Bill Gertz reports in the Washington Free Beacon that China is increasing its cruise and intermediate ballistic missile arsenal capable of targeting Guam. The article cites a public congressional report released Tuesday by the US-China Economic and Security Review Commission, which warns that “China’s ability to conduct conventional cruise and ballistic missile strikes on Guam is growing, even as the island’s strategic importance to the United States is increasing.”
The Chinese military buildup occurs in the context of increasing assertiveness in the region. USNI News reported Wednesday a Chinese Ministry of National Defense statement saying “China will intensify sea and air patrol and enhance construction of defense capabilities in the area as needed,” in response to a freedom of navigation operation by the USS William P. Lawrence near a Chinese military facility in the Spratly island.
The US-China Economic and Security Review Commission’s report summary assesses “current risk to U.S. forces on Guam in a potential conflict (as) relatively low, but China’s commitment to continuing to modernize its strike capabilities indicate that the risk will likely continue to grow going forward.” China’s military buildup highlights why the US pivot to the Asia-Pacific region is considered necessary despite significant ongoing and future obligations in the Middle East and around the world.