Declaring China as the United States’ “most consequential strategic competitor” in the Indo-Pacific region, the Pentagon warned the communist regime of the consequences should it launch any aggression on Guam.
“Within the context of homeland defense, an attack on Guam or any other U.S. territory by any adversary will be considered a direct attack on the United States and will be met with an appropriate response,” the Department of Defence stated in the National Defence Strategy released last week.
“Guam is home to the regional power projection platforms and logistics nodes and is an essential operating base for U.S. efforts to maintain a free and open Indo-Pacific region,” states the document that includes nuclear posture and missile defense reviews.
While also naming North Korea and Russia as serious threats to national security, the Pentagon’s document declared China as a “pacing challenge” for the Department of Defence.
The department said China “is the only country with both the intent to reshape the international order and, increasingly, the economic, military and technological power to do so.”
Guam, the frontline of U.S. military power in the region, is in China’s crosshairs. The People’s Liberation Army has named its first conventionally-armed ballistic missile “Guam Express” or “Guam Killer.”
Identifying Guam’s defence as a priority, the Indo-Pacific Command is seeking to accelerate the construction of a US$1 billion integrated missile defence architecture on island.
“Guam’s defence, which will include various active and passive missile defence capabilities, will contribute to the overall integrity of integrated deterrence and bolster U.S. operational strategy in the Indo-Pacific region,” the report said.
“The architecture for the defense of the territory against missile threat attacks will therefore be commensurate with its unique status as both unequivocal part of the U.S. as well as vital regional location.”
The report said PLA “seeks to target the ability of the Joint Force to project power to defend vital U.S. interests and aid our allies in crisis or conflict.”
It also noted that China is accelerating the modernisation and expansion of its nuclear capabilities.
“In addition to expanding its conventional forces, the PLA is rapidly advancing its space, counterspace, cyber, electronic and informational warfare capabilities to support its holistic approach to joint warfare,” the department said.
“America has never been afraid of competition and we do not shy away from tough challenges, especially when it comes to securing our national interests and defending our national values,” the report said.
The defense department said “integrated deterrence” is a “holistic response” that it needs to meet the challenges.
“In these times, business as usual at the department is not acceptable,” the defence strategy said.
The defence department said its new strategy is focused “around our pacing challenge, even as we manage the other threats of our swiftly changing world.”
Coinciding with the defense strategy’s release, North Korea fired two short-range ballistic missiles off its east coast.
“The Joint Chiefs of Staff said it detected the launches from the Tongchon area in Kangwon Province,” South Korea’s Yonhap News Agency reported on Friday. “There was no immediate threat assessed for the Marianas from the reported launch,” said Homeland Security Advisor, Samantha Brennan. “GHS/OCD will maintain open lines of communication with our local, military, and federal partners and monitor the events surrounding our region, said Brennan.