South China Sea dispute: Beijing attacks 'irresponsible' United States comments

South China Sea dispute: Beijing attacks 'irresponsible' United States comments

A French maritime task group, together with British helicopters and ships, will visit Singapore next week and then sail into certain areas of the South China Sea, French armed forces minister Florence Parly announced, according to the South China Morning Post.

China is deploying missiles in the disputed South China Sea to intimidate and coerce its neighbours, US Defence Secretary James Mattis has said.

"I believe there are much larger consequences in the future when nations lose the rapport of their neighbors. eventually these [actions] do not pay off", he said.

The militaries of both China and the United States should adhere to the principles of non-conflict, non-confrontation, mutual respect and win-win cooperation, as well as promote the development of ties between both nations, a senior Chinese military official said here on Saturday.

Mattis is speaking at the Shangri-La Dialogue conference that includes defense chiefs, analysts and other leaders from the region.

The comments came on the heels of a string of events that highlight the tension between the world's two biggest economies over the South China Sea's disputed waters.

China has also landed heavy bombers on Woody Island in the Paracel Islands.

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.

The Pentagon cited strong evidence that China has deployed anti-ship missiles, surface-to-air missile systems and electronic jammers to contested areas in the Spratly Islands.

US justification of steel tariffs is 'grotesque' - German steel body
Europe did not want a trade war, he said, but Washington had to back down from "unjustified, unjustifiable and unsafe tariffs". He said he planned to travel to China on Friday for trade talks between the world's two biggest economies.

Beijing's actions were aimed at "national defence", he added in quotes reported by AFP.

But he says the US welcomes cooperation with China wherever possible, and says he accepted Beijing's invitation to visit there soon.

"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.

A study by Asia Maritime Transparency Initiative (AMTI) found past year that China had built military length airstrips on the previously uninhabited Fiery Cross, Mischief and Subi reefs in the Spratlys.

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.

Mattis also sought to calm nervous allies in the region. -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.

The US is reportedly considering a more assertive approach in the region, including longer patrols, more warships and closer surveillance of Chinese bases.

He added that the status of USA troops in South Korea was not on the table when Trump and Kim meet, but left the door open to the issue being discussed down the road between Seoul and Washington if certain conditions were met.

"We've been sending a clear message to all that the freedom of navigation is absolutely critical", he said. Despite frequent warnings from Washington about China's rising might and the pitfalls of its "Belt and Road" global infrastructure initiative, Beijing has faced few consequences for its South China Sea build-up and sweeping territorial claims.

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