U.S. Defense Secretary Mark Esper will call in a speech on Friday for a greater European focus on tackling what he called growing security and economic threats from China and Russia.
Last year, the U.S. military put countering China and Russia at the center of a new national defense strategy, the latest sign of shifting priorities after more than a decade and a half of focusing on the fight against Islamist militants.
“It is increasingly clear that Russia and China want to disrupt the international order by gaining a veto over other nations’ economic, diplomatic, and security decisions,” Esper said in prepared remarks he will deliver at the Royal United Services Institute think tank.
“The United States is facing this challenge head-on, but if we are to preserve the world all of us have created together through decades of shared sacrifice, we must all rise to the occasion,” Esper said, adding that both countries were increasing capabilities in the space and cyber realms.
There are a growing number of flashpoints in the U.S.-Chinese relationship, which include an escalating trade war, American sanctions on China’s military, and the U.S. relationship with Taiwan, which Beijing considers a renegade province.