Mattis accuses China of ‘intimidation and coercion’

Jun 06, 2018, 14:23
Mattis accuses China of ‘intimidation and coercion’

French Minister of Armed Forces Florence Parly and British Secretary of State for Defence Gavin Williamson issued a joint statement confirming this move at the Shangri-La Dialogue in Singapore.

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.

Tensions in the South China Sea are only warming up but Australia's options beyond a "vigorous diplomatic assertion" are limited, former foreign minster Bob Carr believes.

China is deploying missiles in the disputed South China Sea to "intimidate and coerce" its neighbours, US Defence Secretary James Mattis said on Saturday, adding that Washington does not plan to abandon its role in the region.

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.

"It would be a lose-lose scenario for the world if the USA and China are unwilling to work together for an inclusive system that both large and small states can benefit from, and where rules apply to all", Ng said.

The South China Sea issue has always been a "hot topic" at the annual Shangri-la Dialogue in recent years, so much so that some have described it as a "golden routine subject", said He, who is head of the Chinese delegation to the Dialogue.

Last month China said it had for the first time landed bombers on Woody Island in the Paracel Islands, prompting United States warnings that it was destabilising the region.

The Pentagon leader's comments at the annual Shangri-La Dialogue came in the wake of a tumultuous few weeks between the US and China.

He also said the U.S. recognised that China had a role to play in the region.

Last week, the USA withdrew an invitation for Beijing's participation in naval exercises known as the Rim of the Pacific.

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.

Last Sunday, Beijing protested what it called a "provocation" after United States warships came within 12 nautical miles (around 22km) of the disputed Paracel Islands, among a string of islets, reefs and shoals over which China has territorial disputes with its neighbours.

Hua also questioned whether US Navy "freedom of navigation" operations were really about preserving the right for ships to sail through the region or an attempt to maintain hegemony. He Lei, vice president of the People's Liberation Army's Academy of Military Science.

The Defense Secretary stuck to fairly common talking points from Washington: highlighting the importance of U.S. alliances and the ultimate goal of complete, verifiable and irreversible denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula. Mattis's comments appeared to be an attempt to reaffirm US' commitment to Asia's security, even as President Donald Trump's decisions to levy tariffs on allies and withdraw from global agreements raise questions about America's post war alliances.

The U.S., he said, "will continue to pursue a constructive, results-oriented relationship with China, cooperation when possible, and competing vigorously where we must". -China trade negotiations and on-again, off-again nuclear talks between the US and North Korea, China continues to strengthen its position in the South China Sea.

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