United States Secretary of State Mike Pompeo on Thursday said that the country was reviewing the deployment of its forces across the world so that it was prepared to counter the threat posed by China to countries like India, Malaysia, Indonesia, and the Philippines, PTI reported.
Pompeo’s remark came amid ongoing talks between India and China to de-escalate tensions along the Line of Actual Control, after a violent face-off between the armies of the two countries in Ladakh’s Galwan Valley last week. Twenty Indian soldiers were killed and 76 injured in the clash. China did not give an official count of casualties on its side, though some reports said over 40 Chinese soldiers were killed or injured in the clash.
“We are going to make sure we’re postured appropriately to counter the PLA [People’s Liberation Army],” Pompeo said in response to a question during a virtual address at the 2020 Brussels Forum of the German Marshall Fund. “We think that the challenge of our times, and we are going to make sure we have resources in place to do that.”
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Pompeo added that US was reviewing the deployment of its forces after orders from President Donald Trump. He added that US troops in Germany will be reduced from about 52,000 to 25,000. “In certain places there will be fewer American resources,” Pompeo said. “There will be other places – I just talked about the threat from the Chinese Communist Party, so now threats to India, threats to Vietnam, threats to Malaysia, Indonesia, South China Sea challenges, the Philippines.”
Last week, Pompeo had blamed China for the border conflict with India. “The PLA [China’s People’s Liberation Army] has escalated border tensions – we see it today in India... and we watch as it militarizes the South China Sea and illegally claims more territory there,” he was quoted as saying by Reuters.
Trump, on the other hand, had offered to mediate between India and China. “It is a very tough situation,” he had said. “They [India and China] have come to blows, and we will see what happens. We will try and help them out.”
On Thursday, India accused China of assembling a large number of troops along the Line of Actual Control. Satellite imagery and multiple news reports confirmed that, even as India and China continue to speak of disengagement, the Chinese structures that led to the violent clash in the Galwan Valley in eastern Ladakh on June 15 are back.