Protection & Nationwide Safety — China greatest precedence throughout prime officers’ journeys

Whereas Protection Secretary Lloyd Austin met on the sidelines in Cambodia with China’s protection minister on Tuesday, Vice President Harris the identical day spoke in assist of worldwide norms from the South China Sea. 

We’ll share the small print of every journey and what was mentioned, plus a brand new army medical clinic set as much as tackle well being points believed to be associated to the Pink Hill gasoline leak final 12 months in Hawaii and ramped up scrutiny of Iran’s army and weapons manufacturing amid the Russia-Ukraine warfare.  

That is Protection & Nationwide Safety, your nightly information to the newest developments on the Pentagon, on Capitol Hill and past. For The Hill, I’m Ellen Mitchell. A pal ahead this article to you?

Austin warns of Beijing’s ‘harmful habits’

Protection Secretary Lloyd Austin met on the sidelines in Cambodia with China’s protection minister on Tuesday to debate world safety tensions and to induce his counterpart in Beijing to maintain an open line of communication. 

The 2 mentioned conflicts referring to Taiwan, North Korea, the potential use of nuclear weapons in Ukraine and Chinese language plane flyovers within the Indo-Pacific, in keeping with a readout supplied by the Protection Division. 

Timing: Austin’s assembly with Gen. Wei Fenghe, China’s minister of nationwide protection, was the second face-to-face assembly the 2 have had prior to now six months. 

  • It comes after President Biden met with Chinese language President Xi Jinping this month on the G-20 convention, the place the 2 emphasised there wouldn’t be a brand new Chilly Struggle amid financial competitors and geopolitical tensions. 
  • Chinese language Protection Ministry spokesperson Senior Col. Tan Kefei mentioned at a information convention that the assembly between Austin and Wei on Tuesday served “as a concrete measure to implement the necessary consensus reached between Xi and Biden.” 

A gathering: Each Wei and Austin have been in Siem Reap, Cambodia, for a gathering of protection ministers hosted by the Affiliation of Southeast Asia Nations. 

Agreements: Austin and Wei agreed that the U.S. authorities and the Folks’s Republic of China (PRC) oppose using nuclear weapons in warfare, feedback that come amid rising issues about Russia doubtlessly getting ready to make use of weapons of mass destruction in Ukraine. 

Russian President Vladimir Putin has warned he may deploy a nuclear weapon in Ukraine amid heavy setbacks for the Russian military, though Russia has since distanced itself from these threats. 

Austin additionally pushed China to completely implement United Nations Safety Council resolutions towards North Korea. 

Clear commitments: On the difficulty of Taiwan, Austin made clear the U.S. is dedicated to the Taiwan Relations Act, which acknowledges the self-governing island is a part of China however commits to unofficial relations with Taiwan. 

Based on the readout, in his assembly with Wei, Austin “underscored his opposition to unilateral adjustments to the established order and known as on the PRC to chorus from additional destabilizing actions towards Taiwan.” 

Learn the total story right here 


Vice President Harris on Tuesday spoke out towards unnamed threats to native fishing communities and worldwide norms throughout a speech from the South China Sea, the place China’s increasing claims are fueling stress with Southeast Asian nations and the US. 

“We should arise for rules corresponding to respect for sovereignty and territorial integrity, unimpeded lawful commerce, the peaceable decision of disputes, and the liberty of navigation and overflight,” Harris mentioned aboard a Coast Guard ship in Puerto Princesa, Philippines. 

“As an ally, the US stands with the Philippines within the face of intimidation and coercion within the South China Sea,” she mentioned. 

Some background: Beijing has opposed U.S. Navy and Air Drive patrols within the South China Sea and claims full sovereign rights within the waterway, regardless of a 2016 worldwide arbitration ruling that discovered China didn’t have historic, unique management in a lot of the area. 

China has additionally constructed synthetic islands within the South China Sea to the intense objections of close by nations. 

Harris on Tuesday mentioned the U.S. will steadfastly assist the territorial integrity of the Philippines. 

Learn that story right here 

Navy to open clinic one 12 months after Hawaii gasoline leak

The Navy will open a medical clinic in Pearl Harbor for people with well being issues believed to be tied to final 12 months’s gasoline leaks on the Pink Hill Bulk Gas Storage Facility in Hawaii that contaminated a water provide in Oahu, sickening hundreds.  

“We’re establishing the Pink Hill Clinic, which is a protected place the place our devoted care groups will work with our sufferers to doc what is going on to them and collectively decide what one of the best path ahead is for them and their household’s well being care,” Jennifer Espiritu, the interim public well being emergency officer for the Protection Well being Company, informed reporters Monday.   

Restricted particulars: The clinic will go in a yet-to-be-announced army therapy facility on the island and be staffed with well being care employees from the Navy, Military and Air Drive, Espiritu mentioned. It was deliberate after residents reported pores and skin, neurological, gastrointestinal and respiratory issues after the leak. 

The heath points are believed to have stemmed from the gasoline spills in Could and November 2021 at Pink Hill that launched some 20,000 gallons of gasoline, contaminating a close-by properly utilized by 93,000 individuals, together with Hawaii army households, and sickening almost 6,000.   

Earlier: The leak prompted the Pentagon to order the ability’s closure in March with the aim of totally defueling and shuttering it by June 2024. 

Since then, greater than 100 individuals affected by the water contamination have joined in a lawsuit towards the Navy. Within the lawsuit, initially filed in August with the U.S. District Court docket for the District of Hawaii, the plaintiffs declare they suffered bodily, emotionally and financially because of the gasoline leak. These within the lawsuit imagine there are long-term well being results from ingesting the fuel-tainted water.   

Hesitancy: The U.S. army, nonetheless, has not confirmed a hyperlink between the gasoline leak and any diseases.   

“Individuals are completely having well being care issues, that I imagine, and other people should be seen, that I imagine with all my coronary heart,” Espiritu mentioned. “Whether or not the 2 are linked, I can’t — we will’t make that leap now. However what we need to occur is for individuals to come back in so we will see them, discover out what’s occurring to them, and work them out completely so if there’s a connection, we will pursue it.”  

Learn extra right here 

Taiwan agency halts enterprise with Iran amid US scrutiny

A Taiwanese expertise firm has halted its enterprise in Iran whereas it investigates whether or not it violated worldwide sanctions, because the US ramps up scrutiny of Iran’s army and weapons manufacturing amid the Russia-Ukraine warfare.  

The Hill has discovered that ATEN Worldwide has instantly stopped accepting orders from Iran and exporting their merchandise to the nation following issues raised by the nonprofit group United Towards Nuclear Iran (UANI). 

A bigger drawback: UANI’s issues, and ATEN’s response, factors to a bigger drawback that Iran seems to be sourcing the supplies for its drone program regardless of efforts by the U.S., Europe and different allies to isolate the regime with sanctions. 

The U.S. has put quite a few sanctions in place to attempt to goal entities and people associated to Iran’s drone program, specifically as Iran is supplying Russia with drones to make use of in its warfare towards Ukraine.  

“We now have seen Iran immediately assist Russia’s efforts to kill Ukrainians,” Nationwide Safety Council spokesperson John Kirby informed reporters on Tuesday.  

Extra on UANI: UANI is a nonprofit and nonpartisan coverage group that, as a part of its actions, counsels and cautions worldwide companies in regards to the authorized, monetary and reputational dangers of participating in enterprise with Iran, in keeping with an organization spokesperson. 

The group earlier wrote to ATEN over issues that its enterprise with the Tehran-based Raymond Computer systems was opening it as much as attainable sanctions violations, citing Hebrew-media stories that confirmed what seems to be the ATEN emblem displayed in a YouTube video selling an Iranian army take a look at of an unmanned aerial car (UAV), or drone, in keeping with communication obtained by The Hill. 

Learn that story right here 


The Hudson Institute will maintain a dialogue on “Countering Russian Affect in Georgia,” at 10 a.m. 


That’s it for immediately! Try The Hill’s Protection and Nationwide Safety pages for the newest protection. See you tomorrow