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US General Claims China May Do Something ‘Provocative’ Amid Ukraine Crisis

© AP Photo / Andy WongFILE - In this April 14, 2016 file photo, a Chinese national flag flutters against the office buildings in Shanghai, China
FILE - In this April 14, 2016 file photo, a Chinese national flag flutters against the office buildings in Shanghai, China - Sputnik International, 1920, 16.02.2022
Beijing on Wednesday slammed NATO for calling the Russia-China partnership a threat to the alliance. Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesperson Wang Wenbin also said that the failed Western intelligence assessment about a "Russian invasion" of Ukraine on 15 February marked a failure of “Western propaganda” and its “information terrorism”.
General Kenneth S. Wilsbach, the commander of US Pacific Air Forces, said on Wednesday that he is concerned about the possibility of China taking a “provocative” step closer to home in the Asia-Pacific as the crisis in Ukraine lingers on.

"From the standpoint of will China see what's happening in Europe and maybe try to do something here in the Indo-Pacific? Absolutely yes", said Wilsbach, a four-star US general, while interacting with reporters on the sidelines of the Singapore Air Show.

The biennial event is Asia’s largest air show and brings together military leaders, government officials, and defence firms from different countries.
General Wilsbach said that he was chary about Beijing’s support for Moscow in the ongoing crisis in Ukraine, further stating that China was “laying groundwork” for doing something similar in order to advance its regional interests.

"I would suggest that we all watch China very closely for what opportunities they try to glean from the crisis in Europe," remarked Wilsbach, whose command is based in Hawaii.

While Wilsbach reckoned during his interaction with journalists that Beijing could use the crisis as an “opportunity for a gain”, he refused to delve into the specific nature of the alleged threat.
He said that the potential threat from Beijing has been factored in the US strategy for the region.
The US military leader also claimed that air force officials from other countries had expressed similar concerns vis-à-vis Beijing during his interactions with them over the last few days.
He said that China wasn’t in favour of a “free and open Indo-Pacific region”, but one where it wanted other regional governments to comply with its terms of engagement.
To underscore his point, the American general accused Beijing of “taking territory that does not belong" to it in India and the South China Sea.
The remarks by the American general come hours after US President Joe Biden refused to buy into the Russian Defence Ministry’s claims that it had drawn down its troop presence near the Ukrainian border.
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Biden claimed at the White House that Russian troops remained in a “threatening position”, although he backed President Vladimir Putin about a diplomatic solution to deescalate the crisis.
Biden has insisted that around 150,000 Russian troops are present at the Ukrainian border, with Washington and the North Atlantic Treaty Organisation (NATO) regularly claiming that Moscow could invade Ukraine.
Meanwhile, Moscow has strongly denied the allegations and remained firm on the security guarantees, which would stipulate NATO refusing to admit Ukraine, among others, as a member, that it proposed to the US-led allies in order to ease the tensions.
At his meeting with Germany’s Chancellor Olaf Scholz in the Kremlin on Tuesday, Putin told him that he was still relying on diplomacy to have these security guarantees met.
Amid the ongoing crisis, Putin also met his Chinese counterpart Xi Jinping in Beijing during the Russian leader’s trip to attend the opening ceremony of the Beijing Winter Olympics earlier this month. In a joint statement at the end of the meeting, both sides opposed further enlargement of NATO.
At the same time, Russia also reaffirmed its support for the One China Principle and stated that Taiwan remained an “inalienable” part of China.
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