Mattis warns of Chinese 'intimidation'; says U.S. seeks 'results-oriented' ties

Mattis warns of Chinese 'intimidation'; says U.S. seeks 'results-oriented' ties

Mattis warns of Chinese 'intimidation'; says U.S. seeks 'results-oriented' ties

It came just hours after US Defense Secretary Jim Mattis told the security summit that China's military build-up and deployment of weapon systems in the contested sea was aimed at intimidating its neighbors.

China's activities, Mattis said in his speech Saturday, stand "in stark contrast to the openness of what our strategy promotes; It calls into question China's broader goals".

"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.

It comes days after Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte was said to have threatened war if his troops were harmed in the area, which his country also lays claim to.

"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", Mr Mattis said.

Despite his criticism, Gen Mattis added that the USA would "continue to pursue a constructive, results-oriented relationship with China" with "co-operation whenever possible".

The Pentagon chief said the United States was "steadfastly committed to working with Taiwan to provide defence articles" consistent with the "obligations set out in our Taiwan Relations Act".

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.

Mattis' comments triggered an equally pointed reaction from a Chinese official at the meeting.

Mattis emphasized that the USA military wants more transparency from China.

He also blasted Chinese President Xi Jinping for reneging on a 2015 promise made at the White House that Beijing would not militarize the island features in the South China Sea.

"This in turn gives the U.S. more excuses to exert military pressure, causing regional tensions to spiral", it said.

Last month, China landed bomber aircraft on islands and reefs in the sea as part of a military training exercise. "I believe there are much larger consequences in the future".

The defence secretary also confirmed the Pentagon was keen to help Taiwan defend itself, in comments that were likely to further anger China, which also claims the island.

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

Trump said on Friday an unprecedented nuclear arms summit with North Korean leader Kim Jong Un that the United States pulled out of will now go ahead as scheduled on June 12 in Singapore, adding another twist to a high-stakes diplomatic dance.

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 USA troops in South Korea will not be "on the table".

He did however, seek to calm nervous allies in the region.

Mattis has tried to avoid weighing in on the summit, deferring questions to the State Department and Trump's national security team.

"Our objective remains the complete, verifiable, and irreversible denuclearisation of the Korean peninsula".

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