October 3, 2023

Young, Colleagues Call for State Department to Step Up Efforts to Combat CCP’s Growing Military Footprint

WASHINGTON U.S. Senators Todd Young (R-Ind.), Pete Ricketts (R-Neb.), Marco Rubio (R-Fla.), and Bill Hagerty (R-Tenn.) called on the State Department to step up efforts to combat the Chinese Communist Party’s (CCP) growing military footprint around the world.

The senators, who all serve on the Senate Committee on Foreign Relations, outlined how the CCP’s “ambitious project to develop overseas naval facilities and logistical hubs to fuel potential future operations” threatens U.S. national security interests. The senators called for a “whole-of-government” approach and asked Secretary of State Antony Blinken to explain how the State Department was working to advance American diplomatic interests on this topic.

“We write to raise serious concerns regarding the People’s Liberation Army (PLA) and its growing military footprint across the Indo-Pacific and around the world,” the senators wrote. “As you know, the PLA Navy now has the world’s largest naval fleet, with at least 340 warships, and is increasingly focused on projecting this force beyond the region. This could pose a direct threat to United States and allied interests in a number of ways. Therefore, we request an update on the Department of State’s efforts to diplomatically address and counter the PLA’s growing military expansion.”

“While tracking these developments and reporting on them publicly, as DoD is required by Congress to do, is an important first step to identify the challenges we face, the United States Government must now employ a whole-of-government approach to proactively engage partner countries to warn them of the risks of PLA expansion to their sovereignty and stability,” the senators continued. “The United States maintains the world’s most robust and talented diplomatic presence, and we must use the Department of State’s resources to advance our interests in countering PLA expansion.”

The full letter is available here.