Biden unveils Pentagon ā€˜China task forceā€™ to review ā€˜challengeā€™ Beijing poses as US military flexes muscles at its doorstep

Russia Today – Staff – 10 Feb, 2021

President Joe Biden has launched a military task force to assess US policy toward Beijing, vowing to confront the ā€œChina challengeā€ as he continues his predecessorā€™s naval deployments in the countryā€™s backyard.

Biden announced the new task force during a Pentagon visit on Wednesday, his first to the department, declaring that his administration would ā€œmeet the growing challenges posed by China to keep peace and defend our interests.ā€

ā€œIt will require a whole of government efforts, bipartisan cooperation in Congress and strong alliances and partners,ā€ Biden said of the policy review, which will assess ā€œstrategy and operational concepts, technology, and force posture.ā€

“That is how we will meet the China challenge and ensure the American people win the competition of the future.”

Led by Eli Ratner, who serves as special assistant on China to Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin, the task force will be composed of 15 civilian and uniformed defense officials and will deliver its findings to Austin within four months, according to a Pentagon fact sheet, which dubbed the project a ā€œsprint effort.ā€ The panel is not expected to produce a publicly available report, however.

While Biden said the new task force would conduct a sweeping review of Washingtonā€™s posture toward Beijing, it is unclear to what extent US policy will depart from that of the Donald Trump administration. Taking office just four weeks ago, the new president has already embarked on much of the same sabre rattling as his predecessor, fielding a pair of aircraft carrier strike groups into the South China Sea on Tuesday, and a guided-missile destroyer near the Chinese-controlled Paracel Islands days earlier. Trumpā€™s Pentagon frequently carried out the same type of ā€œfreedom of navigationā€ missions, repeatedly condemned as provocative by China.

Bidenā€™s first major foreign policy address took a combative stance toward Beijing, who he dubbed Americaā€™s ā€œmost serious competitorā€ while echoing rhetoric reminiscent of Trumpā€™s on Chinaā€™s alleged ā€œeconomic abusesā€ and ā€œattackā€ on intellectual property. In announcing the China task force on Wednesday, the president went even further in his vows to confront Beijing, warning that he would ā€œnever hesitate to use force,ā€ though nonetheless said military action should be a ā€œlast resort.ā€

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Posted by Teri Perticone


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