Trump's new Pentagon chief says his priority is 'China, China, China'

Patrick Shanahan, the acting defense secretary, started his first full day at the Pentagon's helm Wednesday by telling colleagues he sees China as a key priority.

Shanahan, who took the top spot January 1 after Jim Mattis resigned amid disagreements with President Donald Trump, told key Defense Department staff to focus on the National Defense Strategy, a broad review that highlights a new era of 'Great Power competition' with Russia and China.

The former Boeing executive, who moved up from the No. 2 job after Pentagon chief Jim Mattis left Monday, gathered civilian leaders of the military services and other top civilian officials before going to the White House for a Cabinet meeting. 

'While we are focused on ongoing operations, Acting Secretary Shanahan told the team to remember China, China, China,' a defense official said.

The official said Shanahan told the Pentagon gathering that he is focused on the strategy as developed and put in place under Mattis. 

It emphasizes the importance of great power competition with Russia and China, after America's many years of fighting insurgent wars in the Middle East.

The Trump administration has had a rocky relationship with China. Like the Obama administration, President Donald Trump's government is concerned by what it calls China's militarization of disputed areas in the South China Sea and by its advances in certain high-tech weaponry. 

The US accuses Beijing of an ongoing pattern of military and economic espionage, and has criticized C....

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