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US defence sec warns against dependence on China

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(6 Sep 2019) US Defense Secretary Mark Esper cautioned European allies against cozying up to China, arguing on Friday that Beijing seeks greater global influence by leveraging economic power and stealing technology."The more dependent a country becomes on Chinese investment and trade, the more susceptible they are to coercion and retribution when they act outside of Beijing's wishes," Esper said in a speech at the Royal United Services Institute, a think tank.Esper's assertion that China is seeking to expand its influence at the expense of others has been a common US government refrain for years, including during President Barack Obama's administration. By taking this message to London, Esper seemed to be suggesting that Europeans do not fully share US concerns, which often center on China's efforts to militarize disputed territory in the South China Sea and its vast trade surplus with the USIn a similar vein, Esper blasted Russia for arms control violations and for aggression in Europe, including its annexation of Crimea in 2014 and what he called Moscow's continued aggression in eastern Ukraine.Esper's audience of defence experts and officials was as interested in Middle East issues as in the main topic of his speech. In response to a question about the US approach to Iran, Esper acknowledged differences with some allies but stressed that President Donald Trump is determined to stay on his course of "maximum pressure" through economic sanctions.He said the goal is to compel the Iranians to negotiate an agreement to replace the 2015 nuclear deal, from which Trump withdrew the US last year. Many in Europe consider the US withdrawal a mistake.Esper said a new nuclear deal would have to assure that Iran doesn't pursue or acquire a nuclear weapon and he suggested that such talks may be in the offing.In his prepared remarks, Esper was making the case for the Trump administration's argument that the West must do more to counter what he called efforts by China and Russia to "disrupt the international order" to gain advantage."China's technology theft for military gain is staggering," Esper said.It was the first major policy speech by Esper since becoming defense secretary in July. In tone and substance, the remarks showed Esper subscribes to what has become a common theme in Washington, namely that China is the greatest long-term threat to global security."It is increasingly clear that Russia and China want to disrupt the international order by gaining a veto over other nations' economic, diplomatic and security decisions," Esper said.Esper's speech amounted to a statement of his top strategic priority: to make China and Russia the main focus of US defense planning, shifting from the insurgent wars of recent decades in the Middle East and Afghanistan.Meanwhile, China and Russia have denied the US accusations of malign actions and intentions.Esper also was meeting on Friday with his British counterpart, Ben Wallace, amid a crisis over Prime Minister Boris Johnson's determination to lead Britain out of the European Union on October 31.Find out more about AP Archive: http://www.aparchive.com/HowWeWork Twitter: https://twitter.com/AP_Archive Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/APArchives Google+: https://plus.google.com/b/10201102858... Tumblr: https://aparchives.tumblr.com/​​ Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/APNews/ You can license this story through AP Archive: http://www.aparchive.com/metadata/you...

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AP Archive 4228585 9bb213e94baaf8fea0d439e185f15bea UK US Defence Esper 2 Boris Johnson Barack Obama Donald Trump Mark Esper Russia Eastern Europe China Greater China East Asia United States London England United Kingdom Western Europe Beijing Middle East Iran Government and politics Technology Business
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