China buildup "generates fear" in Asia-Pacific: U.S. Marine general

A U.S. Marine Corps general said Tuesday that China's military buildup "generates fear" among countries in the Asia-Pacific region.

Brig. Gen. Richard Simcock, deputy commander of U.S. Marine Corps Forces Pacific, told reporters at Pentagon that China is not "very transparent about a military buildup and why it's being used. And, that generates fear."

Simcock made the remark at a time when China is engaged in territorial disputes over islets in the East China Sea and the South China Sea with countries such as Japan and the Philippines. China has dispatched vessels in Japanese and Philippine waters, straining the respective bilateral relationships.

Simcock also said a major fear for countries in the Asia-Pacific region is natural disaster and a goal of a buildup of the Marine Corps there is not only to prepare for possible armed conflicts but calls for humanitarian operations.

"The typhoon, the earthquake, the tidal wave, the tsunami. It's coming. So, countries act. When there's fear, they take actions to reduce the risk and make sure that the populace is safe," Simcock said.

The general mentioned the Japanese Self-Defense Forces' amphibious capability in connection with ongoing joint exercises in California that are aimed at enhancing the amphibious capabilities of participating militaries. The drill involves the U.S. military and forces from Japan, Canada and New Zealand.

"They (Japan) want to greatly increase their amphibious capability," Simcock said. "Japan is an example of a country, one that has the capability to develop and produce those kinds of forces, amphibious ships, which are not easy to build."