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US ready to tackle ‘aggressiveness’ of Chinese military


The US is ready to deal with China’s “increasing aggressiveness” in the Taiwan Strait and South China Sea after Beijing conducted two “unsafe” interceptions in recent days, a senior official said Monday.

The warning from National Security Council spokesman John Kirby underscores growing US concerns about dangerous interactions between US and Chinese forces in international air and sea routes. It comes as Beijing has rejected US attempts to restore military communications between the countries.

Kirby said the interceptions were “an essential part” of an “increasing degree of aggressiveness” by China’s People’s Liberation Army, particularly in the Taiwan Strait and South China Sea area.

“We are prepared to deal with it,” Kirby added, describing China’s actions in recent days as “unacceptable.”

“They’ve happened more times than we’d like,” he said of the interceptions. “Not all of them are unsafe and unprofessional, but these two are.”

Kirby’s comments came after the US Navy released video on Sunday of what it described as an “unsafe interaction” in the Taiwan Strait where a Chinese warship passed a US destroyer. Earlier last week, the Pentagon accused a Chinese fighter jet of an “unnecessarily aggressive maneuver” over the South China Sea.

China has warned Western militaries to stay out of waters and airspace near its borders if they want to avoid dangerous clashes with the PLA.

Kirby said Monday such episodes could lead to miscalculations and urged Beijing to join US efforts to resume military talks. He added that the US operates on international territory and will continue to do so where the law allows.

Last week, the Pentagon accused a Chinese fighter jet of an “unnecessarily aggressive maneuver” over the South China Sea.

Two senior U.S. officials — Assistant Secretary of State for East Asian and Pacific Affairs Daniel Kritenbrink and National Security Council Senior Director for China and Taiwan Sarah Beran — met with Chinese officials in Beijing on Monday as part of Washington’s efforts to end involvement in the management of the relationship between powers.

The officials expressed concern about the interceptions and also discussed efforts to improve communications between Beijing and Washington.

“The two sides had frank and productive discussions as part of ongoing efforts to maintain open lines of communication and build on recent high-level diplomacy between the two countries,” the State Department said.

CIA director Bill Burns traveled to China last month to try to stabilize fragile diplomatic relations, the Financial Times reported last week.

Meanwhile, the Biden administration has tried to reschedule a trip to Beijing that Secretary of State Antony Blinken abruptly canceled after China sent a spy balloon over the US earlier this year. Beijing has so far refused to allow the trip to go ahead.

Chinese Defense Minister Li Shangfu also declined to meet US Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin at a conference in Singapore last weekend as Washington refused to lift sanctions against him, though the pair shook hands and exchanged pleasantries over a dinner at the event.

In his speech at the Shangri La Dialogue, Austin criticized China for the recent air incidents.

Merry C. Vega is a highly respected and accomplished news author. She began her career as a journalist, covering local news for a small-town newspaper. She quickly gained a reputation for her thorough reporting and ability to uncover the truth.

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