An official website of the United States government

Official websites use .gov

A .gov website belongs to an official government organization in the United States.

Secure .gov websites use HTTPS

A lock ( ) or https:// means you’ve safely connected to the .gov website. Share sensitive information only on official, secure websites.
China 70 Years

China’s Military Aggression in the Indo-Pacific Region 

Share this page on:

Addressing China’s Military Aggression in the Indo-Pacific Region

Across much of the Indo-Pacific region, the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) is using military and economic coercion to bully its neighbors, advance unlawful maritime claims, threaten maritime shipping lanes, and destabilize territory along the periphery of the People’s Republic of China (PRC).  This predatory conduct increases the risk of miscalculation and conflict. The United States stands with its Southeast Asian allies and partners to champion a free and open Indo-Pacific.

watch

VIDEO | China’s Military Recklessness | December 3, 2020

 


 

 

Establishing Overseas Military Bases

As the PRC’s overseas economic and security interests expand under its One Belt One Road initiative (BRI or OBOR), it seeks to expand its overseas military footprint to protect those interests.  Specifically, the PRC seeks to establish global logistics and basing infrastructure to allow the People’s Liberation Army (PLA) to project and sustain military power at greater distances.  It abuses commercial arrangements at host country ports to support military functions and hides the true purpose of its installations overseas.  For example, PRC officials stated for many years that China would never seek overseas bases—up until they officially opened a base in Djibouti in 2017.  The PRC refers to its base in Djibouti as a logistics facility, even though PLA Navy Marines are stationed there equipped with armored vehicles and artillery.

By providing PRC entities with access to and control of ports and other facilities, countries may find they are inadvertently supporting the PRC’s military expansion and thus also Beijing’s revisionist geopolitical goals.  For example, media reports detail secret military agreements between China and Cambodia.  A Chinese military presence in Cambodia could threaten both regional stability and the position of ASEAN.  Further, it could undermine the prospects for the peaceful settlement of disputes, the promotion of maritime safety and security, and the freedom of navigation and overflight.

To date, the impact of PRC militarization is most acutely felt in the South China Sea, where the PRC built several bases despite President Xi’s unambiguous promise in 2015 to not militarize the Spratly Islands.  Beijing now uses those locations to expand its intimidation and coercion of many Southeast Asian coastal states and undermine their efforts to exercise their sovereign rights under international law.

 


 

 

Stealing Resources in the South China Sea

Beijing’s claims to offshore resources across much of the South China Sea are widely denounced as unlawful.  Beijing uses intimidation to undermine the sovereign rights of Southeast Asian coastal states in the South China Sea, bully them out of offshore resources, threaten them out of shipping lanes, assert unilateral dominion, and deprive fishermen of access to their livelihoods.  Beijing seeks to replace international law with “might makes right.”  The PRC has no legal grounds to unilaterally impose its will on the region.  Beijing has offered no coherent legal basis for its “Nine-Dashed Line” claim in the South China Sea, since formally announcing it in 2009.  In a unanimous decision on July 12, 2016, an Arbitral Tribunal constituted under the 1982 Law of the Sea Convention—to which the PRC is a State Party—rejected much of the PRC’s South China Sea maritime claims as having no basis in international law.

Beijing should not be allowed to treat the South China Sea as its maritime empire.  The United States stands with its Southeast Asian allies and partners in protecting their sovereign rights to offshore resources, consistent with their rights and obligations under international law.  Further, the United States stands with the international community in defense of freedom of the seas—rejecting any efforts to impose “might makes right” in the South China Sea or the wider region.

watch

VIDEO | South China Sea is not China’s Maritime Empire | july 20, 2020

read more

Press Statement

U.S. Imposes Restrictions on Certain PRC State-Owned Enterprises and Executives for Malign Activities in the South China Sea

michael r. pompeo | august 26, 2020

 

remarks

The South China Sea, Southeast Asia’s Patrimony, and Everybody’s Own Backyard

david r. stilwell | july 14, 2020

 

Press Statement

U.S. Position on Maritime Claims in the South China Sea

michael r. pompeo | july 13, 2020

 

 


 

 

Challenging Neighbors in the East China Sea

In the East China Sea, the PRC strategically deploys its coast guard, military, and control of the world’s largest commercial fishing fleet to intimidate and challenge its neighbors.  For example, for more than a decade, the PRC has operated ships and planes near the Senkaku Islands—a group of uninhabited islands that reverted to Japan’s administration in 1971 under the Okinawa Reversion Agreement.  In 2016, hundreds of PRC fishing vessels swarmed the waters of the Senkakus in a move calculated by the CCP to undermine Japan’s administration.

The United States strongly opposes such attempts to alter the status quo in the East China Sea and has long been clear that the U.S.-Japan Security Treaty applies to the Senkaku Islands by virtue of Japan’s administration of the islands.  Decisions like the PRC’s 2013 declaration of an “East China Sea Air Defense Identification Zone” are equally brazen attempts to change the status quo in the East China Sea and make clear the PRC has no interest in playing a positive role in the region.

Together with partners, including Japan, South Korea, and Taiwan, the United States champions a vision of a free and open Indo-Pacific where all parties prosper in peace and no hegemonic power asserts national control over the high seas and international airspace.  As in the South China Sea, this approach builds on America’s long record in the Pacific of preserving peace, upholding freedom of the seas in line with international law, maintaining the unimpeded flow of lawful commerce, and supporting peaceful settlement of disputes.  These important and abiding interests are shared with numerous U.S. allies and partners.

read more

remarks

The South China Sea, Southeast Asia’s Patrimony, and Everybody’s Own Backyard

David r. stilwell | july 14, 2020

 

media note

Joint Statement of the Security Consultative Committee

office of the spokesperson | april 19, 2019

 

 


 

 

Intimidating Taiwan

The PRC continues to use its growing military might to control key waterways in the South China Sea and intimidate the freedom-loving people of Taiwan.  Contrary to its commitment to pursue a peaceful solution, the PRC has increasingly turned to military intimidation in an attempt to coerce Taiwan into submitting to Beijing.  This includes an unprecedented number of air incursions, threatening propaganda, and exercises simulating attacks on Taiwan.  These activities threaten regional peace and stability.

In response, the United States insists on the peaceful resolution of cross-Strait differences.  Consistent with the three U.S.-PRC Joint Communiques, the Taiwan Relations Act, and the Six Assurances, the United States will continue to support Taiwan’s investment in its self-defense capabilities and work with Taiwan to preserve peace and stability in the Indo-Pacific.

read more

remarks

The U.S., Taiwan, and the World: Partners for Peace and Prosperity

David r. stilwell | august 31, 2020

 

 


 

 

Provoking Tensions Along the India-PRC Border

Since May 2020, PRC and Indian troops have clashed at several locations along the Sino-Indian border.  The PRC instigated this crisis by seizing disputed territory on the Indian border.  Therefore, the onus for resolving the crisis is on the PRC to de-escalate tensions by withdrawing its military forces to pre-May positions.

Despite commitments by the Foreign Ministers of both India and China to de-escalate—and repeated Indian efforts to resolve the situation through dialogue—the PRC perpetuates the crisis by refusing to withdraw its military forces to the positions they occupied in April.  As the Trump Administration has made clear, the CCP is breaking its commitments to be a force for peace in the world and is challenging the vital interests of America and its allies and partners.  Further, the United States supports diplomatic efforts to reach a peaceful resolution, repeatedly offering to mediate between the two countries.

read more

Article

The People’s Republic of China: Many Neighbors, Many Disputes

share america | august 5, 2020

 

 


 

 

The U.S. Champions a Free and Open Indo-Pacific

To date, the impact of PRC militarization is most acutely felt in the South China Sea, where the PRC built several bases despite President Xi’s unambiguous promise in 2015 to not militarize the Spratly Islands.  Beijing now uses those locations to expand its intimidation and coercion of many Southeast Asian coastal states and undermine their efforts to exercise their sovereign rights under international law.

watch

VIDEO | A free and open indo-pacific | january 30, 2019

With your help, this entire region has emerged — and it is still emerging — as a beautiful constellation of nations, each its own bright star, satellites to none — and each one, a people, a culture, a way of life, and a home.Donald J. Trump
President of the United States

Learn More

U.S. Department of State

The Lessons of 1989: Freedom and Our Future