“The message is the Chinese military, in the air and at sea, have become significantly more and noticeably more aggressive in this particular region.”
U.S. Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, Gen. Mark Milley, while traveling in Southeast Asia.
jul 25, 2022
Why It Matters: While attending meetings in the Indo-Pacific region, the U.S. top military official warned about increasing threats from China; his warnings are a sign of America's desire to counter China's behavior and growing influence in the region.
- This is the first trip to Indonesia by an American joint chiefs chairman since 2008; earlier this year, the U.S. agreed to supply fighter jets to the nation and to conduct naval drills with the Indonesian military.
- Consistent Debate: Questions remain about whether China will invade Taiwan, which is an independent, democratic nation that China believes is part of its own territory. Some foreign policy analysts see the conflict between China and Taiwan as similar to Russia's invasion of Ukraine — another case of a larger power with desires to assert dominance and take back territory it calls its own.
- Just A Note: Chairman Milley did not quantify what he described as more aggressive action from China: "Gen. Milley declined to provide specific numbers of unsafe Chinese interactions with U.S. and allied aircraft and ships. But [Defense Sec. Lloyd] Austin, in a speech in Singapore last month, referred to an 'alarming increase' in the number of unsafe intercepts by People’s Liberation Army aircraft and vessels" (Associated Press).
- We'll watch for further news as Gen. Milley travels on to Australia for meetings this week.