US Defence Secretary voiced a strong statement on Wednesday that America will confront Communist China if its army dares to launch attacks in the Indo-Pacific region.
The U.S. military will strongly defend Taiwan and its other Asian allies and rejects China’s expansive sovereignty claims in the South China Sea, U.S. Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin told a high-powered Asian security conference.
The address to the Singapore conference organized by the International Institute for Security Studies marked Mr. Austin’s most extensive remarks to date on a theater the Pentagon sees as its primary focus in the decades to come.
As with other top Biden administration officials, Mr. Austin said he saw both deep challenges and opportunities for cooperation with China’s Communist regime.
We will not flinch when our interests are threatened, yet we do not seek confrontation, Mr. Austin declared at one point. The Pentagon chief talked on several points likely to touch a nerve in Beijing, including the U.S. continuing commitment to defend Taiwan and the growing prominence of the so-called “Quad” of regional democracies — the U.S., Japan, Australia and India — which China has denounced as an effort to contain its rise in the Indo-Pacific region.
With U.S. commanders in the region warning recently China has accelerated its timeline for reclaiming control of Taiwan, which it considers a renegade province, Mr. Austin declared in his remarks that “we are working with Taiwan to enhance its own capabilities and to increase its readiness to deter threats and coercion".
The former fourstar Army general also said he was heartened to see new links being forged by America’s Asian allies to boost their own security.