China's President Xi Jinping (L) and US President Donald Trump
China's President Xi Jinping (L) and US President Donald Trump

An article in the New York Times suggests that though China is provoking India and Taiwan, the message is indeed for the US. China is possibly taking advantage of the distractions caused by the coronavirus pandemic.

So, even as the world grapples with the pandemic, China’s military has transgressed into its neighbours’ territories on multiple fronts. The military assertiveness reflects Beijing’s growing sense of confidence and capability, but also one of confrontation, particularly with the United States over the pandemic, the fate of Hong Kong and other issues that China considers central to its sovereignty and national pride.

It is pointed out that in the same week that Chinese and Indian soldiers engaged in a deadly fracas, one of China’s submarines cruised through the waters near Japan, prompting a scramble of aircraft and ships to track its clandestine movements. Chinese fighter jets and at least one bomber enters Taiwan’s territorial airspace almost daily.

China claims all of its recent operations are defensive, but each increases the risk of a military clash, whether intended or not. That appears to be what happened on the night of June 15, when Chinese and Indian soldiers fought along their disputed border in the Himalayas.

Of course, it is not as if the US is helpless and watching the proceedings from the sidelines. On the contrary, none other than Secretary of State Mike Pompeo has said that the US is reviewing its global deployment of forces to ensure that it is "postured appropriately" to counter the growing Chinese military threat to countries like India, Malaysia, Indonesia and the Philippines.

The force posture review is being done at the direction of President Donald Trump, as part of which the US is reducing the number of its troops in Germany from about 52,000 to 25,000, he said.

20 CHINESE COS CONTROLLED BY CHINESE MILITARY IDENTIFIED: Incidentally, the US has identified and listed 20 Chinese companies, including Huawei Technologies, which are controlled by the military regime in Beijing.The listed companies are now prone to potential sanctions as part of the Donald Trump administration's efforts to prevent China from securing US investment and access to certain technologies.Media reports said that the Pentagon has issued a list of "Communist Chinese military companies operating in the US" and it includes "entities owned by, controlled by, or affiliated with China's government, military, or defence industry."Quoting Pentagon spokesman Jonathan Hoffman, reports said, "As the People's Republic of China attempts to blur the lines between civil and military sectors, 'knowing your supplier' is critical. We envision this list will be a useful tool for the US government, companies, investors, academic institutions, and like-minded partners to conduct due diligence with regard to partnerships with these entities, particularly as the list grows."

FBI PROBES: Describing China as the greatest threat to the US economy, the Federal Bureau of Investigation has, meanwhile, said it is conducting more than 2,000 active investigations connected to the Chinese Communist Party.

FBI Director Christopher Wray has called China the greatest threat to the US economy and its democratic principles.

"There's no country that presents a broader, more comprehensive threat to America's innovation, to our economic security, and to our democratic ideas than China does," Wray said in an interview that aired Wednesday.

China bid to control ridge line

In eastern Ladakh, an overwhelming presence on the ground does not give one the tactical advantage. It is a matter of who controls the ridges. More incriminating data has surfaced which suggests that the Chinese Army could be occupying the crucial ridgelines on top of Finger Four, ‘overlooking the forward Indian positions.’ Noticeable on the ridge are fortified dugouts which could be hiding puff tents used by the PLA, reports India Today’s news portal. These dugouts around the camps could be used as defence structures during the shelling, the magazine points out. Satellite data available with the news portal further suggests that about 10 km of the area covering Finger Four to Finger Six is heavily militarized. This build-up is visibly more intensive compared to that in the Galwan valley.

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