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Milley warns Chinese military is becoming 'noticeably more aggressive'

Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Gen. Mark Milley said on Sunday that over the last five years, the Chinese military has become "significantly" more aggressive and dangerous.

Speaking to reporters during a visit to Indonesia, Milley said there has been a spike in the number of unsafe intercepts against U.S. and other partner forces in the Pacific. "The message is the Chinese military, in the air and at sea, have become significantly more and noticeably more aggressive in this particular region," Milley added. He would not reveal how many incidents there have been, only saying there have been Chinese intercepts with Canada, Australia, the Philippines, Vietnam, and Japan.

A major U.S. concern is the possibility of China invading Taiwan; Beijing considers this self-ruled island as a breakaway province. U.S. military officials believe China could launch an invasion by 2027, The Associated Press reports. China's joint chiefs of staff chairman, Gen. Li Zuocheng, said he spoke with Milley earlier this month on the phone, and told him there's "no room for compromise" on Taiwan and the U.S. "must cease U.S.-Taiwan military collusion and avoid impacting China-U.S. ties and stability in the Taiwan Strait."

In April, China signed a security agreement with the Solomon Islands, and the U.S. and Australia have both said China cannot be allowed to build a military base in the South Pacific. "This is an area in which China is trying to do outreach for their own purposes," Milley said. "And again, this is concerning because China is not doing it just for benign reasons. They're trying to expand their influence throughout the region. And that has potential consequences that are not necessarily favorable to our allies and partners in the region."