General Mark Milley, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff since Sept. 2019, made this assessment during a hearing with the Senate Armed Services Committee on Thursday.
"We must ensure that we retain our competitive and technological edge," Milley added.
America's national security policy has been focused on keeping China contained since well before the administration of former President Donald Trump. The U.S. has done this by taking a strong stand on critical issues that puts it at odds with Beijing, such as the country's human rights violations against its minority populations and its territorial disputes with Taiwan and the countries bordering the South China Sea.
Listen to this special Situation Update breaking news episode of the Health Ranger Report, a podcast by Mike Adams, the Health Ranger, as he talks about how China may launch a total war against the U.S. within the next few months.
Milley made these comments after Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin raised similar concerns in recent days regarding the rhetoric coming from the Chinese Communist Party.
During the same hearing that Milley was in, Austin told senators that the defense budget requested by President Joe Biden – $715 billion – was necessary to meet the potential challenge posed by an "increasingly assertive" Beijing.
"The request is driven by our recognition that our competitors – especially China – continue to advance their capabilities," said Austin. "We must out-pace those advances to remain a credible deterrent to conflict around the world." (Related: China exploiting Caribbean nations to build military and missile bases that can threaten the continental United States.)
Milley noted that the combined total defense spending by two of America's greatest potential competitors – Russia and China – was now greater than that of the U.S. He then said that China is still the country's "number one" military threat.
Even Biden has come around to understanding that China is the country's greatest external threat. He signed an executive order enhancing and extending Trump's ban on investments in certain Chinese corporations tied to Beijing's surveillance industry and the military-industrial complex. This blacklist includes 59 Chinese companies.
The president has even used the threat of China to push Congress to support his other projects, including his gargantuan infrastructure spending proposal. Back in February, he said China would "eat our lunch" if the country did not step up and spend.
"They're investing a lot of money, they're investing billions of dollars and dealing with a whole range of issues that relate to transportation, the environment and a whole range of other things," he said.
On Tuesday, June 8, the Senate approved a nearly $250 billion bill to invest in the country's manufacturing and technological capabilities to out-compete with Beijing.
Top officials in Beijing have repeatedly denied that they have any kind of prospect to challenge America. In a statement, the foreign affairs committee of the National People's Congress – the country's legislature – said:
"At a time when the world is entering a period of turbulence and change, the practice of treating China as an 'imaginary enemy' at every turn is against the general trend of the world, unpopular around the world and doomed to fail."
Despite this tone, Beijing's actions in recent weeks have always been at odds with American attempts to uphold democracy and human rights in the region.
Indeed, America's latest spat with Beijing came after a bipartisan group of senators visited Taiwan in early June. These senators promised to help the island nation overcome its Wuhan coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak. This promise to provide the country with aid prompted Beijing to respond with a series of aggressive statements.
Wu Qian, the spokesman for China's Ministry of National Defense, even alleged that the senators and the U.S. were "seriously undermining" stability in the region by answering Taiwan's call for aid.
The spokesman then went on to threaten anyone who would help "split Taiwan from China" with violence. He said any attempt would be met with a "resolute attack head-on" from the People's Liberation Army, China's armed forces.
Beijing has long claimed sovereignty over Taiwan, despite never having controlled it. On the other hand, the government in Taiwan asserts that it is a sovereign and democratic nation.
Because Beijing believes Taiwan is an integral part of China, it opposes any attempts by governments or representatives of governments to foster better ties with Taiwan.
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