China rejects 'ridiculous' US accusation of South China Sea militarisation

Larry Hoffman
June 1, 2018

Dr Chong linked China's actions in the South China Sea with the potential summit meeting of U.S. President Trump and North Korea leader Kim Jong-un.

"When they do things that are opaque to the rest of us, we can't cooperate in areas that we would otherwise cooperate in", Mattis told reporters. "I don't want to blame Congress, you must have your own reasons for not giving us P30 billion annually", he added.

China dispatched heavy bombers to contested territories in the region in mid-May. "This is merely set aside in the meantime, in line with the efforts of government at promoting peace, stability, and cordial relations among claimant countries in the region", Esperon said in a statement sent to media Wednesday.

The United States is not daunted by Beijing's confrontation in its recent operation in the disputed South China Sea where the latter claims ownership.

The United States' claims that China is militarizing the South China Sea are "ridiculous", China said on Thursday, after U.S. Defense Secretary Jim Mattis said Washington would continue to confront Beijing's actions in the disputed waterways.

Esperon also assured that the Duterte administration was not abandoning the Philippines' legal victory against China's territorial claims in the South China Sea, although it refused to assert the arbitration court's decision.

Responding to a question about the U.S. Navy deploying warships and conducting a freedom of navigation operation (FONOP) in the South China Sea near Paracel Islands on May 27, Dr Lean said he wouldn't say the U.S. reaction was weak, but rather that it could be more robust.

"You'll notice there is only one country that seems to take active steps to rebuff them or state their resentment (to) them, but it's global waters and a lot of nations want to see freedom of navigation", Mattis told reporters while en route to Hawaii, where he will oversee a change of command for U.S. Pacific Command.

Its neighbours, particularly some of those involved in maritime disputes over the waters, have expressed fears China could eventually restrict freedom of navigation and overflight.

Mattis said, the USA will maintain a "steady drum beat" in the South China Sea to "confront" China for actions that Washington deems to "be out of step with global law" and worldwide tribunal rulings. The operation that was conducted on Sunday had been undergoing drills and planning for months on end.

"(The sailings) contravened Chinese and relevant global law, seriously infringed upon Chinese sovereignty (and) harmed strategic mutual trust between the two militaries", he said.

He said the Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) had been raising China's militarization and other WPS concerns at the Bilateral Consultative Mechanism (BCM) between China and the Philippines.

He is stopping in Hawaii to mark a change in leadership at US Pacific Command. The Higgins is one of two U.S warships that sailed through the South China Sea over the weekend.

Mattis is set to deliver a speech on Saturday titled "US leadership and the challenges of Indo-Pacific security", which makes reference to China's increasing maritime competition with powers such as the U.S. and India.

Harris has been nominated to become the next US ambassador to South Korea.

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