Commander of the United States Indo-Pacific Command (INDOPACOM), John Aquilino, stated on Friday that China has achieved “the largest military buildup in history since World War II” while speaking with the Foundation for Defense of Democracies, emphasizing what he says is a “continuous threat” of missile strikes against the island of Guam in the event of a conflict with the US.
Speaking on China and Russia’s recent announcements on further political, economic, and military ties, Aquilino said that “The most concerning aspect of [Russia’s war in Ukraine] is that the People’s Republic of China has declared a no-limits policy in support of Russia and what that means to both the Indo-Pacific and the globe.”
“If those two nations were to truly demonstrate and deliver a no-limits policy, I think what that means is we’re currently in an extremely dangerous time and place in the history of humanity, if that were to come true.”
On February 5, Russian President Vladimir Putin and Chinese President Xi Jinping met in Beijing to announce a strategic partnership between the two nations that has “no ‘forbidden’ areas of cooperation” while also jointly calling for an end to NATO expansion and opposition to the AUKUS alliance between Australia, the UK and the United States. Putin also voiced support for China and its stance on Taiwan and declared opposition to any independence movements from the Taiwanese government.
Back in May, Aquilino wrote in a testimony for the House Appropriations Committee that “The PRC seeks to become a global military power and acquire the ability to seize Taiwan, while developing conventional weapons that can reach the U.S. Homeland. The PRC also seeks to establish a network of overseas military installations that would extend its reach, allowing support for an increasingly global People’s Liberation Army (PLA) capable of power projection far beyond the Indo-Pacific.”
He added that the Chinese military’s recent directives involve a “comprehensive modernization program across land, sea, air, space, cyber, and information domains. PLA modernization emphasizes systems that expand the PLA’s anti- access/area denial (A2/AD) strategy across the region to enhance the country’s force projection and strategic deterrence capabilities.” Overall, he warned that “The PRC’s pressure campaign against Taiwan, deliberate undermining of autonomy in Hong Kong, activities along the Sino-Indian Line of Actual Control, and excessive maritime claims are creating instability and increasing the risk of unintended incidents.”