United States

Pentagon head Austin says Chinese flights near Taiwan resemble rehearsals

16:44, 05 December 2021
Pentagon head Austin says Chinese flights near Taiwan resemble rehearsals Photo: oldsargepap/twitter.com

Tensions between the US and China over Taiwan have steadily grown after the PRC’s air forces made their largest incursion into Taiwan’s air defense zone in October.

US Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin has announced that the flights conducted by China’s air forces into Taiwan’s air zone look like “rehearsals”.

“I don’t want to speculate, but certainly, it looks like exploring what their true capabilities are, and sure, it looks like rehearsal.”

The judgment of the Pentagon chief was presented during the National Defense Forum held at the Ronald Reagan Presidential Library in California on Saturday.

However, Austin added that he did not actually expect China to hold potential operations against the island on whom it is trying to impose the “One country, two systems” policy similar to that of Hong Kong.

Austin has highlighted that the US was ready to support Taiwan’s capacity to defend itself but remained committed to the “One China” official policy. The US was not looking for a conflict, he added.

The Defense Secretary also mentioned challenges posed by China as it is the only country in the world capable of using its economic, diplomatic, military, and technological powers to destabilize the transparent international system. To oppose them, the US was establishing ties with other Indo-Pacific countries specifically in the military branch.

Earlier Chinese leader Xi Jinping has unveiled that he wanted Taiwan to reunite peacefully stressing at the same time that China had extensive “experience of fighting separatism”.

Austin’s speech appears several days before the "Summit for Democracy" organized by US President Joe Biden. The head of state invited Taiwan at the same time dropping China and Russia which raised their anger.