New Pentagon chief says China’s ‘destabilizing behavior’ is ‘disturbing’

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Defense Secretary Mark EsperMark EsperPentagon chief says US looking to put intermediate-range missiles in Asia Pentagon chief denies White House hand in ‘war cloud’ contract probe Trump defense chief sees rising support for US plan to counter Iran MORE on Sunday warned that China is destabilizing the Indo-Pacific region, Reuters reported.

“We firmly believe no one nation can or should dominate the Indo-Pacific and we are working alongside our allies and partners to address the region’s pressing security needs,” Esper told reporters in Sydney during his first international trip in his new capacity, per Reuters.


“We also stand firmly against a disturbing pattern of aggressive behavior, destabilizing behavior from China. This includes weaponizing the global commons, using predatory economics and debt for sovereignty deals, and promoting state-sponsored theft of other nations’ intellectual property.”

Esper’s admonishment of Beijing comes as U.S-Sino tensions remain high.

President TrumpDonald John TrumpCNN’s Jake Tapper calls out Republicans who turned down interviews after shootings Booker: Trump ‘particularly responsible’ for rising hate Castro: Trump ‘made a choice to divide people’ for his ‘political benefit’ MORE this week threatened to place another 10 percent tariff on $300 billion in Chinese goods beginning on Sept. 1. The U.S. has longed accused China of IP theft and currency manipulation.

That, combined with existing 25 percent penalties on $250 billion in goods, would impose levies on virtually all remaining Chinese imports.

Esper also seemed to reference China’s increasingly assertive stance in the South China Sea.

Beijing has built artificial islands as a way to lay claim the international shipping zone.

The U.S. has made protecting sea lines of communication and global commons a key feature of its global strategy.

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