Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin said Sunday morning that the Indian Ocean Pacific is a region of great opportunity and real challenge.
Speaking at the Reagan National Defense Assembly, Austin claimed:
One of these challenges is the rise of China, which is increasingly assertive and authoritarian. However, America is and always will be a Pacific power.
"The United States needs to be clear about the Chinese challenge and what it needs to do to address it," he was quoted as saying.
Chinese leaders are expanding their capabilities to deploy troops and build a global network of military bases.
The head of the Pentagon continued his accusations against Beijing, adding:
China is rapidly strengthening many of its capabilities, including offensive, air, missile defense and anti-submarine measures. The country is increasingly focused on integrating its information, cyberspace and space operations.
According to the report, Austin - whose country only uses nuclear weapons against another country - also claimed:
China is working to create a nascent triple nuclear system.