The US military “will continue to stand strong” in a conflict between India and China or anywhere else, a top White House official said on Monday, after the US Navy deployed two aircraft carriers to the South China Sea to boost its presence in the region.
“The message is clear. We’re not going to stand by and let China or anyone else take the reins in terms of being the most powerful, dominant force, whether it”s in that region or over here,” White House Chief of Staff Mark Meadows told Fox News.
“And the message is clear. Our military might stands strong and will continue to stand strong, whether it’s in relationship to a conflict between India and China or anywhere else,” Mr Meadows said in response to a question.
The troops of India and China are locked in an eight-week standoff in several areas in eastern Ladakh including Pangong Tso, Galwan Valley and Gogra Hot Spring.
The situation deteriorated last month, following the Galwan Valley clashes that left 20 Indian Army personnel killed in the line of duty as the two sides significantly bolstered their deployments in most areas along the LAC.
The Chinese military on Monday began withdrawing troops from the Galwan Valley and Gogra Hot Spring after National Security Advisor Ajit Doval and Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi held lengthy talks on Sunday.
Ajit Doval and Wang Yi are also the special representatives on the India-China boundary talks.
The United States has sent two of its aircraft carriers to the South China Sea.
“Our mission is to make sure that the world knows that we still have the preeminent fighting force on the face of the globe,” Mr Meadows said.
President Donald Trump has invested more in the US military, more in not only the hardware, but the men and women who serve so sacrificially each and every day, he said. “He (Trump) continues to do so,” he added.
China is engaged in hotly contested territorial disputes in both the South China Sea and the East China Sea. Beijing has built up and militarised many of the islands and reefs it controls in the region.
Both areas are stated to be rich in minerals, oil and other natural resources and are vital to global trade.
China claims almost all of the South China Sea. Vietnam, the Philippines, Malaysia, Brunei and Taiwan have counter claims over the area.
Appearing on the same Fox News on Monday talk show with host Brian Kilmeade, influential Republican Senator Tom Cotton said that the US aircraft carriers are headed to the South China Sea to thwart off any Chinese misadventure against Taiwan or other countries in the region.
“That’s one of the reasons why we have those aircraft carrier groups in the South China Sea. I mean, look what China did in the southwest. It’s essentially invaded India over the last few weeks and killed Indian soldiers,” Mr Cotton said.
“No country on China’s periphery, right now, is safe from Chinese aggression. All those countries want a close relationship with the United States. We ought to have one,” Mr Cotton said.