China trying to undermine US defence industry: Pentagon
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China trying to undermine US defence industry: Pentagon

Washington, Oct 5: The Pentagon will release a report on Friday, accusing China of seeking to undermine the US military's industrial base.

"A core threat to the American industrial base comes from China," White House Trade Adviser Peter Navarro wrote in a leading English daily.

"The broader goal, as the report makes clear, is to 'diversify away from complete dependency on sources of supply in politically unstable countries who may cut off US access,'" he added.

The major concern is that China controls the vast majority of the world's rare earth materials and critical technologies that are used to produce high-tech defence equipment, which could pose a significant risk to the US industries that are vital to national security, CNN reported.

The US has been importing rare earth materials since 2017, at an estimated value of 150 million dollars, according to the United States Geological Survey.

The Trump administration plans to address supply bottlenecks and potential failure points, using the same strategy employed during the Cold War and World War II, pumping millions of dollars into US companies that produce items critical to the US military, like high-performance aluminum, steel, tungsten and carbon fibers.

The commitments fall in line with President Donald Trump's campaign promise to invest more in domestic manufacturing jobs and rely less on trade with China.

The report comes amid a rapidly deteriorating relationship between the United States and China, fueled in part by the ongoing trade war between the world's two biggest economies.

Beijing and Washington have also sparred recently over the status of Taiwan and China's growing military presence in the South China Sea, where it has militarised and occupied artificial islands, in violation of the international law.

A senior official in the Trump administration said on Thursday that the White House has chosen to embrace a much more assertive public approach in dealing with China.

The strategy was evident on Thursday, when US Vice President Mike Pence accused China of using trade and its military to undermine the US political system and exploit American businesses.

"As we speak, Beijing is employing a whole-of-government approach, using political, economic, and military tools, as well as propaganda, to advance its influence and benefit its interests," Mr Pence said in his speech to the Hudson Institute.

China's Foreign Ministry denied any wrongdoing and called the allegations "nothing, but speaking on hearsay evidence, confusing right and wrong and creating something out of thin air." (UNI)