The top U.S. general asserted Sunday that the Chinese regime’s military has become more aggressive and dangerous over the past five years.
Gen. Mark Milley, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, told reporters that the United States and its allies have conducted more and more intercepts of Chinese aircraft and ships in the Pacific. The number of unsafe encounters has also increased significantly, he said.
“The message is the Chinese military, in the air and at sea, have become significantly more and noticeably more aggressive in this particular region,” Milley, who recently asked his staff to compile details about interactions between China and the United States and others in the region, said during a trip to Indonesia on Sunday.
The top general, who has faced congressional blowback for holding two phone calls with a top Chinese general during the waning months of the Trump administration, did not provide specific figures about the incidents involving Chinese jets or ships.
U.S. military officials have recently raised alarm about the possibility that the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) could invade Taiwan amid speculation the CCP could take inspiration from Russia’s invasion of Ukraine in February. The CCP has stepped up its military provocations against Taiwan in 2022 as it looks to intimidate it into assimilating with the communist mainland.
Two Chinese SU-30 fighter jets take off from an unspecified location to fly a patrol over the South China Sea, in an undated file photo. (Jin Danhua/Xinhua via AP)
Milley also made note of an agreement between the CCP and the Solomon Islands that will allow Beijing to potentially construct a naval base in the South Pacific region.
“This is an area in which China is trying to do outreach for their own purposes. And again, this is concerning because China is not doing it just for benign reasons,” Milley told reporters Sunday.
“They’re trying to expand their influence throughout the region. And that has potential consequences that are not necessarily favorable to our allies and partners in the region.”
Elaborating further, Milley said that the “vast majority” of countries in the Pacific want the U.S. military to be more involved amid the CCP threat.