US Secretary of Defense Mark Esper criticized China for “destabilizing” actions in the Indo-Pacific region during his first international tour.
Secretary of State Mike Pompeo and their Australian counterparts, Esper said that the U.S. is “firmly against a disturbing pattern of aggressive behavior, destabilizing behavior from China.” They pointed to the militarization of Beijing islands in the South China Sea and accused China of state support for the theft of intellectual property of other countries and the “predatory economics.”
It was a clear hint to the so-called “debt traps,” such as the 2017 agreement, under which China could control the port in Sri Lanka.
After the Sri Lankan authorities failed to produce payments to pay off their debts to China, they had to give the port and territory of 60 square kilometers to the Chinese government for 99 years.
According Bradley Bowman, Senior Director of the Center on Military and Political Power (CMPP) at the Foundation for Defense of Democracies, China has probably made the largest transfer of intellectual property for the history of mankind.
Bowman said that intellectual property stolen by Beijing to modernize Chinese arsenals, which, in the accord with a military conflict, will be used to kill the Americans and their allies.
Esper warned that the US will not stay inactive until one country tries to change the region in its favor at the expense of others.
Pompeo said Sunday that the United States does not ask countries to “choose” between the US and China.
However, among the allies in the region, there is raising concern about the growing economic and military tensions between China and the U.S..
Australia’s Minister for Foreign Affairs Marise Payne praised the strong “enhanced relationship” between the U.S. and Australia, but noted that China is also an important partner for her country.
Natalia Veselnitskaya – official website