Mark Esper visits UK to discuss US defense policy with NATO allies3
By: Associated Press
US Defense Secretary Mark Esper cautioned European allies against cozying up to China, arguing on Friday that Beijing seeks greater global influence by leveraging economic power and stealing technology.
"The more dependent a country becomes on Chinese investment and trade, the more susceptible they are to coercion and retribution when they act outside of Beijing's wishes," Esper said in a speech at the Royal United Services Institute, a think tank.
Esper's assertion that China is seeking to expand its influence at the expense of others has been a common US government refrain for years, including during President Barack Obama's administration. By taking this message to London, Esper seemed to be suggesting that Europeans do not fully share US concerns, which often center on China's efforts to militarize disputed territory in the South China Sea and its vast trade surplus with the US.
"I would caution my friends in Europe — this is not a problem in some distant land that does not affect you," he sa