic development or domestic stability," the Pentagon warns in an annual report titled "Military and Security Developments Involving the People's Republic of China."
A "disruption" like regime collapse in North Korea could prompt the Chinese military to act, the report says. "Changes in regional security dynamics -- such as perceived threats to China's ability to access and transport foreign resources, or disruptions on the Korean Peninsula -- could lead to shifts in China's military development and deployment patterns, likely with consequences for neighboring states," it warns.
The U.S. had so far analyzed the possibility of Chinese military intervention and a possible response behind the scenes, but the Pentagon report is the first open mention of such fears.
It implies that the U.S. is considering a military response to Chinese interventions.
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