The United States is now publicly discussing the “containment” of China with its Asia-Pacific vassals. On January 8, the Financial Times reported that the supreme U.S. Marine Corps commander for Japan gave very direct statements regarding Pentagon’s China strategy. Lieutenant General James Bierman thinks there are “numerous parallels” between Ukraine and Taiwan and admits the U.S. is preparing what he dubbed “a counter-China theater” by strengthening coordination with its regional satellite states.
“The U.S. and Japanese armed forces are rapidly integrating their command structure and scaling up combined operations as Washington, D.C., and its Asian allies prepare for a possible conflict with China such as a war over Taiwan, according to the top Marine Corps general in Japan,” the FT report states.
Japan has indeed become more active, as its new government decided to abandon the economy-focused policies Tokyo practiced since WWII ended. The historic shift doesn’t only include (re)militarization but also an increasing rivalry with three regional powers – China, North Korea, and Russia. Apart from a break with its military neutrality, as Tokyo is massively increasing its defense budget, USMC Lieutenant General Bierman confirmed that Japan is exponentially expanding its role in joint military operations with America.
In what can only be described as a complete break with even a semblance of diplomatic etiquette, the U.S. general spoke in a very direct and rough manner, particularly in regard to the ongoing arming of Taiwan, claiming this serves “to prepare” the island similarly to how the Kiev regime has been since 2014. His exact statement was as follows:
“Why have we achieved the level of success we’ve achieved in Ukraine? A big part of that has been because, after Russian aggression in 2014 and 2015, we earnestly got after preparing for future conflict: training for the Ukrainians, pre-positioning of supplies, identification of sites from which we could operate support, sustain operations. We call that setting the theatre. And we are setting the theatre in Japan, in the Philippines, in other locations.”
The interview is scandalous, to say the least, as it can hardly be considered anything else but an attempt to provoke China. This is further reinforced by the U.S. general’s explicit comparison of Taiwan and Ukraine, which is a textbook example of how the political West generates conflicts that then turn into open warfare. Bierman’s position as the commander of the Third Marine Expeditionary Force and USMC Forces Japan makes these statements all the more disturbing and alarming, especially to Beijing, which has been making strides to improve relations with the U.S..
As the general casually admitted the political West spent years preparing the Kiev regime for war with Russia (while feigning “efforts for a peaceful resolution”), his comments about Taiwan are quite revealing and will surely be taken very seriously in China. Even the FT, one of the flagships of Western mainstream media, admits that Bierman’s statements are an “unusually frank” comparison with Ukraine. To make matters worse, he didn’t stop there, but made several more controversial “frank comments.” The FT claims the general’s further statements were as follows:
“When you talk about the complexity, the size of some of the operations they would have to conduct, let’s say [in] an invasion of Taiwan, there will be indications and warnings, and there are specific aspects to that in terms of geography and time, which allow us to posture and be most prepared… You gain a leverage point, a base of operations, which allows you to have a tremendous head start in different operational plans. As we square off with the Chinese adversary, who is going to own the starting pistol and is going to have the ability potentially to initiate hostilities… we can identify decisive key terrain that must be held, secured, defended, leveraged.”
The aforementioned preparations also include the Philippines. Manila reportedly plans to allow U.S. forces to double their prepositioned weapons and logistics in the island country. In addition to five Filipino bases, the Pentagon will gain access to five more, all of which will be part of the “China containment effort.” Bierman also “cautioned” the U.S. regional vassals “not to overestimate the Chinese military,” claiming that “the PLA should not be fearfully seen as being 10 feet tall”.
It’s quite clear the general couldn’t have possibly acted on his own when giving such statements, indicating that the Pentagon refuses to de-escalate the ever-growing tensions in the increasingly contested Asia-Pacific region. If Washington continues with these aggressive Sinophobic policies, Beijing is extremely unlikely to stand idle. China’s aim is a peaceful settlement with Taipei and this isn’t just its official position, but a clearly defined goal. Beijing has consistently been working to achieve this through diplomatic and economic means. For decades, it invested heavily in improving ties with the island, offering unparalleled autonomy.
On the other hand, the U.S. has been “discouraging” Taipei from signing any deals with China. This has prompted Beijing to further invest in its military might. Although China’s primary focus is economic development, it also had to make plans for strategically important contingencies such as further arming of Taiwan, to say nothing of the U.S.-backed independence movement, which has gained traction in recent decades. Although it hasn’t given up on a diplomatic solution, as it’s still investing in a “soft power” approach towards its breakaway island province, China still needs to mitigate the disastrous effects of the significant U.S. regional influence.
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