In the face of China’s rise, the United States has decisively adjusted its national defense strategy. The US Defense Minister also said that China is the largest competitor of the United States.
US Defense Secretary Mark T. Esper spoke about the China-Russian threat at the Air Force Association meeting in Washington on September 18.
Esper said that the military advantage that the United States has maintained has been weakened, and Russia and China have almost reached the same status.
He also said that Russia and China are not bound by low-intensity conflicts and are modernizing the military, specifically targeting the weaknesses of the US military. Russian and Chinese leaders are now trying to challenge the strengths of the United States to expand their power and influence.
Esper said that Russia is the biggest challenge in the near term. But in the long run, China is the biggest competitor of the United States, which is related to China’s economic growth and long-term goals.
He also pointed out that China’s “Belt and Road” initiative seeks to seek economic and security leadership on a global scale.
In fact, as early as 2018, the US “Defense Strategy Report” directly targeted China and Russia as “the biggest challenge to US national security beyond terrorism.” The US defense strategy has returned to “big country competition” by counter-terrorism.
At the time, the US Defense Secretary James Mattis once said: “Although we will continue to fight terrorism, the focus of US national security is now on big country competition, not terrorism.”
However, Chinese Ambassador to the United States Cui Tiankai said in a speech on September 18, 2019 that some people in the United States said that China has changed, become stronger and stronger, and must replace the United States and dominate. I believe that the problem is not in China itself, but in the US’s perception of China.
Cui Tiankai also said that in the face of fast-growing China, the United States has some doubts over a period of time and it is understandable. But based on the perception of mistakes, it is extremely dangerous and irresponsible to regard China as a strategic opponent or even an adversary.