The Chinese military is increasing its aggression against the United States and its allies at a dramatic rate, according to a senior Pentagon official.
The Chinese Communist Party’s (CCP) efforts are part of a wider goal to undermine and replace the international rules-based order, said Ely Ratner, Assistant Secretary of Defense for Indo-Pacific Security Affairs.
To that end, The CCP’s military wing, the People’s Liberation Army (PLA), has drastically increased its attempts to intercept or otherwise interfere with U.S. and allied units in the Indo-Pacific.
“This is a major problem,” Ratner said during a June 8 talk at the Center for a New American Security think tank.
“Over the past 18 months or so, we have seen a steep rise in the number of PLA aerial intercepts in particular but, as well, in the Philippine context and others, more assertive, aggressive, unprofessional, risky, unsafe behavior by the PLA.”
Ratner’s remarks follow two high-profile incidents in recent weeks in which the PLA and U.S. forces came close to a crisis.
In the first incident, a PLA fighter jet cut close across the nose of an American surveillance plane, forcing the U.S. aircraft to fly through a wake of turbulence.
In the second, a PLA warship cut across the path of a U.S. Navy ship transiting the Taiwan Strait, forcing it to sail through the turbulent afterwash.