US President Joe Biden has announced the launch of a Department of Defense (DoD) China Task Force in a bid to defend its interests in the Indo-Pacific region.

According to a US DoD statement, the task force will assess department policies, programmes and processes with regard to growing challenges posed by China and will submit its recommendations in four months.

The 15-member task force includes personnel from the intelligence community, combatant commands, as well as Office of the Secretary of Defense staff and the Joint Staff.

The DoD statement said: “Defence officials called the task force a ‘sprint effort’ that will examine high-priority topics, including strategy, operational concepts, technology and force structure, force posture and force management and intelligence.

“The task force will also examine US alliances and partnerships and their impact on Sino-American relations and DoD relations with China.”

The relationship between the US and China has strained in recent years over trade, the Covid-19 pandemic, Taiwan and territorial disputes in the South China Sea.

This week, two US carrier strike groups, the Theodore Roosevelt Carrier Strike Group and the Nimitz Carrier Strike Group, conducted joint exercises in the South China Sea.

The move was intended to improve interoperability and demonstrate the US Navy’s ability to operate in challenging environments.

China completed a test launch of a land-based, mid-course missile interception. After the test, the Chinese Defense Ministry said that the missile intercept test achieved the desired objective without stating any technical details.