"We are paying particular attention to Chinese investments in technology development as well as what they are fielding. We must do more than watch and analyse actions," David Shear, nominee for the Assistant Secretary of Defense for Asian and Pacific Security Affairs, told lawmakers. (Agencies)
"To help understand future developments, it is also important to understand what is shaping those investments," he added.
"In January 2007, China used a ground-based missile to hit and destroy one of its weather satellites in an anti-satellite test creating considerable space debris and raising serious concerns in the international community. Since then, China has continued its active pursuit of ballistic missile and anti-satellite technology," he said.
This test, Shear said, was just one element of China's military modernisation effort to develop and field disruptive military technologies, including those for anti-access or area-denial, as well as for nuclear, space and cyber warfare.
Shear said that there were reports that China is aggressively pursuing cyber warfare capabilities, and would likely seek to take advantage of US dependence on cyberspace "in the event of a potential conflict situation".
He said in recent years, numerous computer systems around the world, including some owned by the US Government, have been the target of intrusions, some of which appear to have originated within China.
"The international community cannot tolerate such activity from any country. Government-sponsored cyber-enabled theft for commercial gain is outside the bounds of acceptable international behaviour," he said.
Shear said China’s military growth concerns United States. He said by most accounts, China has become more assertive in its claims of sovereignty in various domains, including maritime, air and space.
There are numerous examples of this assertiveness, including China’s increased aggressiveness in asserting its maritime claims in the South China Sea and the recent declaration of its Air Defence Identification Zone (ADIZ), he said.
"United States does not recognise and does not accept China's ADIZ. The announcement was provocative and raised tensions," he said.
"We are paying particular attention to Chinese investments in technology development as well as what they are fielding. We must do more than watch and analyse actions," David Shear, nominee for the Assistant Secretary of Defense for Asian and Pacific Security Affairs, told lawmakers.