US Defense Secretary Mattis Slams China for Militarising South China Sea Islands

PM Modi meets US Defence Secretary in Singapore

Beijing's military buildup in the South China Sea calls into question its broader goals in the region, the United States secretary of defense told a high-profile global security forum on Saturday.

"I think it is an objective fact that Russian Federation has more in common with Western Europe and the United States than they have in common with China".

James Mattis said China's actions in the region stood in "stark contrast" to the U.S. policy of openness and called into question China's goals.

Two U.S. warships sailed close to the Paracel Islands on May 27 in the latest freedom of navigation operation created to challenge Beijing's claims.

Specifically, the Pentagon chief mentioned China's deployment of anti-ship and surface-to-air missiles, electronic jammers, and the landing of a bomber aircraft at the Paracel Islands off the coast of Vietnam.

"Despite China's claims to the contrary, the placement of these weapon systems is tied directly to military use for the purposes of intimidation and coercion", Mattis told the Shangri-La Dialogue.

Reuters first reported that two US Navy warships sailed near South China Sea islands claimed by China on Sunday.

"I believe that what we are going to see is at some point in both Moscow and Beijing they are going to recognize the reality", Mattis said.

Mattis' remarks follow a rocky past few weeks in US-China relations as the administration of US President Donald Trump seeks to balance cooperation with China on issues like North Korea with dealing with Beijing's activities in the disputed sea.

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"It should be very easy to brief us", Giuliani said . "The president has every right to know as commander-in-chief", he said. House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi has urged Democratic colleagues not to stress impeachment before the elections this year.

U.S. Secretary of Defense Jim Mattis arrives to give an address at the Shangri-la Dialogue in Singapore, June 2, 2018.

While the operation had been planned months in advance, and similar operations have become routine, it came at a particularly sensitive time and just days after the Pentagon withdrew an invitation to China for a major USA -hosted naval drill.

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

"Co-operation whenever possible will be the name of the game and competing vigorously where we must. of course we recognise any sustainable Indo-Pacific order has a role for China". "It calls into question China's broader goals".

China claims the self-governing island as its own territory to be brought under its control by force, if necessary.

The US wanted complete denuclearisation of the Korean peninsula, he added.

Delegates hoping for clarity on Trump's intentions for a scheduled June 12 summit with North Korean leader Kim did not get much from Mattis, though he said the issue of the permanent deployment of about 28,5000 U.S. troops in South Korea will not be "on the table".

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.

Mr. Mattis said little about North Korea in his speech, which came just hours after Mr. Trump said that the June 12 talks in Singapore with the North's leader, Kim Jong-un, were back on.

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