On Sunday, former national security adviser and retired General H.R. McMaster stated that China was planning for the “biggest land grab in history.”
McMaster appeared on CBS’ “Face the Nation” with host Margaret Brennan, who asked, “What do you think is the impact then, of this growing alliance between Russia and China, and you know, is China going to be emboldened by what happens next in Europe?”
“I think possibly depending on how we respond, and of course, China already is more and more aggressive in terms of extending and tightening its exclusive grip on power internally, you’ve seen how they’ve gone across sectors of the economy, continuing the genocidal campaign in Xinjiang, extinguishing human freedom in Hong Kong, persecuting journalists and anybody who might criticize the Chinese government during the Olympics have been intimidated or imprisoned,” McMaster replied. “And then, of course externally as well, Margaret, and we’ve seen them bludgeon Indian soldiers to death on the Himalayan frontier.”
“You’re weaponizing these islands in the South China Sea,” he stated. “Now they’re painting some of their naval ships Coast Guard colors so they can claim really the biggest land grab in history in the South China Sea. And then, of course, Taiwan is probably the most dangerous flashpoint, and we’ve seen how aggressive they’ve been there as well. So it’s really important, I think, for the free world to come together to strengthen again our confidence and to communicate to these totalitarian regimes that they can’t accomplish their objectives at our expense.”
Australian Defense Minister Peter Dutton told the Sydney Morning Herald that the United States and its allies had previously “acquiesced” to Beijing in the South China Sea, permitting China to build artificial islands and defense bases out of coral reefs. He stated:
I think we’ve lost a considerable period of time where China gave assurances about their activity in the South China Sea. … And the United States and others acquiesced and allowed the militarization now to the point where China has 20 points of presence in the South China Sea, which does not help stability in the region. If we continue on that trajectory, then I think we’ll lose the next decade. And my sense is that we’re better off being honest about that.
Last May, the Foreign Minister of the Philippines, Teddy Locsin Jr., issued a fiery tweet targeting the Chinese Communist government and warning them about their incursions into the South China Sea, snapping on Twitter, “GET THE F*** OUT.” Locsin’s tweet, which came in response to Chinese coast guard vessels harassing some ships from the Philippines, stated:
China, my friend, how politely can I put it? Let me see… O…GET THE F*** OUT. What are you doing to our friendship? You. Not us. We’re trying. You. You’re like an ugly oaf forcing your attentions on a handsome guy who wants to be a friend; not to father a Chinese province.
“With China’s enormous military build-up, there is growing concern that Australia needs to prepare for a war with a major power,” the Sydney Morning Herald wrote. “While the likelihood of an actual war is still remote, Beijing’s actions – which include militarising disputed features of the South China Sea and increasing military pressure on Taiwan – have made the prospect of a conflict more likely, especially with the US intent on remaining a major power in Asia.”