Potential US ambassador to Australia said the U.S. should prepare a war with China
Harry B. Harris, currently the highest commander of U.S. forces in Pacific Asia and has been nominated to be the next US ambassador to Australia, said the U.S. must work to counter Beijing's expanding influence in the region in a public testimony to the congress last week.
"China's intent is crystal clear. We ignore it at our peril," said Harris. According to his personal belief, China would undermine the international rules-based order not only at a regional, but also a global level.
Based on the idea of deterrence and winning wars, Harris said it is important for the current U.S. administration to attain and plan resource to prepare winning a war with China as well as preventing it at the same time.
“At the end of the day the ability to wage war is important or you become a paper tiger. I’m hopeful that it won’t come to a conflict with China, but we must all be prepared for that if it should come to that,” said Harris.
According to the New York Times, Harris has been taking a longstanding hard approach toward China, calling Beijing’s policies regarding South China Sea “provocative and expansionist.” He has described China’s efforts to build artificial islands in surrounding waters “a Great Wall of sand”, and he actively condemned China’s foreign influenced operations.
Harris also mentioned Taiwan in his speech, highlighting the role of the U.S. in supporting Taiwan's efforts to develop a “credible, resilient, and cost-effective deterrent and self-defense capability.”
“We must continue to help Taiwan defend itself and demonstrate U.S. resolve that any attempt by China to force reunification on the people of Taiwan is unacceptable,” said Harris.
On the other side, Harris praised Australia, where he is expected to work after retiring as the head of U.S. Pacific Command, as one of the staunchest allies of the US in Pacific-Asia.
“Australia is one of the keys to a rules-based international order,” Harris said. “I look to my Australian counterparts for their assistance, I admire their leadership in the battlefield and in the corridors of power in the world.”
Australia has been demanding a U.S. ambassador since John Berry departed in September 2016. As a candidate for the next U.S. ambassador to the country, Harris has frequently visited Australia in the past and has described the U.S.-Australia alliance as “anchors peace and stability in the region.”
China has expressed concern over Harris’s potential new position already.