Top Pentagon officials acknowledged that North Korea and China have been more aggressive in recent years than ever before, but they declined to claim it was due to the Biden administration’s tenure at the House Armed Services Committee hearing held on Thursday.
The Pacific Command Commander Navy Adm. John Aquilino agreed that there is an “increased aggression.”
Banks cited Jake Sullivan, National Security Adviser,’s August 2019 assertion that Trump’s policies had made it more likely that the U.S. would be “dragged into a conflict with China”.
Ratner was asked by Banks if Ratner could say the same 14 months after the Biden administration began. Both agreed that China’s aggression has only increased since then.
“Dr. Ratner, what, what’s changed? What has changed between the summer 2019 and today? What’s the key difference in foreign policy that has led to increased aggression as Admiral described it and China’s position toward Taiwan? What’s different? Banks asked, “Why now?”
Ratner stated, “I don’t think Xi Jinping’s growing aggression and assertiveness can be attributed to the United States.”
The banks demanded more information: “OK, what’s the change?” What’s changed?”
Ratner stated that he would be happy for him to share his assessment in classified settings, but added that “His abilities are growing.” His patience seems to be declining.”
Aquilino jumped in and blamed Xi, not Biden’s administration. He said, “This is about the People’s Republic of China’s actions, not any other, right?”
According to reports, Xi thought about trying to invade Taiwan in the Fall. This was based on a document that was purportedly written March 9th by a Russian intelligence analyst working for Russia’s Federal Security Service.
Banks also noticed that North Korea had resumed missile testing four years after a pause. They asked Aquilino to give their opinion.
The admiral pointed again at North Korean leader Kim Jong-un and not the U.S.