Members of Congress are calling for increased scrutiny on the Chinese People’s Liberation Army Navy as part of the Fiscal Year 2014 National Defense Authorization Act, which passed the House Armed Services Committee early Thursday morning.
Two amendments added by House Armed Services Subcommittee on Seapower and Projection forces chairman Rep. Randy Forbes (R-Va.) asked for a report from the Pentagon on China’s involvement in the Rim of the Pacific 2014 naval exercise as well as an amendment that urges Beijing to peacefully resolve conflicts in the South China Sea region.
“China’s aggressive posture in territorial disputes with its neighbors only heightens fears that its military spending is intended for coercive purposes,” Forbes said in a statement provided to USNI News.
“My amendment expresses a desire for Beijing to resolve its territorial disputes in a peaceful manner while reiterating the continued commitment of the United States to a forward-deployed military presence in the Western Pacific.”
In March, Chinese leadership accepted an invitation to join in the massive multinational RIMPAC exercise. In 2012 the exercise — conducted off of Hawaii — was attended by 22 nations. Last year the U.S. lifted an exclusion of China from the exercise.
The Pentagon is restricted in military-to-military interactions with the PLA as part of the FY 2000 NDAA. The act sought to prevent “a national security risk due to an inappropriate exposure,” between U.S. forces and the PLA.
The language of the amendment, offered by Forbes, “directs the Secretary of the Navy to brief the congressional defense committees, no less than 30 days after the enactment of the … on the intended scope of PLAN participation in RIMPAC 2014 and the compliance of PLAN participation.”