Austin To Travel to Southeast Asia To Tighten Anti-China Alliance
July 22, 2021 (EIRNS)—Just two days after U.K. Defense Secretary Ben Wallace announced, during a visit to Tokyo, that the British Empire would be stationing two naval vessels in the Indo-Pacific region, U.S. Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin and Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Gen. Mark Milley discussed measures to tighten the alliance that the U.K. and U.S. are constructing to contain China. In his opening remarks to a joint press conference at the Pentagon, Austin announced that he will soon be departing for Southeast Asia on a trip that includes stops in Singapore, Vietnam, and the Philippines. “I’m especially looking forward to making keynote remarks in Singapore about how we’re strengthening one of our unmatched strategic assets in the region, which is our powerful network of allies and partners,” he said. “I’ll follow up—I’ll follow that up with stops in Vietnam and the Philippines, where I’ll meet with my counterparts and other leaders.”
“I’ll also continue to make the case for a more fair, open and inclusive regional order, and for our shared values to ensure that all countries get a fair shake,” Austin droned on.
“We don’t believe that any one country should be able to dictate the rules, or worse yet, throw them over the transom, and in this regard, I’ll emphasize our commitment to the freedom—to freedom of the seas. I’ll also make clear where we stand on some unhelpful and unfounded claims by China in the South China Sea.
“And finally, I’ll be working closely with our partners about how we’re updating our—and modernizing our capabilities and their own capabilities to work together to tackle some changing forms of aggression and coercion that we’re all seeing.”
Milley added later the mantra that China is the “pacing threat” for the U.S. military. “And it’s been directed now by the secretary of defense, the president and the previous administration as well. So we are gearing our capabilities, our programs, our training, our skills, our activities, etcetera, militarily with China in mind. There’s no question about it,” he said. “And we will work very closely with Japan, with other countries—South Korea, Philippines, Australia and other allies and partners in the region to make sure that we have proper capability to deal with it, whatever comes to us in the future.”