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  • US warns China about using Singapore air show as ‘platform for exploitation and theft’
    Date:2020-02-11 

    Even as China battles the coronavirus, it should not use this week’s Singapore air show as an opportunity to strong-arm US partners or steal intelligence or technological secrets, said a senior US State Department official.

    In a bid to counter Beijing’s growing footprint in the Indo-Pacific region, Washington is bringing its largest-ever delegation to the air show this week as it steps up “global power competition” with China, said R. Clarke Cooper, assistant secretary of state for political-military affairs.

    “We do not want to see them using the air show as a platform for exploitation and theft,” he said in an interview in his State Department office, “not only our technologies but also others’ technologies.”

    Cooper, who has had a range of US military, diplomatic and intelligence jobs in Iraq, Germany and elsewhere, said Washington was watching for any sign that Beijing was trying to expand its regional influence “aggressively”.

    That includes efforts at the air show or more broadly to pile significant debt on customers purchasing particular weapon systems or otherwise jeopardise the sovereignty of US allies, he said.

    “And also dumping subpar or less than optimal material on a partner, putting their security at risk,” said Cooper, 48, whose job includes liaising with the Pentagon, promoting US weapon sales and supporting alliances under the Indo-Pacific strategy aimed at countering China’s influence in the region. “Yes, we have an issue with that.”



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