China a threat to world: US defence boss
February 16, 2020
US Defence Secretary Mark Esper has cast China as a rising threat to world order, saying the world's most populous nation steals Western know-how, and intimidates smaller neighbours.
A frequent critic of China, Esper has used an address to an international security conference in Munich to give his most comprehensive condemnation yet of the communist country.
Esper said China tops the Pentagon's list of potential adversaries, followed by Russia, "rogue states" like North Korea and Iran, and continuing threats from extremist groups.
"The Chinese Communist Party is heading even faster and further in the wrong direction - more internal repression, more predatory economic practices, more heavy-handedness, and most concerning for me, a more aggressive military posture," he said on Saturday.
Esper stressed that the US does not want conflicts with China, and noted that the US government has provided medical supplies to help China combat a coronavirus outbreak that has infected over 67,000 people.