China general slams 'irresponsible comments' on S. China Sea

China general slams 'irresponsible comments' on S. China Sea

China general slams 'irresponsible comments' on S. China Sea

China is guilty of "intimidation and coercion" over its military build-up on disputed islands in the South China Sea, the USA defence secretary has said.

The Chinese general, however, said Beijing's actions were aimed at "national defense".

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

He called the U.S. action a "relatively small consequence".

China's reliance on military muscle to achieve its goals "is not a way to make long-term collaboration the rule of the road in a region that's important to China's future", Mattis said, when asked to elaborate.

Mr Mattis said the United States is willing to work with China on a "results- oriented" relationship, but Beijing's actions in the South China Sea were coercive and the Pentagon would "compete vigorously" if needed.

Last week, the USA withdrew an invitation for Beijing's participation in naval exercises known as the Rim of the Pacific. -China relations, as the Trump administration is warily asking for China's help with North Korea ahead of a June 12 summit, while also threatening a trade war.

"That issue is not on the table here in Singapore on the 12th, nor should it be", Mattis said.

"Despite China's claims to the contrary, the placement of these weapons systems is tied directly to military use for the purposes of intimidation and coercion", the defence secretary said.

"Beijing has deployed a range of military hardware including anti-ship missiles, surface-to-air missiles and electronic jammers across the South China Sea, where it has built islets and other maritime features into hardened military facilities", Mattis said.

Mattis also talked tough on China during the speech.

He said Washington would continue to provide defence equipment and services to Taiwan and oppose any effort to alter the status quo. China claims Taiwan as its own and it is one of its most sensitive issues.

More news: Brigitte Nielsen, 54, is heavily pregnant with her fifth child

He said the United States "will continue to pursue a constructive, results-oriented relationship with China, cooperation when possible, and competing vigorously where we must". It remains to be seen if that invitation will stand after this conference.

Senior Col. Zhao Xiaozhou, of China's People's Liberation Army's Academy of Military Sciences, suggested that the US response could also be considered militarization.

Mattis responded by saying there is a "fundamental disconnect" between China's views on the waters and how global tribunals view them.

Last month, China's air force landed bombers on disputed islands and reefs in the South China Sea as part of a training exercise in the region, triggering concern from Vietnam and the Philippines.

There are now about 28,500 USA troops based in South Korea.

The U.S. Navy on Sunday conducted the latest of its "freedom of navigation" patrols near China-occupied features to demonstrate the right to sail through what it considers to be worldwide waters. China protested the move.

The previous week the USA had withdrawn an invitation for Beijing to participate in the exercise known as Rim of the Pacific.

"The Chinese people and the Chinese government will never allow any person, any political party and any organisation under any name to separate any piece of Chinese territory from China at any time and in any form", Mr He said.

The retired general told the Shangri-La dialogue the recent decision to eject China from the Rim of the Pacific multilateral naval exercise was an initial and "relatively small" effect of Beijing's escalating activities in the South China Sea, which he said were a breach of a 2015 commitment by Chinese President Xi Jinping not to militarise island features in the territory.

Chinese J-15 fighter jets on the deck of the Liaoning aircraft carrier during military drills in the South China Sea on 2 January 2017.

As expected, the Pentagon chief gave only a brief mention of the ongoing negotiations for an historic summit later this month between President Trump and North Korean leader Kim Jong Un. Trump announced Friday that the meeting was back on.

Related news

[an error occurred while processing the directive]