Mattis Accuses China of Intimidating Neighbors, China Criticizes ‘Irresponsible’ Remarks

James Mattis DoD photo by Army Sgt. Amber I. Smith
James Mattis DoD photo by Army Sgt. Amber I. Smith

The U.S. Defense Secretary James Mattis said China was deploying missiles in the South China sea to ‘intimidate and coerce its neighbors’.

James Mattis said China’s actions in the South China Sea set questions on Beijing’s broader goal into the disputed regions.

Secretary Mattis said: “The placement of these weapon systems is tied directly to military use for the purpose of intimidation and coercion.”

Criticizing Beijing’s militarization of Spratlys, Mattis said: “China’s militarization of the Spratlys is also in direct contradiction to President Xi Jinping’s 2015 public assurances in the White House Rose Garden that they would not do this.”

Warning of larger consequences in future, James Mattis added: “I believe there are much larger consequences in the future when nations lose the rapport of their neighbors when they believe that piling mountainous debts on their neighbors and somehow removing the freedom of political action is the way to engage with them.

“If the U.S. will continue to pursue a constructive results-oriented relationship with China, cooperation, whenever possible, will be the name of the game and competing vigorously where we must,” Mattis said.

Regretting a Chinese policy in the South China Sea that stands in ‘stark contrast’ that of the U.S. Mattis said: “Our Indo-Pacific strategy informs our relationship with China. China’s policy in the South China Sea stands in stark contrast to the openness of our strategy.”

The Chinese officials, however, said the remarks made by the U.S. Defense Secretary were irresponsible.

China’s Lieutenant General He Lei said: “any irresponsible comments from other countries cannot be accepted.”

Lieutenant General He Lei added: “We see any other country that tries to make noise about this as interfering in our internal affairs.”

The South China Sea is a key trade route. The South China Sea is subjected to overlapping claims by Malaysia, Brunei, Vietnam, China, the Philippines, and Taiwan.


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