China general slams 'irresponsible comments' on South China Sea

China general slams 'irresponsible comments' on South China Sea

China general slams 'irresponsible comments' on South China Sea

China's activities, Mattis said in his speech Saturday, stand "in stark contrast to the openness of what our strategy promotes; It calls into question China's broader goals".

But China has drawn increasing ire for the militarization of its islands, and the United States recently disinvited the PLA Navy from an global military exercise because of Beijing's "continued militarization of disputed features in the South China Sea" which "only serve to raise tensions and destabilize the region".

China recently has deployed anti-ship missiles, surface-to-air missiles, electronic jammers and other equipment on the Spratly Islands, and landed a bomber aircraft at Woody Island.

Questioned during the Shangri-La Dialogue security conference over whether it was too late to stop China, Mattis said: "Eventually these (actions) do not pay off".

Senior Col. Zhao Xiaozhuo said a USA move to send two warships into China's "territorial waters" was a violation of law, and an "obvious provocation to China's national security and territorial integrity".

U.S. Defense Secretary Jim Mattis on Saturday raised the prospect of additional American steps against China if its "militarization" of the South China Sea keeps apace.

France and the United Kingdom will challenge Beijing by sailing through contested waters in the South China Sea.

Mr Mattis acknowledged that militarisation of islands was taking place but warned of further consequences.

He says Beijing is intimidating and coercing others in the region by putting weapons systems on man-made islands.

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China's hostility towards self-ruled Taiwan has grown since Tsai Ing-wen from the pro-independence Democratic Progressive Party won presidential elections on the island in 2016.

He responded by saying: "The Chinese government and its people strongly oppose arms sale to Taiwan, all kinds of official government contacts to strengthen their ties with Taipei, as well as other acts to harm the "one-China principle".

Mattis only briefly mentioned the status of the Korean Peninsula in his formal remarks, which come just hours after US President Donald Trump announced that he will hold a summit with North Korean leader Kim Jong Un in Singapore on June 12, just days after Mattis departs.

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

The U.S., he said, remains committed to ensuring free and open transit in the region.

The French Minister of Defense, Florence Parly, said she welcomes the signs of dialogue, but added that sanctions should continue until denuclearization is achieved in a full, verifiable and irreversible manner.

Challenged from the floor of the conference by several delegates, Mattis gave a forceful defense of the US' commitment to its allies in the region, stretching back to Thomas Jefferson, through to the 1945 defeat of fascism and Cold War encroachments by the former Soviet Union. "What we see it as, is a reaffirmation of the rules-based order".

Japan's Defense Minister Itsunori Onodera, who also spoke at the forum, said it was important not to reward North Korea for only agreeing to dialogue.

In Singapore, Mattis vowed to support US allies in Asia, "No one nation can and should dominate the Indo-Pacific".

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