U.S. Secretary of Defense Mark Esper is visiting the United Kingdom (U.K.) after his trip to Stuttgart, Germany.

Esper spoke on Friday, Sept. 6, at the think tank Royal United Services Institute on what he called the current “global security environment.”

Speaking to an audience of defense experts and officials, Esper warned European allies about China, saying the Chinese communist regime pursues global dominance by securing economic control and stealing technology.

The Chinese Communist regime expands its influence through investment in trade and at the expense of others, said Esper.


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“I saw firsthand how China’s One Belt, One Road initiative is manifesting itself throughout the region,” said Esper when he was traveling throughout the Indo-Pacific region last month on his first overseas trip as the U.S. Secretary of Defense.

He stated, “What are initially presented as reasonable investments by the PRC [People’s Republic of China] to build ports and facilities and other infrastructure end up coming with some significant strings attached.”

“The more dependent a country becomes on Chinese investment in trade, the more susceptible they are to coercion and retribution when they act outside of Beijing’s wishes,” said Esper.

The U.S. defense chief said Russia is “the greatest concern of most European nations.” He criticized Russia for arms control violations and continued aggression in Europe.

“Russia’s invasion of Georgia in 2008, its annexation of Crimea in 2014, its continued aggression in Ukraine, and its efforts to serve as a spoiler to peace and in Syria demonstrate Moscow’s unwillingness to be a responsible international actor,” said Esper.

During the presentation, Esper reiterated the U.S. approach to Iran, which is to use “maximum pressure” through economic sanctions.

The aim is to compel the Iranians to the negotiating table for an agreement to replace the 2015 nuclear deal, stated Esper.

Esper’s underlying message for Europe is that the U.S. and its allies must do more to counter Chinese and Russian endeavors to undermine international order for their own advantage.

And he tweeted his concerns.

The U.S. Secretary of Defense delivered another twitter message, highlighting the need to “preserve the world all of us have created together through decades of shared sacrifice.” He urged, “We must all rise to the occasion.”