In what seems straight out of a science fiction movie, U.S. military commanders in the Pacific have developed software designed to predict China’s responses to some of America’s actions. The tool is expected to be useful when the U.S. makes decisions related to Taiwan, the South China Sea, and other issues which Beijing perceives to be sensitive.
During her visit to the U.S. Indo-Pacific Command at Hawaii on Dec. 14, Deputy Secretary of Defense Kathleen Hicks was briefed about the new software. “With the spectrum of conflict and the challenge sets spanning down into the grey zone. What you see is the need to be looking at a far broader set of indicators, weaving that together and then understanding the threat interaction,” Hicks told Reuters.
According to one defense official, the predictive tool calculates “strategic friction.” It basically looks at data from the beginning of last year and analyzes the activities that had a significant impact on ties between the two nations.
In October, friction developed between Washington and Beijing after the U.S. sent a warship through the Taiwan Strait, a waterway that separates the island of Taiwan from the Chinese mainland. At the time the Chinese military condemned the move.
The defense official noted that this and other similar incidents have created a demand for the tool so that the United States can avoid inadvertently irking China. The software will now allow American officials to plan their China-related actions up to four months in advance.
The Reuters report on the predictive tool comes as Washington issued some strong words against the Chinese regime. On a visit to the Indo-Pacific, the U.S. Secretary of State called on China to stop its “aggressive actions” in the region. In a speech, Blinken said that countries have the right to “choose their own path” and that the United States will work with partners to defend a rules-based order.
“There is so much concern, from northeast Asia to southeast Asia, and from the Mekong River to the Pacific Islands, about Beijing’s aggressive actions, claiming open seas as their own, distorting open markets through subsidies to its state-run companies, denying the exports or revoking deals for countries whose policies it does not agree with, engaging in illegal, unreported, and unregulated fishing activities,” Blinken said.
The U.S. Department of Commerce and Treasury recently sanctioned Chinese surveillance and biotechnology firms that are identified as having been involved in the persecution of the Uyghur community. In a press release, U.S. Secretary of Commerce Gina M Raimondo accused Beijing of using these technologies to control people.
“We cannot allow U.S. commodities, technologies, and software that support medical science and biotechnical innovation to be diverted toward uses contrary to U.S. national security… The U.S. will continue to stand strong against efforts by the PRC and Iran to turn tools that can help humanity prosper into implements that threaten global security and stability,” Raimondo said.