As China continues to posture during Congresswoman Nancy Pelosi’s visit to Taiwan, many are looking at Gen. Mark Milley’s previous warnings about China.
According to the Joint Chiefs of Staff Chairman, the US Military has been monitoring China for some time now. However, in just 60 days, multiple provocations happened mainly in the Asia Pacific Region.
We have previously reported in SOFREP that China had been called out for illegally intercepting routine maritime surveillance activity by Australian aircraft. As this issue has not been resolved, Australia and China remain at a diplomatic standstill.
“The message is the Chinese military, in the air and at sea, have become significantly more and noticeably more aggressive in this particular region,” said Milley, who recently asked his staff to compile details about interactions between China and the US and others in the region,” said Gen. Milley.
Milley’s predictions could come true as China had just positioned aggressive naval installations around Taiwan. The question is, will China act on their word, or is this their way of threatening global military powers?
Milley’s Connecting to China
Gen. Milley has been working on finding common ground with China since early this year. Last month, he made a phone call with his Chinese counterpart Li Zoucheng explaining the need for US and China to “responsibly manage the competition.”
According to Pentagon, their call covered discussions around growing tensions around global issues like Taiwan and Russia.
“Gen. Milley discussed the need to responsibly manage competition and maintain open lines of communication,” a spokesperson for Miley said in a statement.
“Gen. Milley underscored the importance of the People’s Liberation Army (PLA) engaging in substantive dialogue on improving crisis communications and reducing strategic risk. The call also included a productive discussion of a number of regional and global security issues.”
During these talks, China’s Defense Ministry is open to promoting cooperation instead of “deliberately creating confrontation and provoking incidents.”
However, with China’s outright skirmish with Russia and the open provocation in Taiwan, some question if they’re really willing to avoid confrontation.
“If anyone provokes arbitrarily, it will inevitably be met with a firm counterstrike by the Chinese people,” Li warned.
And for Gen. Milley, all of China’s acts have been closely crossing the red line.
“This is an area in which China is trying to do outreach for their own purposes. And again, this is concerning because China is not doing it just for benign reasons,” Milley said.
“They’re trying to expand their influence throughout the region. And that has potential consequences that are not necessarily favorable to our allies and partners in the region.”
US Trusts Gen. Milley as the Backbone of Military Affairs
Though Gen. Milley has been outright calling China a “dangerous” global power disrupting peace, the US administration still rely on him. The four-star Army officer with multiple combat tours in his 39 years of service is known for his charming banter and bluntness. He was promoted during former President Donald Trump’s administration and was praised by the former president for his keen eye for things.
“I could see in his eyes when I talk about the cost of those bombs,” the president said. “He’s good at throwing them, but he’s also good at pricing them.”
What makes Gen. Milley a good general is ultimately his experience on the ground. He’s coming in with perspective from “someone who has been under fire multiple times,” as reports note. He used to be a brigade commander in Iraq and made his way up through open sewage in Abu Ghraib and was promoted to Colonel. He was known to have a decisive methodology.
Though Gen. Milley has proven his portfolio in battle, he is also good at finding common ground with different types of people. This is what made him really powerful and influential in his role as the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff.
Gen. Milley continues to be a stable backbone for the military and the administration even after Trump. With President Joe Biden, the general is highly regarded, especially with liaising with China and the complex negotiations that go with it.
“…all calls from the chairman to his counterparts, including those reported, are staffed, coordinated and communicated with the Department of Defense and the interagency,” said Gen. Milley’s spokesperson Col. Dave Butler.
“General Milley continues to act and advise within his authority in the lawful tradition of civilian control of the military and his oath to the Constitution.”
This year, Gen. Milley also requested to review the US-China agreement, and the White House backed his decision. Pentagon Press Secretary John F. Kirby said there was nothing wrong with his request. Additionally, President Biden reaffirms Democrats and Republicans on the general’s capacity to handle negotiations with care, saying he has “great confidence in General Milley.”
“The president has complete confidence in his leadership, his patriotism and his fidelity to our Constitution,” Jen Psaki, the White House press secretary, said during a briefing on Wednesday.