London, Oct. 26 (ANI): The United States is building an eight billion pound super military base on the Pacific island of Guam in an attempt to contain China's military build-up.
According to The Telegraph, the expansion will include a dock for a nuclear-powered aircraft carrier, a missile defence system, live-fire training sites and the expansion of the island's airbase.
It will be the largest investment in a military base in the western Pacific since the Second World War, and the biggest spend on naval infrastructure in decades.
However, Guam residents fear the build-up could hurt their ecosystem and tourism-dependent economy.
Estimates suggest that the island's population will rise by almost 50 per cent from its current 173,000 at the peak of construction.
It will eventually house 19,000 Marines who will be relocated from the Japanese island of Okinawa, where the US force has become unpopular.
Meanwhile the US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has warned that the area could experience serious water shortages because of construction activities.
The US move is seen as a counter to China significantly expanding its fleet during the past decade, seeking to deter Washington from intervening militarily in any future conflict over Taiwan, which Beijing claims as its own, and also to project power across disputed territories in the gas and oil-rich South China Sea.
Beijing's naval build-up is also intended secure the sea lanes from the Middle East, from where China will import an estimated 70-80 per cent of its oil needs by 2035 supplies it fears US could choke in the event of a conflict.
The US is also investing another 126 million pounds on upgrading infrastructure at the British-owned Indian Ocean atoll of Diego Garcia, 700 miles south of Sri Lanka.
Key among the upgrades at Diego Garcia, which are due for completion in 2013, will be the capability to repair a nuclear-powered guided-missile submarine, which can carry up to 154 cruise missiles striking power equivalent to that of an entire US aircraft carrier battle group.
Diego Garcia, which has served as a launch-pad for air strikes on Iraq and Afghanistan, is already home to one third of what the US navy calls its Afloat Prepositioned Force equipment kept on standby to support military deployment anywhere in the world. (ANI)