TOP PENTAGON OFFICIAL SKEWERS CHINA AS BIGGEST ASIAN BULLY
Deputy Defense Secretary Kathleen Hicks used her first public remarks on Friday (Saturday, March 20, 2021, in Manila) to slam Beijing, whom she tagged as a bully in Asia, Paul McLeary reported for Breaking Defense.
However, Hicks also warned American defense bureaucrats and contractors and said that if we compete with China, the Pentagon must make “difficult choices” in jettisoning older weapons systems to make room for modern force.
By threatening neighbors in the Pacific region and using predatory economic practices, Beijing represents “a threat to regional peace and stability, and to the rules-based international order on which our security and prosperity, and those of our allies depend,” Hicks told students at the National Defense University.
Speaking virtually from the Pentagon, the DepSecDef said Beijing “has demonstrated increased military confidence and a willingness to take risks, and it has adopted a more coercive and aggressive approach to the Indo-Pacific region.”
She ticked off examples in which “Beijing escalated tensions between itself and a number of its neighbors,” including Australia, Japan, Vietnam and the Philippines, and the deadly confrontation between Chinese and Indian troops along their border last year.
“Beijing is the only competitor potentially capable of combining its economic, diplomatic, military and technological power to mount a sustained challenge to a stable and open international system,” Hicks said, adding, “Secretary Austin and I believe that the [People’s Republic of China] is the pacing challenge for the United States military.”