China is 'pacing challenge' for US: Defence Secretary Austin Lloyd
During a hearing on the Defense Department's 2022 Budget Request on Thursday, US Defence Secretary Lloyd Austin informed members of the Senate Appropriations Committee that China was his "primary concern." During a hearing on the Defense Department's 2022 Budget Request on Thursday, Austin told members of the Senate Appropriations Committee that China was his "primary concern." “China is, in reality, our pace problem, and it is the focus of my primary attention. You've seen it in our behaviours, to be honest. “My first foreign journey was to the Indo-Pacific area with Secretary Blinken,” he added. “You saw me establish a China task force, which has assisted in focusing the department's efforts on ensuring that we are doing the proper things to build the skills and develop the operational principles that we require to be successful. You've seen that in our acts, to be honest,” he added. He was replying to concerns about the threats to US national security presented by China. Austin said the China taskforce finished its work last week, and he issued an internal directive, kicking off a series of initiatives aimed at bolstering deterrence against Beijing, revitalising the network of regional allies and partners, and accelerating the development of cutting-edge capabilities and new operational concepts, among other things. “My first journey overseas was to the Indo-Pacific area, where I met with our allies in Japan and South Korea, and then to India to meet with our partner there, and only two nights ago, I was in a meeting with ASEAN nations, sharing ideas about how we could work together better,” he added. In March, Austin travelled to India and met Prime Minister Narendra Modi at the outset of his three-day tour.
“What I've done with the China taskforce is concentrated our efforts a little bit more, which in turn will provide chances for us to better collaborate with friends and partners in the area, which I believe is critical,” he added. China's military has been showing its muscles in the strategically important Indo-Pacific area, as well as in highly disputed territorial conflicts in the South and East China Seas.
In the face of China's growing military manoeuvres in the region, India, the United States, and numerous other world powers have been discussing the necessity to preserve a free, open, and flourishing Indo-Pacific.