Mattis accuses China of ‘intimidation and coercion’

07 June, 2018, 08:33 | Author: Diane Mills
  • China general slams 'irresponsible comments' on South China Sea

"The satellite pictures show Beijing has stepped up its progress on militarising those island outposts, which will become the PLA's naval and air force bases in the future", he said on the sidelines of the Shangri-La Dialogue. It was not immediately clear whether that invitation would stand after the conference.

"When it comes down to introducing what they have done in the South China Sea, there are consequences", said Mattis.

"I think all regional countries with the sharp eyes hope the US can play a constructive role, and not be a destroyer but a contributor to the regional peace and stability", Hua said.

Mattis responded that the question reflected a fundamental disconnect with the way worldwide tribunals have spoken on the matter.

China has repeatedly warned the US against sending warships to patrol the South China Sea.

Although France is not a claimant in the South China Sea dispute, by conducting such exercises "on a regular basis with allies and friends" it is contributing to a rule-based order, according to Parly.

The U.S. Department of Defense is also committed to working with Taiwan so the self-ruled island can maintain sufficient self defense, the defense secretary continued. China had participated in these exercises in 2014 and 2016.

When U.S. Secretary of Defense James Mattis takes the stage Saturday at a major Asia-Pacific security summit, he's widely expected to deliver a stern criticism of recent Chinese actions in the South China Sea.

"Any discussion about the number of the US troops in the ROK is subject to the invitation to have them there and the discussion between the USA and ROK, separate from the issue with DPRK", Mattis said.

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Gen Mattis was speaking just 10 days before President Donald Trump is scheduled to meet North Korean leader Kim Jong-un in Singapore. China protested the maneuver.

CNBC reports his comment could refer to China's One Belt One Road policy, which calls for $1 trillion of investment in infrastructure and other projects along trade routes linking China to Europe, Russia, Central and Southeast Asia, and Africa.

Speaking at a high-profile security summit in Singapore, the Pentagon chief also said the United States military continues to support diplomats pushing for the "complete, verifiable and irreversible" denuclearisation of the Korean peninsula.

In recent years, the USA had sought to stabilize military relations with China, but the militarization of the islands has been a persistent point of conflict.

China has been building small islands and other maritime features into military facilities there. China has not sent high-level officials to the three-day meeting, in an apparent attempt to deflect attention from its campaign to expand its sovereignty across virtually the entire South China Sea.

The head of the Chinese delegation, He Lei, who is the Academy of Military Science of the Chinese People's Liberation Army's vice president, took an equally tough line by saying that the U.S. is the real source of conflict in the region.

"The US will continue to pursue a constructive, results-oriented relationship with China".

The Defense Secretary stuck to fairly common talking points from Washington: highlighting the importance of USA alliances and the ultimate goal of complete, verifiable and irreversible denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula.

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