Jul 24, 2022 - World

Chinese military "noticeably more aggressive," Gen. Mark Milley warns

Mark Milley
Mark Milley, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, on July 20. Photo: Anna Moneymaker/Getty Images

China's military has become significantly more aggressive and dangerous in the past five years, Joint Chiefs Chairman Mark Milley told reporters Sunday, AP reported.

Driving the news: Milley is currently on a trip to the Indo-Pacific to shore up the U.S.' alliances with nations in the region and act as a counterbalance to China. He was in Indonesia on Sunday and will head to Australia this week to meet with Indo-Pacific chiefs of defense, per AP.

  • The Biden administration has made the Indo-Pacific a top geostrategic focus, warning that there remains a narrow window of time to prevent China from transforming the region into its own sphere of influence.

What they're saying: The Chinese military has been conducting an increasing number of "dangerous intercepts" against U.S. and other allies' military aircraft, including those of Canada, Australia and Japan, among others, Milley told reporters aboard his plane en route to Asia, the Financial Times reported.

  • Milley added that the number of unsafe interactions, such as when Chinese military aircraft get too close to a U.S. aircraft, has risen by similar proportions, per the Financial Times.
  • “The message is the Chinese military, in the air and at sea, have become significantly more and noticeably more aggressive in this particular region,” Milley said, AP reported.

The big picture: This month, Milley ordered a comprehensive review of U.S. military interactions with Chinese forces over the past five years with the intent of deciphering any change in the pattern of Chinese military activity, CNN reported.

  • Former Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison warned in April that China is exerting “enormous pressure” on Pacific island nations, per the Guardian.
  • More than once this year, China has sent groups of warplanes near Taiwan. The governments of China and Russia also sent jets over the seas near Japan during President Biden's visit to the region in May.
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