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Pentagon issues warning about China, urges more assertive US role in Indo-Pacific region

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Washington: The rivalry between the US and  China in the Indo-Pacific region is becoming more intense.

The US has acknowledged that there is a long-term strategic threat from China and warned that US warships will be more vocal in response to violations of international law in the coming years, especially by China.

In a document for the US Navy, Marines and Coast Guard, the Pentagon said that Russia and China were ‘combating the balance of power in key areas and trying to weaken the current world order’.

The document stated, “Our globally deployed naval forces interact daily with Chinese and Russian warships and aircraft.”

The US document can be traced to the backdrop of Chinese assertiveness in the Indo-Pacific region, where Beijing claims territorial rights over several islands in the South China Sea.

US Navy continues to patrol South China Sea

The US Navy has increased its presence in the Pacific to counter the growing Chinese presence in the region. The US is constantly sending warships to the South China Sea to ensure ‘freedom of navigation’.

The Pentagon statement said that US ships would accept strategic risks and adopt a more assertive posture in their day-to-day operations. 

“Our behavior in the past was de-escalation. We will get away and reduce the risk in those personal contacts,” US Navy Rear Admiral Jay Barnum was quoted as saying by news agency AFP,. 

India has been facing China’s expansionist policy on the Line of Actual Control (LAC) in eastern Ladakh over the past few months. US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said earlier this year that Chinese expansionism is ‘the biggest challenge of our time’. 

“We have extended support to India in an effort to stand up against bullying by China in the region,” he had said.

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