U.S. Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin says that, in strengthening its ties with its allies, including South Korea, Australia and Japan, the United States is not seeking to build an anti-China coalition or an Asian version of NATO.
Austin was speaking in California over the weekend at the Reagan National Defense Forum.
However, he also said the U.S. is committed to maintaining its "capacity to resist any resort to force that would jeopardize the security of Taiwan."
He said the U.S. faces a formidable challenge, and recent military actions by China near Taiwan look "a lot like rehearsals."
Austin was in Seoul last week where he and his South Korean counterpart agreed on the importance of peace and security in the Taiwan Strait, a sign widely seen as an expansion of the scope of the Seoul-Washington alliance.