Donald Trump’s former national security adviser accused Beijing on Sunday of organizing the “biggest land grab in history” with its territorial invasion in the South China Sea.
Beijing has laid claim to the vast majority of the waters there, and China’s aggressive buildup of military presence and increased exercises in the region has served to alarm and anger US allies there, as well as US officials at home.
Retired Lt. Gen. HR McMaster issued a stark warning about an increasingly “aggressive” China after troublesome glitches led to his appearance on CBS News’ Face The Nation being 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 organizing diplomatic boycotts of the games over rights abuses. humans by the government.
During his Sunday interview, the general, who served in the Trump White House from 2017 to 2018, reiterated that China is trying to expand its claim to the South China Sea and was ‘weaponizing’ islands in the area to do so.
“Now they’re painting some of their warships in Coast Guard colors so they can reclaim, 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 that they were amassing territory in the South China Sea at an alarming rate.
“And then of course Taiwan is probably the most dangerous hotspot, and we’ve also seen how aggressive they’ve been there.”
The South China Sea and Taiwan self-government 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 Olympics protests
“I think it’s really important that the free world come together to build our trust again and communicate to these totalitarian regimes that they cannot achieve their goals at our expense,” McMaster said.
Earlier, you listed the ways in which the Chinese government under Xi Jinping methodically cracked down on personal freedoms.
‘China is already increasingly aggressive in terms of internally expanding and reinforcing its exclusive grip on power. You’ve seen how they’ve gone through sectors of the economy, continuing the genocidal campaign in Xinjiang, extinguishing human freedom in Hong Kong, going after journalists,” McMaster said.
He referenced reports in recent days that the Chinese government was cracking down on activists accused of trying to organize demonstrations in Beijing, as human rights groups are concerned Xi is using the Olympics as a propaganda vehicle. .
“Anyone who might criticize the Chinese government during the Olympics has been intimidated or jailed,” McMaster said.
His initial appearance on the newscast lasted less than a minute amid technical difficulties. A beaming McMaster appeared to laugh when CBS anchor Margaret Brennan asked him about former Vice President Mike Pence, before Brennan abruptly cut to the commercial.
Meanwhile, late last month, Taiwan reported the biggest incursion since October by China’s air force into its air defense zone, with the island’s defense ministry saying Taiwanese fighters were quick to warn 39 aircraft in the latest rise in tensions.
Under current international law, Vietnam, Malaysia, Brunei, the Philippines, Indonesia, China, and Taiwan all claim a portion of the South China Sea.
A report released by the US State Department earlier this year found that China “illegally claims sovereignty or some form of exclusive jurisdiction over most of the South China Sea.”
China has stoked tensions in the South China Sea in recent years by expanding its claimed territory, to the objection of its neighbors in the Asia-Pacific.
“For this reason, the United States and many other states have rejected these claims in favor of a rules-based international maritime order within the South China Sea and around the world,” the report states.
But within its land borders, more than a million Uyghurs have been accused of “ideological viruses” and “terrorist thoughts” by the Chinese government since 2017, with many sent to concentration camps where they are tortured and laundered. brain, according to Geoffrey Cain. in his book ‘The Perfect Police State’.
China has denied the claims, saying the camps are necessary to combat extremism.
The Biden administration sanctioned China in March of last year for its abuses along with the European Union, the United Kingdom and Canada. China retaliated by restricting European officials and charities from entering and doing business there.
China hit back at the US that same month for its own alleged human rights abuses, including the government’s poor response to the coronavirus pandemic and racism, in a report that began with the words “I can’t breathe.”