China waging a quiet three-front war against US: expert

Staff Reporter
Want China Times

A Chinese vessel patrols near the disputed Spratly islands in the South China Sea. (Photo/Xinhua)

A Chinese vessel patrols near the disputed Spratly islands in the South China Sea. (Photo/Xinhua)

China is waging three-front political warfare against the United States as part of a “Three Warfares” strategy to drive the US out of the Asia-Pacific region, according to US defense analyst Bill Gertz in an article for the Washington Times on Mar. 26.

Citing a defense contractor report published for Pentagon thinktank the Office of Net Assessment, Gertz said Beijing’s “Three Warfares” consists of psychological, media and legal operations. “They represent an asymmetric ‘military technology’ that is a surrogate for conflict involving nuclear and conventional weapons.”

The unclassified 566-page report warned that the US government and military currently lacks effective tools to fight a political war with China, while suggesting greater efforts to understand the threat and adopt steps to counter it.

Gertz said that the People’s Liberation Army has already adopted the “Three Warfares” in various disputes against the United States, which have included dangerous encounters between US and Chinese warships, the crisis over the 2001 mid-air collision between a US EP-3E surveillance plane and a Chinese jet, and China’s growing aggressiveness in various maritime disputes in the South and East China seas.

“The Three Warfares is a dynamic three dimensional war-fighting process that constitutes war by other means,” said Cambridge University professor Stefan Halper, who directed the study. “It is China’s weapon of choice in the South China Sea.”

Psychological warfare, according to the report, includes diplomatic pressure, rumors, false narratives, and harassment to “express displeasure, assert hegemony, and convey threats.” As for media warfare, its goal is to weaken an enemy’s will to fight, alter its awareness, and assist psychological and legal warfare goals. Meanwhile, legal warfare helps the PLA to exploit laws to achieve political or commercial objectives.

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