Defense Secretary Mattis Warns Of Chinese Intimidation In Disputed Waterway

NPR News
Date: June 2, 2018
By: Shannon Van Sant

From left, U.S. Defense Secretary Jim Mattis, Japan’s Defense Minister Itsunori Onodera and China’s People’s Liberation Army’s Academy of Military Science Deputy President He Lei pose for photos at a ministerial roundtable on the sidelines of the 17th International Institute for Strategic Studies (IISS) Shangri-la Dialogue.  Yong Teck Lim/AP

Defense Secretary James Mattis is warning China there will be consequences if it continues its military buildup in the South China Sea. In comments at the Shangri-La Dialogue, an international security forum in Singapore over the weekend, Mattis said Beijing’s moves were designed to intimidate other countries in the region.

“China’s policy in the South China Sea stands in stark contrast to the openness that our strategy promotes, it calls into question China’s broader goals,” Mattis said.

China has built artificial islands in the disputed South China Sea, and the U.S. military says there is a high possibility that China has installed anti-ship and anti-aircraft missiles, as part of military exercises. Airstrips have already been constructed, and in May, China landed nuclear capable bombers on contested islands in the area.

“The placement of these weapon systems is tied directly to military use for the purpose of intimidation and coercion,” Mattis said, adding, “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.”    [FULL  STORY]