The Pentagon has warned that US maritime forces are to become more forceful in responding to acts of aggression, expansionism and breaches of international law, citing Beijing in particular, which has been criticized for its expansionist ambitions in the South China Sea.
A new report signed by the heads of the US Marine Corps, US Navy and US Coast Guard said that the “rules-based international order is once again under assault,” and the security environment had dramatically changed since 2015.
The report said that China and Russia were now “determined rivals” of the US, with China presenting “the most pressing long-term strategic threat.”
“China is the only rival with the combined economic and military potential to present a long-term, comprehensive challenge to the US,” the report said. “It seeks to corrode international maritime governance, deny access to traditional logistical hubs, inhibit freedom of the seas, control use of key chokepoints, deter our engagement in regional disputes, and displace the United States as the preferred partner in countries around the world.”
China is in the midst of a rapid modernization and expansion of its military power. Its naval force is the world’s largest, more than tripling in size over the past two decades.
It has embarked on aggressive expansionism in the South and East China seas, with frequent military drills, and in the Taiwan Strait, with near daily incursions into Taiwan’s air defense identification zone.
In response, the US has increased its naval activity in the region and enacted sanctions against China.
“Our globally deployed naval forces interact with Chinese and Russian warships and aircraft daily,” the report said, noting their “growing aggressiveness” and calling China “the most pressing, long-term strategic threat.”
The latest incident between US and Chinese naval forces took place in late August, when Beijing said it had driven a US warship from the Paracel Islands (Xisha Islands, 西沙群島), which are also claimed by Taiwan and Vietnam.
To counter China, the US has been sending ships to the region more frequently to carry out what it calls “freedom of navigation” operations.
The Pentagon report said that in the event of a conflict, China and Russia would likely attempt to seize territory before the US and its allies could effectively respond.
To maintain strategic advantage over the Chinese navy, the US plans to modernize its naval force with smaller, more agile, and even remotely piloted, ships.
US ships would also “accept calculated tactical risks and adopt a more assertive posture in our day-to-day operations,” the report said.
The report accused Russia and China of employing all instruments of power to undermine the international system and remake it in their own interests, in part by incrementally conducting “a variety of malign activities” to not trigger a military response.
VIGILANCE: While two of the cases are family members of a nurse, there is no sign of community spread and the source of infection is identifiable, the CECC said The Central Epidemic Command Center (CECC) yesterday reported four new domestic COVID-19 cases associated with a cluster infection at a Taoyuan hospital. Since the first case was identified on Tuesday last week, five healthcare workers — two doctors and three nurses — at the Ministry of Health and Welfare’s Taoyuan General Hospital have tested positive for the virus. Minister of Health and Welfare Chen Shih-chung (陳時中), who heads the center, said that two of the four new cases are the husband and daughter of a nurse (case No. 863) who had earlier been confirmed to have COVID-19. The husband (case No. 864)
INCURSION: After 13 PLA aircraft flew into Taiwan’s ADIZ, the US Department of State said that China should rather ‘engage in meaningful dialogue’ with Taiwan US President Joe Biden’s administration on Saturday urged China to stop placing military pressure on Taiwan, while calling on both sides of the Taiwan Strait to engage in peaceful dialogue. The statement by the US Department of State was issued after 13 Chinese military aircraft flew into Taiwan’s southwest air defense identification zone (ADIZ) on Saturday, the highest number observed in a single day this year, the Ministry of National Defense said. The air force scrambled fighter jets to monitor the Chinese aircraft, issuing radio warnings and mobilizing air defense assets until the planes left the ADIZ. The US “notes
CHANGE OF GUARD: Hsiao Bi-khim’s attendance at Joe Biden’s inauguration will come as a boost to those in Taiwan who feared that the new US administration would be less friendly than that of Donald Trump to the nation Representative to the US Hsiao Bi-khim (蕭美琴) is to attend US President Joe Biden’s swearing-in ceremony at the US Capitol after she was invited by the US Joint Congressional Committee on Inaugural Ceremonies, a news release issued by the Taipei Economic and Cultural Representative Office (TECRO) in the US said last night. The news came as a surprise as the Ministry of Foreign Affairs had been reticent about the matter, while Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) members had accused the Democratic Progressive Party administration of hedging its bets on the Republican Party. Asked about when Hsiao received the invitation, the ministry did not
FAMILY UNIT: The CECC warned that the eldest sister of the latest case, who also has COVID-19, visited Taoyuan’s Chungping evening market on Tuesday and Wednesday The Central Epidemic Command Center (CECC) yesterday reported a domestic case of COVID-19, associated with a recent cluster infection at Taoyuan General Hospital, and two imported cases. Minister of Health and Welfare Chen Shih-chung (陳時中), who heads the center, said that the latest case (No. 885) is a woman in her 50s, who is the third daughter of case No. 881, a man in his 90s. The woman is the main caregiver of her elderly father, who had been hospitalized earlier this month and was treated by a nurse (case No. 852) from Monday to Thursday last week, he said, adding that