MUNICH (AP) – US Secretary of Defense Mark Esper on Saturday presented China as a growing threat to world order, noting that the world’s most populous country steals Western knowledge, intimidates its smaller neighbors and seeks “Advantages by any means and at any cost”.
Regular critic of China, Esper used his speech at an international security conference in Munich, Germany, to offer his broadest sentence to date to a communist country that, he said, tops the list of potential adversaries of the Pentagon, followed by Russia , “Rebel states” such as North Korea and Iran, and the continuing threat of extremist groups.RELATED
“The Chinese Communist Party is moving further and faster in the wrong direction: more internal repression, more predatory economic practices, more hard hands and, most worrisome for me, a more aggressive military stance,” said the senior official U.S.
Esper stressed that the United States does not want conflicts with China and recalled that his government sent medical supplies to help combat an outbreak of a coronavirus that has infected more than 67,000 people. However, he said that Beijing has made its intentions clear in the long term and said that Europe and the rest of the world must “wake up” to the threats posed by the Asian giant.
“The Communist Party and its associated bodies, including the People’s Liberation Army, operate increasingly in theaters outside its borders, including in Europe, and seek advantages by any means and at any cost,” he said.
“Although we often doubt Beijing’s transparency and openness, when it comes to its security objectives, we must believe in the word of the Chinese government,” he added. “They have said that by 2035, the People’s Republic of China plans to complete its military modernization and, by 2049, it seeks to dominate Asia as the predominant global military power.”
In statements reminiscent of President Donald Trump’s government criticism of Iran, Esper said China represses its people and threatens its neighbors.
China’s Foreign Minister Wang Yi later responded in the same forum, noting that both Esper and Secretary of State Mike Pompeo “say the same about China wherever they go” and called his words “lies.”
“The underlying cause of all these problems and issues is that the United States does not want to see the rapid development and rejuvenation of China, let alone want to accept the success of a socialist state,” Wang said through a translator.
The Associated Press journalist David Rising contributed to this office.