The Pentagon released a report accusing China of sabotaging the United States’ military industrial base. The report identified instances in which the US Military is highly reliant on foreign countries, particularly China, for crucial supplies. Reuters was first to report on the Pentagon’s findings on Tuesday.
The Pentagon’s study was ordered by President Donald Trump last year, in an executive order, where he requested the Pentagon to identify the military and civilian material that are “essential to national security”.
President Donald Trump also ordered the pentagon to pinpoint the “contingencies that may disrupt, strain, compromise, or eliminate the supply chains of goods.” According to CNN, the study identified 300 vulnerabilities that could have a significant impact on how the United States’ military performs.
Included in the Pentagon’s findings was China’s role as one of the world’s major producers of rare earth materials which are essential for the production of high-tech defense equipment. In 2017, the United States did not take part in the mining of any of these rare earth materials, and instead relied heavily on imports from China who provides 78 percent of the United States’ provisions.
If Beijing were to exploit the United States’ dependency on these critical supplies, it would pose a colossal threat to America’s national security, claimed the South China Morning Post. China could also cut off vital supplies that are essential for the US Military’s effective performance.
Peter Navarro, a White House adviser on trade and manufacturing policy, published an opinion article on the New York Times, highlighting the United states’ military main concerns. “A core threat to the American industrial base comes from China,” Navarro confirmed.
He later quoted the Pentagon’s report, citing, “China represents a significant and growing risk to the supply of materials deemed strategic and critical to US national security, including a growing number of both widely used and specialized metals.”
Peter Navarro was also featured on Fox News, where he promised viewers President Trump was setting in motion a “blueprint for action” that would limit the United states’ dependency on Chinese imports.
A US official spoke to Reuters reporters anonymously and commented the United states will build “stockpiled reserves of scarce materials and expand US manufacturing capabilities.” These measures are meant to prevent a downfall on National Security if China were to limit the United States’ access to crucial materials.
Relations between the United states and China are currently strained, due to a bitter trade war, United States’ accusing China of stealing intellectual property, and China’s growing presence in the South China Sea. The Pentagon’s report may add to the increasing tension between both countries.