Tags: Biden Administration | China | austin | china | taiwan | military

Defense Sec. Austin Calls Out China's 'Aggressive' Stance, Military Buildup

lloyd austin stands in front of a pentagon emblem at a bank of mics
Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin speaks during a visit by US President Joe Biden to the Pentagon in Washington, DC, February 10, 2021. (Saul Loeb/AFP via Getty Images)

By    |   Sunday, 07 March 2021 09:12 AM

Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin is ramping up criticism of China’s moves to “close the competitive edge” its military has with the United States, warning Beijing’s “aggressive” posture threatening allies in the region is being closely monitored.

In an interview aired Sunday on ABC News’ “This Week,” Austin’s tough talk on China reflects the Biden administration’s support for Japan, South Korea and Taiwan — and rejection of China's disputed territorial claims in those areas.

“China's been busy modernizing its military and — and developing capabilities and trying to close the competitive edge that we've always enjoyed,” Austin said. “They've also been very aggressive in the region. In some cases, they've been coercive and some of that coercion has been directed against our allies, and our allies are very important to us.”

Austin also warned the United States could retaliate “at a time and place of our own choosing” in the wake of last week’s deadly rocket attack  on a military base in western Iraq hosting U.S.-led coalition troops. The rockets were reportedly Iranian-made.

“We're encouraging the Iraqis to move as fast as they can to investigate the incident and they are doing that,” he said, adding: “The message to those who would carry out such an attack is you know expect us to do what’s necessary to defend ourselves.”

 “We’ll strike if that’s what we think we need to do at a time and place of our own choosing,” he said.

 According to Austin, Iran will “draw their own conclusions” about the U.S. response.

“But what they should draw from this again is that we're going to defend our troops and our response will be thoughtful, it will be appropriate,” he said. “We would hope that they would choose to do the right things."

Austin deflected any direct criticism of the lack of punishment or sanctions against Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, for what the United States has said was his approval of the kill or capture of Iran critic and Washington Post journalist Jamal Khashoggi. 

“Saudi is, from my perspective, a strategic partner in the region…. But I think just because you have a good strategic relationship with an ally or partner, it doesn't mean that you can't hold them accountable for various things," he said.

“We're going to lead with our values, but we're going to protect our interests," he added.

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Politics
Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin is ramping up criticism of China's moves to "close the competitive edge" its military has with the United States, warning Beijing's "aggressive" posture threatening allies in the region is being closely monitored.
austin, china, taiwan, military
391
2021-12-07
Sunday, 07 March 2021 09:12 AM
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