Pentagon chief calls China a ‘rising threat to world order’ and US’ top potential adversary


US Defense Secretary Mark Esper pictured speaking at the 2020 Munich Security Conference in Germany. Image: AP.

DHARAMSALA, 17 Feb: The US Defense Secretary Mark Esper has called China, a rising threat to world order and identified it as Pentagon’s top potential adversaries in his address to an international security conference in Munich, Germany.  

Calling China, a rising threat to world order at the 2020 Munich Security Conference on Saturday, the US Defense Secretary said that “under President XI Jinping’s rule, the Chinese Communist Party is heading even faster and further in the wrong direction – more internal repression, more predatory economic practices, more heavy-handedness, and most concerning for me, a more aggressive military posture”.

Esper has further called out China for stealing Western know-how and that Europe and the rest of the world must ‘wake up’ to the threats that China poses.

‘The Communist Party and its associated organs, including the People’s Liberation Army, are increasingly operating in theatres outside its borders, including Europe, and seeking advantage by any means, and at any cost,’ the Associated Press (AP)  quoted Esper as saying in its report.

Though he has said that China ranks first ahead of Russia, North Korea, Iran, and continuing threats from extremist groups in the Pentagon’s list of potential adversaries, he stressed on the U.S does not want conflict with China.

While he has called on China to “behave like a normal country,” and “change its policies and behaviour,” the Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi later dismissed Esper’s comments as lies and accused him and the US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo of “saying the same thing wherever they go about China”.

“The root cause of all these problems and issues is that the U.S. does not want to see the rapid development and rejuvenation of China, and still less would they want to accept the success of a socialist country,’ the report Wang as saying through a translator at the forum.

The US Defense Secretary’s condemnation of the Communist regime came days after the Mike Pompeo warned America’s governors to be wary of Chinese investment and influence, including through contacts with Chinese diplomats, students and organizations as he told them Beijing is targeting individual US states in a strategic effort to expand its economic and political influence.

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