Australia plans to strengthen Indo-Pacific security architecture

The China Military Power study, which the Pentagon unveiled before the new year, is in my opinion one of the best unclassified publications that accurately detailed Chinese capabilities and their national objective.

During the Christmas break, I was reading the release of this report from various officials when I came across a fantastic event that Dr. Ratner had done at AEI. This event gave me the idea to do this because the environment is very fluid and dynamic, and even though that report is excellent, there are still things that are changing. This year, 2023, will be crucial for the United States as we work to take action to thwart, what we believe, might be potential Chinese attempts to act against US interests, Dr. Ratner said at the event he was a part of. This is something that many authorities have continued to emphasize.

This audience is well-versed in the conventional military upgrading of the PRC. Nevertheless, as the STRATCOM commanders before and after them have cautioned, China is also pursuing a strategic breakout of its nuclear weapons program. China is developing and strengthening its nuclear triad, but we are not solely concerned with Chinese capabilities.

Moreover, China has acted more provocatively and aggressively in the East and South China Seas. However, as the paper very effectively explains, the military problems China faces are not only local. The PLA is pursuing installations all over the world and increasing its presence there, which highlights its goals to challenge American interests as well as those of our friends and ourselves, from which Americans have long profited. Again, we have heard from numerous DoD officials that we are on the early end. I would love to learn more about what we are doing in response to this from our guests.

Hence, we can’t wait to hear from these fantastic, distinguished visitors that we have in attendance today.

During AEI in December, we had the chance to preview our plans and chat with friends. I believe that despite the fact that March has just begun, it has already been a truly groundbreaking year for US alliances and partnerships in the Indo-Pacific, particularly in terms of delivering on major initiatives with regard to capabilities, posture, interoperability, and otherwise building upon the realization of much of the work that we have been doing over the past couple of years.

We observed it during the secretary’s recent visit to the Philippines, and our meeting was scheduled for right after the visit. Just before that, I was asked to give a testimony before the international relations committee. It’s difficult to refuse that. I’m delighted to be here today, but it was a duty I had to complete.

The agreement on four new EDCA sites in the Philippines, which gives US Forces access to Philippine military sites and is really going to help our ability to deepen the alliance, was announced during Secretary Austin’s second visit to Manila and first visit of the year. Secretary Austin also had the opportunity to meet with troops in the Southern Philippines and with President Marcos and the entire new national security team in Manila.

The partnership with the Philippines is moving along quickly. Lindsey oversees that one on a daily basis, and we anticipate having more significant engagements this year.

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