As tensions between the world’s two major economic powers continue to rise, a Chinese Air Force commander on Wednesday challenged the US military’s goal of “scare China,” telling reporters that the US can meet the People’s Liberation Army “in the sky.”
“The Chinese navy is capable and confident to ensure national security and defend integrity, as well as make a contribution to world peace,” Wang Wei said during the Zhuhai Airshow where China displayed its premier stealth fighter jet outfitted with a home-grown engine.
He also described US Air Force Secretary Frank Kendall as “a counterpart of mine from a major country.”
Kendall, who was sworn in as the Air Force’s top civilian in mid-August, told a news outlet at the time that the Air Force’s fiscal 2023 budget should be devoted to developing the kinds of cutting-edge technologies that “scare China.”
“The Air Force has been overly constrained,” Kendall told Defense News. “I think we’ve not been allowed to do things we really need to do to free up resources for things that are higher priority. We’ve had a very hard time getting the Congress to allow us to retire older aircraft.”
“I’ve been obsessed, if you will, with China for quite a long time now — and its military modernization, what that implies for the U.S. and for security,” he added.
“They’re moving faster than I might have anticipated. So, we have a lot of work to do.”
China-US relations have reached a new low due to a trade war, technology and human rights, the origins of the coronavirus pandemic, and Beijing’s territorial claims, though President Joe Biden and Chinese counterpart Xi Jinping spoke earlier this month for the first time in seven months in an attempt to mend fences.
According to an administration insider, Biden’s message in the call was that “we don’t have any situation in the future where we veer into unintended conflict,”
Xi stressed the importance of cooperation and said there were “possibilities” of an “an improvement of China-U.S. relations,” according to a Chinese government statement.