Parler Share
News

Trump's Defense Secretary Slams China's 'More Aggressive Military Posture'

Parler Share

U.S. Defense Secretary Mark Esper on Saturday cast China as a rising threat to world order — saying the world’s most populous nation steals Western know-how, intimidates smaller neighbors and seeks an “advantage by any means and at any cost.”

A frequent critic of China, Esper used an address to an international security conference in Munich, Germany, to give his most comprehensive condemnation yet of a communist country that he said tops the Pentagon’s list of potential adversaries, followed by Russia, “rogue states” like North Korea and Iran, and continuing threats from extremist groups.

“The Chinese Communist Party is heading even faster and further in the wrong direction — more internal repression, more predatory economic practices, more heavy-handedness, and most concerning for me, a more aggressive military posture,” he said.

U.S. Secretary for Defense Mark Esper
U.S. Secretary for Defense Mark Esper speaks on the second day of the Munich Security Conference in Munich, Germany, Sat., Feb. 15, 2020. (Jens Meyer / AP Photo)

Esper stressed that the United States does not want conflicts with China, and noted that the U.S. government has provided medical supplies to help China combat a coronavirus outbreak that has infected over 67,000 people.

Trending:
Furious House Democrat Says Pelosi Must Be Replaced After Stock Trading Ban Crashes and Burns

Still, he said Beijing has made clear its long-term intentions and said Europe and the rest of the world must “wake up” to the threats that China poses.

“The Communist Party and its associated organs, including the People’s Liberation Army, are increasingly operating in theaters outside its borders, including Europe, and seeking advantage by any means, and at any cost,” he said.

“While we often doubt the transparency and forthrightness of Beijing, when it comes to their security aims, we should take the Chinese government at its word,” he said. “They have said that by 2035, the PRC intends to complete its military modernization, and, by 2049, it seeks to dominate Asia as the preeminent global military power.”

With words that echoed the Trump administration’s criticisms of Iran, Esper said China represses its people and threatens its neighbors.

“We want China to behave like a normal country,” Esper said, “and that means the Chinese government needs to change its policies and behaviors.”

Esper and his immediate predecessor, Jim Mattis, have sought to shift the main focus of U.S. military and security policy toward China and away from small wars against insurgents and extremists.

U.S. allies in Europe, while concerned about China’s rise, are more immediately worried about Russia.

Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi later responded, telling the forum that Esper and U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo “say the same thing wherever they go about China” and dismissed their remarks as “lies.”

“The root cause of all these problems and issues is that the U.S. does not want to see the rapid development and rejuvenation of China, and still less would they want to accept the success of a socialist country,” Wang said through a translator.

Related:
Candidates Turn to World's Most Popular App to Win Over Young Voters, Willing to Risk Chinese Access to User Data

He said China had a “right to develop” and said if Beijing and Washington worked together, it would benefit the whole world.

“The most important task for China and the U.S. is to sit down together to have a serious dialogue and find a way for two major countries with different social systems to live in harmony and interact in peace,” he said. “China’s ready and we hope the U.S. will work with us.”

In remarks to the conference earlier Saturday, NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg said China presents challenges as well as opportunities for Western nations.

Do you think the U.S. is doing enough to confront China?

He said Europe and the United States need to work out a united approach to China’s rise. “There are opportunities, but also many challenges,” Stoltenberg said, adding that it’s important for Western countries to keep open lines of communication with Beijing.

Also at the Munich conference, Pompeo refuted assertions that the United States under President Donald Trump was rejecting its traditional international leadership role.

“I’m happy to report that the death of the transatlantic alliance is grossly over-exaggerated,” Pompeo said.

“The West is winning.”

The Western Journal has reviewed this Associated Press story and may have altered it prior to publication to ensure that it meets our editorial standards.

Truth and Accuracy

Submit a Correction →



We are committed to truth and accuracy in all of our journalism. Read our editorial standards.

Tags:
, , , , , , , ,
Parler Share
The Associated Press is an independent, not-for-profit news cooperative headquartered in New York City. Their teams in over 100 countries tell the world’s stories, from breaking news to investigative reporting. They provide content and services to help engage audiences worldwide, working with companies of all types, from broadcasters to brands. Photo credit: @AP on Twitter
The Associated Press was the first private sector organization in the U.S. to operate on a national scale. Over the past 170 years, they have been first to inform the world of many of history's most important moments, from the assassination of Abraham Lincoln and the bombing of Pearl Harbor to the fall of the Shah of Iran and the death of Pope John Paul.

Today, they operate in 263 locations in more than 100 countries relaying breaking news, covering war and conflict and producing enterprise reports that tell the world's stories.
Location
New York City




Conversation