China is Asia’s No 1 military, economic threat: US commerce chief Wilbur Ross

China is Asia’s No 1 military, economic threat: US commerce chief Wilbur Ross

US Secretary of Commerce Wilbur Ross has called China the major economic and military threat to Asia, as the outgoing Donald Trump administration renewed its criticism of Beijing while calling on it to fulfil its commitments under the two countries’ interim trade deal.

“China continues to be both the largest potential market and the principal military and economic threat in the region,” Ross said in a recorded keynote speech at the Milken Institute 2020 Asian Summit on Tuesday.

He said the US commerce department had imposed 539 punitive tariffs of which 210 related to China, although without stating in which period of time. Washington had placed “a good portion” of Chinese companies on the US’ entity list, its trade blacklist, which requires licences for shipments of sensitive technology.

The Trump administration continues to impose sanctions and restrictions on Chinese companies and officials as its term comes to an end. US president-elect Joe Biden is expected to face bipartisan pressure to remain tough on China when he takes office next month.