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U.S. Increases the Strategic/Military Pressure on China

May 21, 2020 (EIRNS)—Following Secretary of State Mike Pompeo’s press conference yesterday, in which he claimed that “The media’s focus on the current pandemic risks missing the bigger picture of the challenge that’s presented by the Chinese Communist Party,” the State Department raised there may be a new round of arms sales to Taiwan, including the possible sale of 18 Mk-48 submarine-launched heavy torpedoes. “The proposed sale will improve the recipient’s capability in current and future defensive efforts. The recipient will use the enhanced capability as a deterrent to regional threats and to strengthen homeland defense,” the State Department said.

The torpedo sale announcement was apparently linked to yesterday’s second inauguration of Taiwan leader Tsai Ing-wen. “As we welcome (Tsai’s) inauguration for her second presidential term this week, it’s worth remembering why the U.S. has long considered Taiwan a force for good—and why we are committed to supporting its defense,” the State Department’s Bureau of Political-Military Affairs said in a Twitter posting following the arms sale announcement.

At the same time, the Pentagon is complaining that Chinese aircraft behave “unprofessionally” when challenged by U.S. aircraft over the South China Sea. There have been “at least nine” concerning incidents involving Chinese fighter jets and U.S. aircraft in the skies above what Fox called “the contested waterway” since mid-March, Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense for Southeast Asia Reed Werner told Fox News on May 19, and charging that China continues to engage in “risky and escalatory behavior.” Werner told Fox that the Pentagon found “the current trend line very worrisome,” and said that Washington has lodged several formal and informal complaints in response to recent incidents. “We’ve made démarches,” he said, and complained that it is a regular occurrence. The Department of Defense has also claimed that U.S. adversaries are trying to take advantage of the global situation, including the coronavirus pandemic, but has also says that the U.S. military remains ready to meet that challenge and defend U.S. interests.

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