Pentagon: China now our biggest military threat
China presents the biggest military threat to the United States, according to a new strategic assessment by the Pentagon. It has been formally promoted to the top of a list of most dangerous rivals.
Mark Esper, the US Defence Secretary, has told military chiefs to recalibrate training and operations to match Beijing’s capabilities.
The military must make China “the pacing threat in all our schools, programs and training”, Mr Esper said in a message to Pentagon staff marking his first year in the role.
“We are now in an era of great power competition and China, then Russia, constitute our top strategic competitors,” he added. In the 2018 national defence strategy delivered by James Mattis, his predecessor, China and Russia were on an equal footing as the “great power rivals” to the US.
Tension between the US and China has been rising, stoked by competing narratives over trade, intellectual property theft and hacking, as well as Chinese influence campaigns, counterintelligence and Beijing’s military activities in the Pacific.
Congress has passed sanctions on China over the repression of minority groups in Xinjiang and its crackdown in Hong Kong. The State Department has announced visa bans on Chinese officials involved in abuses in Tibet, prompting reciprocal bans by Beijing.