China’s Defense Ministry said Thursday that provisions included in the Pentagon’s annual military spending bill that President Biden recently signed into law “unreasonably exaggerates” the “so-called China threat.”
The 2024 National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) includes amendments to expand the US military presence in the Asia Pacific and provide more military support to Taiwan.
Chinese Defense Ministry spokesman Wu Qian told reporters that the NDAA “grossly interferes in China’s internal affairs, and seriously damages China’s sovereignty, security, and development interests. The Chinese military is strongly dissatisfied with and firmly opposed to this.”
Wu criticized the US alliance building in the Asia Pacific that’s being done explicitly to prepare for a future war with China in the region. The NDAA includes an amendment to sell nuclear-powered submarines to Australia, which is part of the AUKUS military pact that the US, Australia, and Britain formed in 2021.
Wu had strong words for the US assistance to Taiwan, as it’s the most sensitive issue between the US and China. “The Taiwan issue is purely China’s internal affair and does not tolerate any external interference,” he said, adding that the US must stop its “provocative behavior of ‘using Taiwan to contain China.'”
The US severed diplomatic relations with Taiwan in 1979 as part of its normalization deal with China but has continued to sell weapons to the island. In 2023, the US began financing military aid to Taiwan for the first time, a step that enraged Beijing. The 2024 NDAA continues military aid for Taiwan and contains other forms of assistance, including a requirement for the secretary of defense to create a comprehensive training program for the Taiwanese military.
Wu also commented on reports that the US was reclaiming a World War II-era airfield in Tinian, an island that’s a US Pacific territory about 118 miles north of Guam. The airfield on Tinian was used as the launching point for the atomic bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki.
“The United States has strengthened its forward military deployment in the Asia-Pacific region and increased regional tensions. Countries in the region should remain highly vigilant,” Wu said when asked about the US reclaiming the island airfield.
The US military needs to clear the jungle that’s taken over the Tinian airfield since it’s been abandoned. According to Stars & Stripes, the NDAA includes tens of millions of dollars in funding for the island, which is one of several World War II-era airfields the US is restoring across the western Pacific.