Economic pressure and diplomacy are the best tools to keep the two nations’ armed forces from becoming “kinetic,” said US Army Secretary Christine Wormuth. But the US also needs to make sure that Chinese President Xi Jinping and other leaders think twice before launching an attack on Taiwan or taking reckless action in the South China Sea. These comments were made at a virtual event hosted by the Washington DC-based think tank Center for International Strategic Studies (CSIS).
Wormuth said the US faces many China-related strategic challenges in the Indo-Pacific, including territorial claims over the Diaoyu Islands (Japan), military aircraft intrusion into Taiwan’s air defense zone and Beijing’s militarization in the South Chinese Ocean.
But the US military secretary recommended that the US and China break away from a new Cold War framework and maintain bilateral communications to avoid escalating tensions.
She stressed that the best way to avoid conflict is to promote defense cooperation between the US and Taiwan. She said the top priority for the US is to avoid a “hot war” in the Taiwan Strait, and the best way to achieve this goal is to ensure that the deterrence is so strong that Chinese leader Xi Jinping does not dare to try to take Taiwan. with violence.
The US military will have five “core tasks” in an Indo-Pacific conflict that it can accomplish without dramatically expanding its permanent presence, the senior official said. The first task is to secure and establish joint bases and positions for air and naval forces. In its second mission, the military will operate much of the backbone of a secure communications network and create supply chain networks for troops distributed across the region.
The military will also help synchronize, support and defend operations through a scalable joint headquarters as its third task, Wormuth said, adding that the fourth task is to provide ground fires such as hypersonic weapons, a mid-range missile and precision strike missiles. , all three of which will be deployed in 2023.