19.05.2022 Author: Valery Kulikov

US is Increasing the Military Pressure in its Dealings with China

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Since Joe Biden’s arrival in the White House, Washington, with the support of its European allies, to bring about a conflict in Ukraine, forcing Russia to launch a special operation to denazify that country. Now the US is embarking on military operations in a new conflict, which it created with the help of its Asian satellites. This time its opponent is China. The US has a much greater stake here than it does in Europe, as Washington sees China’s rapidly growing military and economical might as a direct threat to its own national security.

The US President therefore will visit Japan and South Korea from May 20 -24, and will have meetings with the leaders of Australia and India in Tokyo “to further strengthen ties.” According to Jen Psaki, White House Press Secretary, Mr. Biden will take part in two-party meetings with leaders in the region, including Yoon Suk-yeol, the recently-elected Korean President, and Fumio Kishida, the Japanese Prime Minister, “to discuss the potential for deepening vital security relations, and expanding close cooperation in order to achieve practical results”. In view of the Pentagon’s recent tendency to emphasize military confrontation with China, it is clear what “practical results” it has in mind.

With this in mind the US has recently been developing its military capabilities in the Indo-Pacific Region and strengthening the reformed Marine Corps Forces, which have been tasked with working together with armed forces from allied countries in the region in order to oppose Beijing.

The signing of the new AUKUS security pact between Australia, the United Kingdom, and the United States last year has further undermined the already fragile equilibrium in the Asia-Pacific region. The most recent declarations by the members of the AUKUS on their intention to extend their military goals has served to strengthen this conclusion. For example, in an interview for the television channel 9News on April 25 Peter Dutton, Australia’s Minister for Defense, called on Australia to prepare for war with China after the latter signed a security agreement with the Solomon Islands. All this has clearly been instigated by the US and its allies in the region.

The latest Balikatan military exercises, conducted jointly by the Philippines and the US, have just come to an end in the Philippines. The newly formed US 3rd Marine Littoral Regiment took part in the exercises, which were aimed at developing the capability to contain China. During the exercises the US Marines practiced the transport and deployment of marine troops from one island to another, with simulated Naval Strike Missile (NSM) attacks on shipping. This was clearly a rehearsal for armed confrontation with Chinese forces in connection with the storming of disputed islands in the region. But, most importantly, the exercises enabled the participants to practice the rapid transfer of combatants from one island to another – an ability which the US Marine Corps Command sees as key to their military resilience.

The US authorities are also trying to apply their experience in the Ukrainian conflict to Taiwan. Washington is “quietly” pushing Taipei to adopt armament systems suitable for asymmetric warfare in the hope that this will enable it to resist an attack by China, The New York Times reports. According to the NYT, the development of Taiwan’s defense capabilities has taken on a new urgency since the Russian invasion of Ukraine and US officials are trying to determine whether the Taiwanese armed forces would be able replicate the Ukrainians’ successes. In the view of US officials, the Ukraine conflict has demonstrated the need for the US to help transform Taiwan into a “porcupine”, in order to deter potential attacks from China. However, Taiwan is not Ukraine, and if Taiwan were in a state of siege the US and its allies might find it difficult to deliver the armaments required. A number of US officials have therefore proposed stockpiling large supplies of munitions in Taiwan, the article adds.

According to information received by China, among other countries, the US Indo-Pacific Region policy is based on the logic that if it is impossible to change the system within China then it is essential to transform the strategic environment along China’s borders. In order to strengthen its position in the Indo-Pacific Region, Washington has been able to convince the leaders of other Western nations that the West is responsible for security in that region, thus extending NATO’s defense line to the South China Sea. “The NATO defence line, which, during the Cold War ran along the Berlin Wall – both the concrete wall and the figurative wall – and between the two military blocs, has since then has been moved east five times, and today Mr. Stoltenberg, [UK Foreign Secretary] Liz Truss and others are telling us that NATO has a global responsibility to solve security problems, primarily in the Indo-Pacific region. As I understand it, the next defence line will be moved to the South China Sea’, said Sergey Lavrov, Russian Foreign Minister, at the 30th Assembly of the Council on Foreign and Defense Policy, held in Moscow on May 14, 2022. Before Mr Lavrov spoke, Alexey Ovchinnikov, Director of the Russian Foreign Ministry’s Asian and Pacific Cooperation Department had warned that the new AUKUS alliance between Australia, the UK and the US might pose an obstacle to the development of a new Code of Conduct in the South China Sea, which is currently being negotiated by the Association of South East Asian Nations (ASEAN) and China. That Code would establishing a procedure to adopt in the event of conflicts in the region and provide an opportunity for resolving them. Work on the development of the document has been continuing for several years and, according to the countries involved in this process, although the Code has not yet been developed considerable progress has been made.

NATO plans to invite Volodymyr Zelensky, the Ukrainian President, along with other NATO partners to a summit in Madrid, to be held in July, so that joint measures against China can be developed with individual Asian allies. According to Mircea Geoană, NATO Deputy Secretary General, a “new strategic conception” will be confirmed in the summit.

Washington is also planning to impinge on China’s zone of interests in another region – Central Asia. To this end, it has in recent months been concentrating on strengthening its military presence in Tajikistan. Specifically, over the next two years it plans to provide Tajikistan with more than $60 million in funding for national security projects. According to the Kyrgyz news site 24.kg, this funding was announced by in a press conference held on May 12, by John Mark Pommersheim, US Ambassador to Tajikistan. He stated that the “assistance” provided by Washington would include Puma reconnaissance drones worth $20 million, to patrol airspace in the republic’s border regions. He added that the US had no intention of establishing a military base in Tajikistan, but nevertheless stated that Washington planned to construct a border checkpoint on Tajikistan’s border with Afghanistan, plus accommodation for 900 military servicemen and their families!

Following a meeting between the Russian and Chinese commanders on February 4 the two parties issues a Declaration setting out what they see as the core problem of today’s world – the fact that the US is trying to prevent any changes to its “City upon a Hill” doctrine, and continues to dictate its terms to the rest of the world and flood other countries with its devalued dollars. The crisis currently playing out in the Ukraine and the conflict being prepared in Taiwan are certainly important, but they are certainly not the only theaters of war in this “final, decisive battle”. However, both Moscow and Beijing are remaining vigilant and have confirmed that they are ready to stand together and answer such insinuations by the US.

Valery Kulikov, political expert, exclusively for the online magazine “New Eastern Outlook”.


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