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“Seriously doubt“ imminent invasion of Taiwan by China -Pentagon chief

2023-01-11T23:27:48Z

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FILE PHOTO: U.S. Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin participates in a Peace, Security and Governance Forum during the U.S.-Africa Leaders Summit 2022 in Washington, U.S., December 13, 2022. REUTERS/Evelyn Hockstein/Pool

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – U.S. Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin said on Wednesday he seriously doubted that ramped up Chinese military activities near the Taiwan Strait were a sign of an imminent invasion of the island by Beijing.

“We’ve seen increased aerial activity in the straits, we’ve seen increased surface vessel activity around Taiwan,” Austin said during a press conference alongside U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken and their Japanese counterparts.

“But whether or not that means that an invasion is imminent, you know, I seriously doubt that,” Austin said.