A number of Chinese military officials, led by the country’s Minister of Defense General Liang Guanglie, arrived in the US on Friday. During their stay, they are scheduled to visit a number of sensitive US military locations.
According to The Free Beacon, the facilities are the Naval Amphibious Base Coronado, the U.S. Southern Command, Camp Lejeune in North Carolina, Seymour Johnson Air Force Base, and the West Point Military Academy.
Guanglie already took a tour of a Navy destroyer and a ship-driving simulator and on Monday he met with Defense Secretary Leon Panetta.
He will also meet the Marines from Camp Lejeune, and will be shown the F-15E Strike Eagle and a US landing craft.
Chinese military affairs specialist Richard Fisher believes that these last two objectives raise the most concern because the People’s Liberation Army (PLA) could use the information to enhance its own offensive capabilities.
Furthermore, he stresses that the theme of this visit, the cooperation for disaster relief, has nothing to do with the F-15E unit.
F15 jets have been used by the US in most major conflicts and Fisher claims that “the PLA would dearly appreciate any pointers on how to better use its Su-30MKK, JH-7A, and J-16 strike fighters against Taiwan, Japan, and the Philippines.”
The specialist is not the only one concerned about this visit. Many argue that the National Defense Authorization Act of 2000, which prohibits the exhibition of key facilities to the Chinese military, might be violated.
On the other hand, Pentagon representatives state that “the delegation is not stopping at any location that has not been appropriately cleared for this visit.”
The 2000 law appoints 12 areas that could create a national security risk if exposed to the Chinese. These areas include nuclear operations, advanced logistical operations, chemical and biological defense capabilities, and operations related to surveillance and reconnaissance.