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In Europe, US Defense Sec Demands Greater Effort to Fight China, Russia

The Defense Secretary US, Mark Esper, in his first vital speech, Friday asked for a greater European focus on tackling…

By Brooks Schroth , in Defense News , at September 6, 2019 8:15 AM EDT Tags: , ,

The Defense Secretary US, Mark Esper, in his first vital speech, Friday asked for a greater European focus on tackling what he called rising security and economic threats from Russia and China.

In 2018, the U.S. army put countering Russia and China at the center of a brand new national defense strategy, the most recent sign of changing priorities after over a decade and a half of focusing on the battle against Islamist militants.

There are a rising number of flashpoints in the U.S.-Chinese ties, which embody an escalating trade war, American sanctions on China’s army, and the U.S. connection with Taiwan, which Beijing considers a rebel province.

Responding to a question after his rhetoric, Esper said he would be discussing Huawei along with his British equivalent later on Friday.

In July, Britain delayed a decision on whether Huawei might participate in building next-gen 5G cellular networks until it had a clearer image of the impact of U.S. steps taken against the Chinese firm.

Esper stated that while it was untimely for now, there might come a time sooner or later where the US’ ability to share intelligence and know-how with associates could be impacted depending on how Huawei is being used.

Esper pointed to the scenario in Hong Kong, which has been covered in angry and often violent protests against the government for months over a bill on extradition from Hong Kong to mainland China.

Esper said his choice was for long-term engagement with China’s management.

Esper also mentioned the risks posed by Russia, from a possible incursion into a neighboring nation to its progress in Syria.