Overnight Defense & National Security — China steps up saber rattling

Overnight Defense & National Security — China steps up saber rattling
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Chinese warplanes have violated Taiwan’s airspace nearly 150 times over the course of nearly four days, sending 52 warplanes through the area on Monday alone.

We’ll break down the Biden administration’s message to China, fears over a military confrontation and how Beijing responded.

For The Hill, I’m Ellen Mitchell. Write to me with tips: emitchell@thehill.com.

Let’s get to it.

Biden administration puts China on notice 

The Biden administration is warning China over its increasing provocations against Taiwan, a critical flashpoint amid the ongoing poor relations between Washington and Beijing. 

Taiwan raised the alarm after Chinese warplanes violated its airspace nearly 150 times over the course of nearly four days, leaving top Taiwanese — and some American — officials worried about a military confrontation.

A warning from the White House: “We urge Beijing to cease its military diplomatic and economic pressure and coercion against Taiwan and we have an abiding interest in peace and stability across the Taiwan strait. That’s why we will continue to assist Taiwan in maintaining a sufficient self-defense capability,” White House press secretary Jen PsakiJen PsakiBiden's Supreme Court reform study panel notes 'considerable' risks to court expansion DeSantis pledges to sue Biden administration over vaccine mandates Biden likely to tap Robert Califf to return as FDA head MORE told reporters Monday.  

What’s the relationship?: The U.S. has a unique relationship with the tiny island territory, providing military and other types of support since Taiwan severed ties with Beijing in 1949 at the end of China’s civil war. But the U.S. has held back from creating official ties with the territory as part of agreements with Beijing.

Taiwan considers itself the legitimate government of the Chinese people while Beijing criticizes it as a rogue territory. Taipei and Beijing have gone through periods of rapprochement, but the Chinese Communist Party has increasingly threatened reunification through military intervention.

Beijing also takes exception with Washington’s support of Taipei, accusing the U.S. of meddling in internal Chinese affairs.   

Worsening relations: The Biden administration says it is not seeking conflict with Beijing, but relations with China nevertheless seem to be growing more tense on a number of fronts.

U.S. Trade Representative Katherine TaiKatherine TaiUS, Chinese trade officials hold virtual meeting, discuss 'Phase 1' deal Biden and big business: It's complicated Biden, Xi to hold virtual summit by end of this year MORE said Monday that she will begin direct talks with her Chinese counterpart to press Beijing about its failure to comply with aspects of the Trump-era “phase one” trade pact.

And the administration has sought to shore up its alliances to better direct resources toward countering Chinese influence in the Asia-Pacific region, last month announcing a new pact between the U.S., United Kingdom and Australia to cooperate on security, which in part involves helping Australia acquire nuclear-powered submarines. 

Lawmakers weigh in: There is strong, bipartisan support in Congress for close relations between the U.S. and Taiwan. 

The island nation is viewed as a democratic bulwark against the ambitions of the Chinese Communist Party, and a key U.S.-trading partner for essential commodities like semiconductors and electronics.  

“China’s intimidation tactics will only redouble our commitment to stand up for our democratic friend, Taiwan,” Rep. Gregory MeeksGregory Weldon MeeksUS faces daunting task in relationship with Haiti Overnight Defense & National Security — China steps up saber rattling White House puts China on notice MORE (D-N.Y.), chair of the House Foreign Affairs Committee, tweeted on Monday. 

Likewise, Senator Jim RischJim Elroy RischDefense & National Security — Military starts giving guidance on COVID-19 vaccine refusals Blinken pressed to fill empty post overseeing 'Havana syndrome' Bipartisan senators call for Biden to confront Moscow over staffing ban at US embassies MORE (R-Idaho), ranking member of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, denounced China’s provocations in the region and called for supporting “the people of Taiwan,” in a tweet on Monday.

China’s response: “Taiwan belongs to China and the U.S. is in no position to make irresponsible remarks,” Chinese Foreign Ministry Spokesperson Hua Chunying said in a statement on Monday, reacting to warnings issued by the Biden administration. 

Read the full story here.

TAIWAN PREPARING FOR POSSIBLE WAR

Taiwan is preparing for potential war with China following a series of increasingly aggressive military activity from Beijing, with Taipei’s foreign minister warning that should the nation attack, it would “suffer tremendously.”

China on Monday sent 52 military aircraft into Taiwan’s airspace, the largest military provocation seen yet.

In anticipation of further aggression, the self-ruled island is preparing to repel any strike and has asked Australia to increase intelligence sharing and security cooperation, Taiwanese Foreign Minister Joseph Wu told the Australian Broadcast Corporation's "China Tonight."

Taiwan’s pledge: “The defense of Taiwan is in our own hands, and we are absolutely committed to that,” Wu told ABC's Stan Grant in an interview to be broadcast Monday.

“I’m sure that if China is going to launch an attack against Taiwan, I think they are going to suffer tremendously as well.”

Read more about that here.

Supreme Court declines to hear Oracle’s JEDI challenge 

The Supreme Court in Washington, D.C., is seen on June 23                          The U.S. Supreme Court on Monday declined to hear Oracle’s suit challenging how the Pentagon awarded its now-canceled $10 billion cloud computing contract.

The Supreme Court said it won’t review Oracle’s appeal of a federal court ruling that found that the software company was not hurt by any errors the Pentagon made in awarding the Joint Enterprise Defense Infrastructure (JEDI) contract, as Oracle would not have qualified for it.

Some background: The Defense Department in 2019 awarded the potential $10 billion cloud computing project to Microsoft but was forced to cancel the effort in July after the program became mired in legal battles.

For the next iteration of the program, known as the Joint Warfighter Cloud Capability (JWCC), the Pentagon plans to split the work between multiple companies, potentially Microsoft and Amazon.

Oracle in 2018 first sued to protest the Pentagon’s intention to award the lucrative contract to a single company. It also alleged that several DOD employees had conflicts of interest involving Amazon, which also sought the award.

Oracle’s argument: Though JEDI has since been axed, Oracle wanted the highest court to hear its appeal to make sure that its concerns over JEDI do not reoccur in the JWCC contract process.

“Cases do not become moot simply because a defendant issues a press release claiming to have ceased its misconduct,” Oracle argued in a brief filed to the Supreme Court in September.

Read the full story here.

 

Tomb of Unknown Soldier has first all-female guard change

For the first time in history the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier had an all-female guard change last week, 84 years after the memorial was erected at Arlington National Cemetery.

The U.S. Army Old Guard announced in a tweet on Friday that history was made on a recent Autumn morning at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier when, on the 30,770th day of continuous guarding, an all-female guard change took place with the 28th Sergeant of the Guard.

The Tomb of the Unknown Circle is a memorial in Arlington National Cemetery that is meant to honor unidentified service members who died in combat. The memorial typically draws large crowds of tourists.

Read about that here.

ON TAP FOR TOMORROW

 

WHAT WE'RE READING

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That’s it for today. Check out The Hill’s defense and national security pages for the latest coverage. See you Tuesday. 

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