President Joe Biden laid out his case for an economic competition, but not a military conflict, with China in his first address to Congress, promising he would build a NATO-like alliance in the Indo-Pacific “to prevent conflict” with the Asian powerhouse.
Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin, one of the few Cabinet members in attendance amid the COVID-19 pandemic, had been calling China the U.S. military’s “pacing challenge” for months and will make his second visit to the region this week for the change-of-command ceremony at U.S. Indo-Pacific Command in Hawaii. Meanwhile, the United States has rapidly ramped up assistance to and cooperation with India and encouraged Pacific alliance partners Australia, Japan, and South Korea to do more. On Wednesday, Biden explained to the public what deterrence in the Indo-Pacific would look like.
“In my discussion with President Xi, I told him that we welcome the competition — we’re not looking for conflict,” Biden said of Chinese President Xi