World News

US weighs more South China Sea patrols

US weighs more South China Sea patrols

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

Lieutenant General He Lei (L), vice president of the People's Liberation Army's Academy of Military Science, and Hajit Sajjan (R), Canadian National Defense Minister, attend the first plenary session of the 17th Asian Security Summit of the IISS Shangri-La Dialogue in Singapore on June 2, 2018.

Chinese dredging vessels are purportedly seen in the waters around Fiery Cross Reef in the disputed Spratly Islands in the South China Sea in this still image from video taken by a P-8A Poseidon surveillance aircraft provided by the United States Navy May 21, 2015.

He also reiterated that the Pentagon was committed to working with Taiwan to provide articles and services needed for its self-defence, comments that are likely to anger China.

The U.S. response to China's weaponization of the islands continued on Sunday, as two U.S. warships sailed close to the Paracel Islands, which lie north of the Spratlys.

Earlier in the week, Mattis warned the United States will continue "a steady drumbeat" of naval exercises to challenge China's territorial claims in the waterway, and this weekend said, "there are consequences that will continue to come home to roost" if China does not act more transparently and cooperatively in the region.

Militarizing the islands, Mattis said, will not enhance China's standing in the world. And he said he doesn't believe that China's actions will pay off.

"Despite China's claims to the contrary, the placement of these weapon systems is tied directly to military use for the purposes of intimidation and coercion", Mattis told the Shangri-La Dialogue.

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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. "What we see it as, is a reaffirmation of the rules-based order".

The meetings come following the Trump administration's decision to slap tariffs on allies Canada, Mexico, and the European Union's steel and aluminum shipments to the U.S. Trump has threatened tariffs on up to $150 billion in Chinese products to punish Beijing for pressuring U.S. companies to turn over technology in exchange for access to the Chinese market.

The Pentagon also withdrew an invitation for Chinese forces to join large multi-country exercises off Hawaii later in the year.

The US wanted complete denuclearisation of the Korean peninsula, he added.

"China's policy in the South China Sea stands in stark contrast to the openness our strategy promises, it calls into question China's broader goals", Mattis said, according to Reuters. China protested the move.

China believes islands, islets and other maritime features in the South China Sea are its sovereign territory and that it is within its rights to build defenses on them.

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's state-run Global Times newspaper said in an editorial tension in the South China Sea was "due to the USA continuing to increase its military presence in the region, forcing China to naturally upgrade its defensive weapons on the islands".


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