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King: China's Military Buildup a Complex Situation

WASHINGTON - The U.S. Senate Armed Services Committee is closely looking at China's military buildup and intentions in Southeast Asia.

Committee members heard testimony that China is expanding its military at a fast rate, with a goal of more ships than any other nation. China is also flexing its economic muscle, as the largest market in Asia.

Maine Sen. Angus King says that complex situation requires a well-thought-out policy.

It seems to me, Mr. Chairman, what we - this has been brilliant - what we need to be thinking about is a broad strategy to deal with a very rapidly changing circumstance," King said.

King says U.S. policy needs to address both the military and economic issues posed by China in the region. Pending trade agreements, he says, need to be reviewed in the broader context of Chinese trade and military policies.

King questioned Dr. Graham T. Allison of the John F. Kennedy School of Government at Harvard University. "Is China an expansionist country in a military, territorial sense, as opposed to a commercial sense?" King asked. "I think those are two very different questions."

"Thank you. I will refer you back to Lee Kuan Yew," Dr. Allison replied. "I'd say nobody was kind of willing to say as clearly as he was prepared to say, and what he said, that China would like to be the dominant power in Asia."

Lee Kuan Yew is the former Prime Minster of Singapore.