U.S. Has Faced 'Dozens' of Dangerous Events With China in 2022: DoD

The Chinese military has engaged in "dozens of dangerous events" against the U.S. and its allies this year alone, according to the Department of Defense (DoD).

Dr. Ely Ratner, who works for the DoD as assistant secretary of defense for Indo-Pacific Security Affairs, spoke about the issue on Tuesday at the Center for Strategic and International Studies (CSIS), a think tank based in Washington, D.C. Ratner's remarks were shared on Twitter by Jeff Seldin, a national security reporter with Voice of America.

Ratner explained how in recent months, China's People's Liberation Army (PLA) has been recorded engaging in increasingly unsafe acts in the South China Sea, posing a risk to ships and crafts being lawfully operated in the region by the U.S. and other nations.

"We see Beijing combining its growing military power w/greater willingness to take risks," Ratner said, according to Seldin's Twitter thread. "In recent months, we've witnessed a sharp increase in unsafe & unprofessional behaviors by PLA ships & aircraft."

south china sea dangerous events
Chinese military forces have engaged in increasingly dangerous acts around U.S. crafts in the South China Sea, according to a Department of Defense official. Above, a shot of a Chinese naval formation in 2017. STR/AFP via Getty Images

Ratner continued, explaining that the number of "unsafe PLA intercepts" has increased significantly within the last five years. In the first half of this year alone, "dozens" of these encounters have reportedly occurred.

"Over the last 5 years the number of unsafe PLA intercepts [including] US allies & partners operating [lawfully] in int'l airspace, in the [South China Sea] has increased dramatically w/dozens of dangerous events in the 1st half of this year alone," the assistant secretary continued.

Also speaking to CSIS on Tuesday, Jung Pak, deputy assistant secretary for East Asia at the State Department, backed up Ratner's comments with his own statements, according to Reuters.

"There is a clear and upward trend of [People's Republic of China] provocations against South China Sea claimants and other states lawfully operating in the region," Pak said.

Pak said that PLA aircraft have increasingly been engaging in unsafe ways with Australian crafts operating above the South China Sea, which is considered international airspace. He also noted three separate occasions in recent months when PLA forces had "challenged marine research and energy exploration activities," according to Reuters, in the Philippines' exclusive economic zone.

President Joe Biden is set to speak with Chinese President Xi Jinping on a call in the coming week. The discussion between the two world leaders is expected to focus on the continued strategic rivalry between their nations, with a particular focus on Taiwan, Reuters added.

Newsweek reached out to the Chinese military for comment.