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Dhaka Tribune

US views China as top security threat despite Russia's war

US Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin said Beijing is the only competitor capable of reshaping the international order

Update : 28 Oct 2022, 05:20 PM

US Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin on Thursday said China is the top security threat to the United States, despite Russia's invasion of and war against Ukraine. 

China "is the only competitor out there with both the intent to reshape the international order, and increasingly the power to do so," Austin said at the Pentagon while unveiling the country's National Defense Strategy.

Beijing seeks to 'refashion Indo-Pacific,' Russia only an 'acute threat'

The document said Beijing is attempting to "refashion the Indo-Pacific region and the international system to suit its interests and authoritarian preferences." The strategy said China's "coercive activity" towards Taiwan is "destabilizing" and a challenge to peace in the region.

Meanwhile, the strategy labels Russia as only an "acute threat" amid Moscow's "brutal, unprovoked war against Ukraine." 

"Russia presents serious, continuing risks in key areas," the document said. "These include nuclear threats to the homeland and US allies and partners; long-range cruise missile threats; cyber and information operations, counterspace threats, chemical and biological weapons (CBW); undersea warfare, and extensive Gray zone campaigns against democracies in particular. "


China, Russia continue cooperation

The US report noted that China and Russia are becoming closer, despite "diverging interests and historical mistrust."

Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi on Thursday reaffirmed support for Moscow in a call with his Russian counterpart, Sergey Lavrov, state broadcaster CCTV reported. Russian President Vladimir Putin, meanwhile, recognized Taiwan as a part of China during the Valdai Discussion Club event in Moscow.      

Other threats listed in the Pentagon strategy include North Korea and Iran expanding their military and nuclear capabilities, along with terrorist organizations such as al-Qaeda and the so-called "Islamic State" (IS). Climate change was also listed as an "emerging threat," a reversal in policy from former President Donald Trump's administration.

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