Describing China as a pacing challenge, US defence secretary Llyod Austin said Beijing’s “aggressive behaviour” in the Indo-Pacific could spark a crisis in the region.
Responding to questions from members of the Senate Armed Services Committee during a Congressional hearing on the annual budget of the Pentagon, he stressed on having a direct line of communication between the militaries and also between government officials.
“As we look at some of the aggressive behaviour that we have witnessed from China in the Indo-Pacific, I’m concerned about something that could happen that could spark a crisis,” Austin said on Thursday.
“We need the ability to be able to talk with our allies and partners and also with our adversaries or potential adversaries. So, I think there needs to be a direct line of communication between the military and also between government officials as well,” the defence secretary said.
Austin described the US’ relationship with China currently as one of competition.