The new Pentagon chief Lloyd Austin discussed Russia and China, as well as military operations in Iraq and Afghanistan with British Defense Secretary Ben Wallace in a telephone conversation.
This was stated in a circulated written statement by the head of the press service of the U.S. Department of Defense, John Kirby.
“The ministers discussed views on addressing strategic issues of mutual interest, including the response to Covid-19, concerns about a rising China, threats from Russia, and ongoing operations in Iraq and Afghanistan,” he said.
Austin also noted the importance of increasing the kingdom’s defense spending as part of the NATO arrangements.
“The secretary expressed appreciation for Britain’s commitment to our defense partnership and emphasized the U.S. commitment to NATO,” Kirby concluded.
At his Senate consideration hearing, retired Gen. Austin described Russia as a “key adversary.” He said he believed Russia would remain a “real threat” to the United States for years to come, but pledged to cooperate with Moscow “in areas of mutual interest.”
He also spoke in favor of the prolongation of the US-Russian Treaty on Measures for the Further Reduction and Limitation of Strategic Offensive Arms (START III). He called China a “growing threat” and countering Beijing a major focus of the Pentagon.