The United States Secretary of Defense has revealed that China tops the list of the country’s most dangerous military rivals.
Mark Esper told military chiefs that the US had to match Beijing’s capabilities by recalibrating training and operations.
In a message to Pentagon staff marking his first year in the role, he said the US should make China “the pacing threat in all of our schools, programs, and education,” he said. The times.
“We are now in an era of great power competition and China, and then Russia, are our main strategic competitors,” he added.
It comes two years after the national defense strategy of its predecessor James Mattis said that China and Russia were both equally big rivals for the US.
Mark Esper (pictured behind President Donald Trump on May 15) told military leaders that the US had to match Beijing’s capabilities by recalibrating training and operations
In May, China’s foreign secretary said the US had pushed relations with China to the brink of another cold war.
Tensions have worsened during the pandemic in recent months and control over Hong Kong has intensified in Beijing.
Esper (pictured in June) sent a message to the Pentagon staff to mark a year in his role
Wang Yi said the United States was infected by a “political virus,” compelling figures there to constantly attack China.
Long-standing friction between the two powers over trade, human rights and a range of other issues has taken to new heights since the virus outbreak.
On Tuesday, the head of the FBI said that China is forcing its preference for the US elections as part of broad-based intelligence operations.
Christopher Wray, director of the Federal Bureau of Investigation, did not say whether China supported President Donald Trump or his suspected democratic rival Joe Biden.
Both have harshly criticized Beijing.
The Trump campaign has rolled out TV ads attempting to link rival Joe Biden to China, focusing in part on things Biden’s son Hunter did in China.
An online ad in May accused Biden of being “the puppet of China.” Some ads took advantage of a Biden statement from the Obama administration that “China is not our enemy.”
Biden, in turn, accused Trump of leaving Hong Kong, where China has suppressed the expression, in his attempt to enter into a trade deal.
Zhao Lijian, a spokesman for the Chinese Foreign Ministry, rhetorically asked journalists on Wednesday, “Can you really believe what the FBI is saying?”
“China’s malicious foreign influence campaign focuses on our policies, our positions, 24/7, 365 days a year,” said Wray at the Hudson Institute.
“So it’s not an election-specific threat; it’s really more of a year-round threat.
“But that certainly has consequences for elections and they certainly have preferences that go with it.”
The Trump campaign has accused former Vice President Joe Biden of being in the ‘pocket’ of China
The U.S. intelligence agency concluded that Russia intervened in the 2016 elections, including by manipulating social media, in an attempt to elect Trump.
Wray’s comments come as the Trump administration steps up political and public pressure on China in an election year.
Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, who has been at war with Beijing, announced new sanctions against Chinese officials against Tibet over Tibet on Tuesday.
He said the US blocked the Chinese authorities from the United States because it was found that journalists, tourists or diplomats or other US officials had limited access to Tibetan areas.
Chinese President Xi Jinping shakes hands with President Trump at the G20 summit in Osaka in June 2019. The Trump administration has taken an increasingly aggressive tone in China
Wray answered questions after a speech that focused primarily on the alleged economic espionage in China, which he said has risen by 1,300 percent over the past decade.
He said, “It is the people of the United States who are victims of Chinese theft on a scale so large that it represents one of the greatest transfers of wealth in human history.
“If you’re an American adult, China is more likely to have stolen your personal information.”
He pointed to the major data breach in 2017 at credit information agency Equifax.
FBI chief Christopher Wray (pictured) said on Tuesday that China is forcing its preference in the US elections as part of broad-based intelligence operations.
Wray said China was responsible for nearly half of the 5,000 ongoing counter-intelligence cases that are under investigation by the FBI.
“We have now reached the point where the FBI opens a new China-related counter-espionage case every 10 hours,” he said.
Wray also said that China is “relentlessly” working to identify “middlemen” to pressure US governors and other officials who oppose it – notably travel to Taiwan, which Beijing has claimed.
The Trump administration has taken an increasingly aggressive tone on China, including blaming communist power for not stopping the corona virus pandemic, which has criticized the president’s own record.
The Chinese Foreign Ministry quickly disapproved of Wray’s comments, calling them “political lies.”
Zhao Lijian, a ministry spokesman, rhetorically asked journalists on Wednesday, “Can you really believe what the FBI says?”
At a press conference in Beijing, Mr. Zhao said Washington’s foreign policy was “kidnapped” by “anti-Chinese” figures like Wray.
He added, “I also noted that he publicly claimed to deal with a China-related case every ten hours.
‘How [the FBI’s officials] dare to think that the Chinese security service can be mocked. ‘
Mr. Zhao denounced Wray’s comments as “untrue.” He also accused the FBI chief of “deep-seated Cold War mentality and ideological prejudice.”
“The Chinese side is firmly against that,” said the Chinese official.