United States Navy Admiral Philip S. Davidson, Commander of United States Indo-Pacific Command (USINDOPACOM), said in his prepared statement given to US Senate Armed Services Committee on February 12 that China poses as the greatest long term threat to free and open Indo-Pacific.
“North Korea will remain the most immediate challenge until we achieve the final, fully verifiable denuclearization as committed to by Chairman Kim Jong Un at the summit in June 2018,” Admiral Davidson said. “China, however, represents the greatest long-term strategic threat to a Free and Open Indo-Pacific and to the United States.”
Davidson explained that through fear and economic pressure, Beijing is working to expand its form of Communist-Socialist ideology in order to bend, break, and replace the existing rules-based international order.
“Beijing seeks to create a new international order led by China and with “Chinese characteristics”—an outcome that displaces the stability and peace of the Indo-Pacific that has endured for over 70 years,” he said.
He also said that China’s People’s Liberation Army (PLA) “is the principal threat to US interests, US citizens, and our allies inside the First Island Chain – a term that refers to the islands that run from northern Japan through Taiwan, the Philippines, and Indonesia – and the PLA is quickly increasing its ability to project power and influence beyond the First Island Chain.”
“Beijing pursues both qualitative and quantitative efforts to transform its military, modernizing its military platforms while simultaneously increasing the number of platforms in service,” he said.
He also stated that Beijing maintains maritime claims in the South China Sea that are contrary to international law and pose a substantial long-term threat to the rules-based international order.