Key US, Japanese and South Korean military leaders meet, highlighting US passage to Asia
Joint Chiefs Chairman General Mark Milley reaffirmed the United States’ commitment to two of its closest allies in Asia, including its readiness to provide deterrence backed by the “full spectrum” of US military capabilities.
While a reading from the trilateral meeting makes no explicit mention of China, the reference to the importance of a “rules-based international order” and America’s readiness to provide “extensive deterrence” supported by a “full spectrum” of military capabilities is clearly oriented. to what the Pentagon has called the “pace challenge” and the “near-peer competitor” of the country.
In their first in-person meeting since the start of the Covid-19 pandemic, Milley and other senior military officials in the region also raised concerns about North Korea’s nuclear and ballistic missile programs.
President Joe Biden, in his first address to a joint session of Congress Wednesday night, made the confrontation with China and what he dubbed its “unfair trade practices” a top priority. In conversations with Chinese President Xi Jinping, Biden said he would protect US interests and pledged to maintain a strong military presence in the Indo-Pacific region “not to start conflict, but to prevent conflict.”
“After 20 years of American bravery and sacrifice, it’s time to bring our troops home,” Biden said Wednesday.
In early March, the Pentagon set up a task force on China to better understand how to meet the challenge that the world’s most populous country poses to the US military. The task force, which is part of the Pentagon’s Global Posture Review, is led by Ely Ratner, Biden’s choice to head the Pentagon’s Asia office.