Pentagon chief: US faces pivotal years in countering China

SIMI VALLEY, Calif. (AP) — Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin says the U.S. is at a pivotal point with China and will need military strength to ensure that American values, not Beijing’s, set global norms in the 21st century. Austin’s speech Saturday caps a week in which the Pentagon has been squarely focused on China’s rise, with the release of a dire report warning of China’s growing nuclear arsenal, and the rollout of the U.S.’ newest strategic bomber. Austin says China “is the only country with both the will and, increasingly, the power to reshape its region and the international order to suit its authoritarian preferences.” He says the U.S. “will not let that happen.”