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Terrorism & Security

Global scrutiny follows reports of Chinese nuclear base

The naval buildup on Hainan appears to be part of Beijing's long-range plan to increase its military presence, but the new base has alarmed neighboring countries and the US.

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Meanwhile, some US experts are calling for a strengthening of alliances in the region to counter the growing military challenge from China, reports Agence France-Presse. Arthur Waldron, of the University of Pennsylvania, said the US should strengthen alliances with Japan, South Korea, Taiwan, the Philippines, and Singapore to contain China's military strength.

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James Lyons, an ex-commander of the US Pacific Fleet, said the US should use the same tactics it used to contain the Soviet Union during the cold war. One of Lyons's suggestions: increase US ties with the Philippines by leasing fighter jets and Navy vessels to the island nation.

The revelations about the base near Sanya come as the Pentagon is seeking to forge better ties with its military counterparts in China. The Christian Science Monitor reported earlier this year that US-China military relations still lag behind the two countries' diplomatic and economic relations. The Pentagon hopes that better communication can help clarify the intent behind China's rapid military buildup.

The new base is also raising concerns in India, reports the Asia Times from New Delhi. It said Indian defense experts view China as a long-term military threat, since the two countries have overlapping interests in the Indian Ocean. India recently tested its own Agni III ballistic missile, that will be capable of hitting Beijing and Shanghai.

Indian Express reports that the new Jin-class submarine deployed at the base carries 12 nuclear-tipped ballistic missiles. It notes that the new base in Hainan is 1,200 nautical miles from the Malacca Strait, through which some of China's energy supplies pass from the Indian Ocean.

The new base could help provide China with the ability to cut off commercial traffic through the strait in a crisis. It said China's new base could also spur India to accelerate its own nuclear submarine program. Sea trials for the first sub are set for next year.

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