tirsdag 10. november 2020

China-US tension: Beijing worries that Esper’s exit raises risk of military action and accidents

The firing of US Defence Secretary Mark Esper has triggered worries in Beijing about the increasing risk of accidental conflict as well as the possibility of more hardline action by the Pentagon against Beijing, according to military analysts. The departure of Esper has long been expected – he had previously contradicted US President Donald Trump. But Beijing remains worried that tensions may spike now because the US official was seen as willing to communicate with Beijing.

The appointment of Christopher Miller as acting defence secretary is also a concern. “Miller has a strong special forces background. He joined the special forces and commanded it and specialises in surprise attacks and adventure operations,” said Beijing-based military expert Zhou Chenming.Zhou said China was concerned about “possible military adventures” because the US had already stepped up its security ties with Taiwan and other claimants of the disputed South China Sea, moves that dismayed Beijing.

Esper was “stable” and could be engaged, Zhou said, adding that Miller’s background in special forces had led to speculation he would be more determined to take drastic action against China.