Pacific defense chiefs meet against backdrop of rising China

Jul 26, 2022, 7:57 AM | Updated: 8:01 pm
U.S. Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Gen. Mark Milley talks to the media after his meeting wi...

U.S. Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Gen. Mark Milley talks to the media after his meeting with Indonesian Armed Forces Chief Gen. Andika Perkasa at Indonesian military headquarters in Jakarta, Indonesia, Sunday, July 24, 2022. The Chinese military has become significantly more aggressive and dangerous over the past five years, the top U.S. military officer said during a trip to the Indo-Pacific that included a stop Sunday in Indonesia. (AP Photo/Achmad Ibrahim)

(AP Photo/Achmad Ibrahim)

SYDNEY (AP) — Defense chiefs from across the Indo-Pacific gathered this week to bolster their connections against a backdrop of China’s ongoing campaign to expand its influence and military presence in the region.

Gen. Mark Milley, chairman of the U.S. Joint Chiefs of Staff, said the military leaders meeting for three days in Sydney are focused on “the whole situation with the rise of China, a free and open Pacific” and ensuring a peaceful and stable Indo-Pacific region.

“It’s a big conference to coordinate our mutual security interests and discuss national security issues that apply to all of us,” said Milley.

Military leaders from 26 nations are participating in the conference, and most of those are chiefs of defense. China was invited but said it would be unable to attend.

During a press conference Wednesday, Milley said the chiefs of defense discussed how they can cooperate more and make their militaries more interoperable, including with advanced technologies. He added that they also talked about military exercises.

He and Gen. Angus Campbell, Australia’s chief of defense, didn’t go into details. But Milley expanded on comments he made late last week about China’s increasing aggressiveness in the region and the need for nations to ensure that the Pacific remains free and open to all.

Chinese intercepts of allied and partner aircraft in international airspace in the Pacific region have increased “several-fold” over the last five years, Milley said, calling Beijing’s behavior “much more confrontational” than five to 15 years ago.

China’s activity, he said, “seems to imply that they want to bully or dominate, as opposed to having a free and open” Pacific.

Asked whether the U.S. would increase its military presence in Australia or in other partner nations, Milley and Campbell said the discussions are ongoing and no decisions have been made. There are about 2,200 U.S. Marines in Darwin.

En route to the conference, Milley told reporters traveling that the Chinese military has become significantly more aggressive and dangerous in recent years.

U.S. President Joe Biden plans to speak to Chinese President Xi Jinping on Thursday, according to a U.S. official who declined to be identified ahead of the public announcement.

The U.S. is also grappling with reports that House Speaker Nancy Pelosi is considering a trip to Taiwan — roiling China and setting off waves of worry in the Biden administration.

Asked about the potential Pelosi trip, Milley would only say that discussion of any specific travel is premature. But, he added, “if there’s a decision made that Speaker Pelosi or anyone else is going to travel and they asked for military support, we will do what is necessary to ensure a safe conduct of their visit. And I’ll just leave it at that.”

The conference also coincides with the massive Rim of the Pacific naval exercise going on near Hawaii. RIMPAC is the world’s largest maritime exercise and is hosted by the U.S.

Copyright © The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

AP

A currency trader passes by screens showing the Korea Composite Stock Price Index (KOSPI), left, an...
Associated Press

Asian shares mixed after new signs of cooling inflation

BANGKOK (AP) — Shares were mixed Friday in Asia after a muddled day on Wall Street, where benchmarks meandered following another encouraging report about inflation. Tokyo’s Nikkei 225 surged 2.6%, catching up on gains after being closed Thursday for a holiday. Hong Kong and Seoul also advanced, while Shanghai and Sydney declined. U.S. futures edged […]
1 day ago
Associated Press

Rangers host the Mariners to start 3-game series

Seattle Mariners (61-52, second in the AL West) vs. Texas Rangers (49-62, third in the AL West) Arlington, Texas; Friday, 8:05 p.m. EDT PITCHING PROBABLES: Mariners: George Kirby (3-3, 3.40 ERA, 1.17 WHIP, 81 strikeouts); Rangers: Josh Sborz (0-0, 5.87 ERA, 1.57 WHIP, 21 strikeouts) BOTTOM LINE: The Texas Rangers begin a three-game series at […]
1 day ago
Arefeh 40-year-old, an Afghan woman leaves an underground school, in Kabul, Afghanistan, Saturday, ...
Associated Press

Timeline of events in Afghanistan since Taliban takeover

The Taliban’s capture of Kabul on Aug. 15, 2021 brought the hardline movement back into power in Afghanistan nearly 20 years after they were toppled by the U.S. invasion following the 9/11 attacks. The year since has been disastrous for the country. After the world cut off funding, Afghanistan’s already ramshackle economy collapsed almost overnight, […]
1 day ago
Halyna Borysenko waits to milk cows at the KramAgroSvit dairy farm in Dmytrivka, Donetsk region, ea...
Associated Press

Dairy farm in Ukraine’s Donbas region struggles to survive

DMYTRIVKA, Ukraine (AP) — One of the last working dairy farms on Ukrainian-controlled territory in the eastern Donbas region is doing everything it can to stay afloat in a place where neither workers nor animals are safe from Russia’s devastating war. Only around 200 head of cattle remain of the nearly 1,300 kept at the […]
1 day ago
Sara, a 14-year-old, an Afghan girl, sits on a grave and reads a book as she waits for customers to...
Associated Press

Afghan girls face uncertain future after 1 year of no school

KABUL, Afghanistan (AP) — For most teenage girls in Afghanistan, it’s been a year since they set foot in a classroom. With no sign the ruling Taliban will allow them back to school, some are trying to find ways to keep education from stalling for a generation of young women. At a house in Kabul, […]
1 day ago
FILE - A dead fish skeleton laying on the cracking earth of a dry lake bed near the village of Cono...
Associated Press

European drought dries up rivers, kills fish, shrivels crops

LUX, France (AP) — Once, a river ran through it. Now, white dust and thousands of dead fish cover the wide trench that winds amid rows of trees in France’s Burgundy region in what was the Tille River in the village of Lux. From dry and cracked reservoirs in Spain to falling water levels on […]
1 day ago

Sponsored Articles

Work at Zum Services...

Seattle Public Schools announces three-year contract with Zum

Seattle Public Schools just announced a three-year contract with a brand-new company to the Pacific Northwest to assist with their student transportation: Zum.
Swedish Cyberknife 900x506...

June is Men’s Health Month: Here’s Why It’s Important To Speak About Your Health

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, men in the United States, on average, die five years earlier than women.
...

Anacortes – A Must Visit Summertime Destination

While Anacortes is certainly on the way to the San Juan Islands (SJI), it is not just a destination to get to the ferry… Anacortes is a destination in and of itself!
...

Ready for your 2022 Alaskan Adventure with Celebrity Cruises?

Celebrity Cruises SPONSORED — A round-trip Alaska cruise from Seattle is an amazing treat for you and a loved one. Not only are you able to see and explore some of the most incredible and visually appealing natural sights on the planet, but you’re also able to relax and re-energize while aboard a luxury cruise […]
...

Compassion International Is Determined to ‘Fill’ a Unique Type of Football ‘Stadium’

Compassion International SPONSORED — During this fall’s football season—and as the pandemic continues to impact the entire globe—one organization has been urging caring individuals to help it “fill” a unique type of “stadium” in order to make a lasting difference in the lives of many. Compassion International’s distinctive Fill the Stadium (FtS, fillthestadium.com) initiative provides […]
...

What are the Strongest, Greenest, Best Windows?

Lake Washington Windows & Doors SPONSORED — Fiberglass windows are an excellent choice for window replacement due to their fundamental strength and durability. There is no other type of window that lasts as long as fiberglass; so why go with anything else? Fiberglass windows are 8x stronger than vinyl, lower maintenance than wood, more thermally […]
Pacific defense chiefs meet against backdrop of rising China