China Seeks to ‘Destabilize Nations’ Throughout the World: Gen. Milley

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The global political order is becoming more unstable as it is eroded by the Chinese Communist Party (CCP), according to the nation’s top military leadership.

“The world is becoming more unstable, not less unstable,” said Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Gen. Mark Milley.

“The PRC [People’s Republic of China] continues to challenge the stability and security [of] the Pacific and is increasingly exporting their ability to destabilize countries abroad,” Milley added, using the acronym for the official name of the regime.

The comments came during a lengthy hearing of the House Armed Services Committee on the Biden administration’s defense budget request for the 2023 fiscal year. The request is proving a contentious issue among lawmakers, as U.S. leadership contends simultaneously with shifting its military priorities to the Indo-Pacific even as Russia’s war on Ukraine demands increasing attention and resources.

Regardless of the crisis in Europe, however, U.S. military leadership maintains that the CCP and its military wing, the People’s Liberation Army (PLA), pose the greatest threat to national security and global stability.

Furthermore, they said that the regime was actively working to undermine U.S. influence abroad by leveraging economic and diplomatic coercion against smaller nations throughout the region.

“The [PRC] is the Department’s pacing challenge due to its coercive and increasingly aggressive efforts to refashion the Indo-Pacific region and the international system to suit its interests and preferences,” said Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin. “The PRC has expanded and modernized nearly every aspect of the [PLA], including its conventional forces and nuclear capabilities, with a focus on U.S. military advantages.”

“The PRC seeks to fragment U.S. alliances and security partnerships in the Indo-Pacific region, and the PRC’s leaders hope to leverage their economic influence and the PLA’s growing military strength to coerce China’s neighbors and threaten their vital national interests.”

To address that threat, Austin outlined that the Pentagon was seeking to invest some $6 billion in the “Pacific Deterrence Initiative,” up nearly $1 billion from its initial ask in the previous fiscal year.

That initiative aims to ensure a free and open Indo-Pacific by maintaining a forward posture in the region and through increased engagement with regional partners such as members of ASEAN, even in the face of mounting authoritarianism throughout Eurasia.

“We see the world that we do not want, unquestionably,” said House Armed Serves Committee Chair Rep. Adam Smith (D-Wash.), adding that China and Russia were the “primary threats” to the world order.

“We face a very stark choice in the world,” Smith said. “The president has outlined this clearly. We can push for greater freedom, greater economic and political freedom, or we can face the autocracy that Russia and China are trying to bring down upon us.”

Whether or not the United States would maintain credible enough military strength to do that, however, was an open question among committee members who did not agree with the Pentagon’s decision to modernize at the cost of an increasingly smaller fighting force.

“Unprecedented Chinese military modernization has enabled them to leapfrog us in key capabilities,” said ranking member Mike Rogers (R-Ala.) “The Chinese Communist Party now controls the largest army and navy in the world. It has more troops, more ships, and more hypersonic missiles than the United States.”

Despite the stark ratios, Milley maintained that the United States military was capable of the task at hand, difficult though it may be, and that war with communist China was not a foregone conclusion.

“The People’s Republic of China remains our number one long-term geostrategic pacing challenge,” Milley said.

“History is not deterministic,” Milley said. “War with the PRC is not inevitable.”

Andrew Thornebrooke


Andrew Thornebrooke is a reporter for The Epoch Times covering China-related issues with a focus on defense, military affairs, and national security. He holds a master’s in military history from Norwich University.

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