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China coercing neighbours to reorder Indo-Pacific region: Pentagon

Highlights
  • China is now a strategic competitor, using predatory economics to intimidate its neighbours, the Pentagon said.
  • Pentagon said China and Russia have narrowed US's military technological advantages.

China is coercing its neighbours to reorder the Indo-Pacific region, the Pentagon told Congress in its annual budget proposals for the fiscal 2019, beginning October 1 this year.

Trump administration on Monday released their proposal for the fiscal year 2019 budget. Fiscal years are different from calendar years. The budgetary proposal covers October 1, 2018, through September 30, 2019.

"China is leveraging military modernisation, influence operations and predatory economics to coerce neighbouring countries to reorder the Indo-Pacific region to their advantage," the Pentagon said in its annual defence budget for the fiscal 2019.

As China continues its economic and military ascendance, asserting power through an all-of-nation long-term strategy, it will continue to pursue a military modernisation programme that seeks Indo-Pacific regional hegemony in the near-term and displacement of the US to achieve global preeminence in the future, it said.

The most far-reaching objective of this defence strategy is to set the military relationship between the US and China on a path of transparency and non-aggression, it said.

According to the Pentagon, the central challenge to the US prosperity and security is the reemergence of long term, strategic competition by what the national security strategy classifies as revisionist powers.

"It is increasingly clear that China and Russia want to shape a world consistent with their authoritarian model — gaining veto authority over other nations' economic, diplomatic and security decisions," it said.

The Pentagon said Russia seeks veto authority over nations on its periphery in terms of its governmental, economic and diplomatic decisions to shatter the North Atlantic Treaty Organisation and to change European and Middle East security and economic structures to its favour.

The use of emerging technologies to discredit and subvert democratic processes in Georgia, Crimea and eastern Ukraine is concern enough, but when coupled with its expanding and modernising nuclear arsenal the challenge is clear.

"Rogue regimes such as North Korea and Iran are destabilising their regions by pursuing nuclear weapons or sponsoring terrorism," the Pentagon said.

North Korea seeks to guarantee regime survival and increased leverage through a mixture of nuclear, biological, chemical, conventional and unconventional weapons and a growing ballistic missile capability to gain coercive influence over South Korea, Japan and the US.

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