WASHINGTON (US) The Pentagon would review its strategy toward China, looking at pivotal areas including intelligence, technology and Washington’s military footprint in the region said President Joe Biden on Wednesday.
Both countries are at loggerheads over issues from technology and human rights to Chinese military activities in the disputed South China Sea, with each accusing the other of deliberately provocative behaviour.
The Pentagons review will be among several others it is already carrying out, ranging from troops in the Middle East to policy toward NATO.
Donald Trump’s administration had made countering China its top priority, something the current Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin has signaled will continue.
Biden said China and issues related to it would require government agencies working together, along with bipartisan support in Congress and strong alliances.
“That’s how we’ll meet the China challenge,” Biden said, flanked by Austin and Vice President Kamala Harris.
Earlier this week, two US carrier groups conducted joint exercises in the South China Sea, as China accused the United States of damaging peace and stability.
The United States has contested China’s extensive territorial claims in the region, accusing it of militarizing the South China Sea and trying to intimidate neighbors such as Malaysia, the Philippines and Vietnam, which have claims that overlap with China’s in the resource-rich area.
But recent interactions between Chinese and American forces in the South China Sea have been safe and professional, officials say.
It was Biden’s first visit to the Pentagon since his Jan. 20 inauguration as president.