On Tuesday March 2, Navy Rear Admiral Michael Studeman, the director of intelligence for the U.S. Indo-Pacific Command, told a virtual conference that, “We have a taste of what it means to be led by China or to have China deeply influence us.”
He said, “You’re going to find a very global, expeditionary Chinese military that will be there to step in anywhere they think China’s interests are jeopardized.” “Anywhere globally, when China feels like its development interests are threatened, what you’ll find is that they will end up sending out the PLA [People’s Liberation Army] more and more often.”
Although U.S. Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin has repeatedly called China the “pacing threat” [which refers to a competitor making significant progress toward challenging U.S. defense strategy] for the Pentagon, and even U.S. President Joe Biden has sought to rally global support to push back against Beijing, Studeman, of the U.S. Indo-Pacific Command, said U.S. officials believe China has established a clear pattern of how it will seek to assert its dominance based on developments with Hong Kong and Taiwan.
“What you’ve seen is essentially the strangulation of freedom, the death of autonomy,” the top intelligence officer said.
“That’s occurred because of how the Chinese have crushed dissent through structural, legal security measures that have essentially clamped down,” he added. “That’s the China of today. That’s what you get.”
Studeman also described how China has steadily increased pressure on Taiwan, flying drones and what he described as special mission aircraft into Taiwan’s Air Defense Identification Zone on what has become a daily basis.
The goal, he said, was to stress the Taiwanese military and to “establish a new norm with their military presence around Taiwan.”
There are concerns that current efforts to push back, like recent, so-called freedom of navigation operations, are having little impact at the moment on Chinese decision-making.
The Pentagon on Monday convened its first meeting of the newly created China Task Force, charged with reviewing Washington’s current China strategy and making recommendations within the next four months.
Source: Voice of America, March 2, 2021