Beijing has laid claim to a vast majority of the waters there, and China’s aggressive buildup in military presence and increased exercises in the region has served to alarm and anger US allies there as well as American officials at home.
Retired Lieutenant General H.R. McMaster made the stark warning about an increasingly ‘aggressive’ China after troublesome technical issues led to his appearance on CBS News’ Face The Nation to be delayed by nearly half an hour.
Meanwhile, the 2022 Winter Olympics are currently underway in China with the US, UK, Australia, Canada, Denmark, Estonia and Lithuania all staging diplomatic boycotts of the games over government’s human rights abuses.
During his Sunday interview the general, who served in Donald Trump’s White House from 2017 to 2018, reiterated that China is trying to expand its claim on the South China Sea and was ‘weaponizing’ islands in the area to do it.
‘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,’ McMaster said.
McMaster, who served as Donald Trump’s National Security Adviser from 2017 to 2018, condemned China’s human rights abuses and warned they were amassing territory in the South China Sea at an alarming rate
‘And then, of course, Taiwan is probably the most dangerous flashpoint, and we’ve seen how aggressive they’ve been there as well.’
The South China Sea and self-governing Taiwan are two of China’s most sensitive territorial issues and both are frequent areas of tension between the United States and China.
Xi Jinping’s government has arrested people accused of planning protests of the Olympics
‘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,’ McMaster said.
Earlier he listed off the ways in which the Chinese government under Xi Jinping methodically cracked down on personal freedoms.
‘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,’ McMaster said.
He referenced reports from recent days that the Chinese government was cracking down on activists accused of trying to stage demonstrations in Beijing as human rights groups are concerned Xi is using the Olympic games as a propaganda vehicle.
‘Anybody who might criticize the Chinese government during the Olympics have been intimidated or imprisoned,’ McMaster said.
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