US Defence Secretary Jim Mattis said that US is highly concerned about Chinese military activities in the South China Sea and its “predatory economic behaviour” in the region.
Recently a Chinese navy war ship came too close to US war ship in the South China Sea that US called extremely dangerous maneuver.
Mattis said, “We remain highly concerned with continued militarization of features in the South China Sea. Plus, we look at what we consider to be almost predatory — in some cases certainly predatory economic behaviour”.
Mattis said that US and China are two major powers in pacific region and military relationship is a stabilizing force in the relations. He said that US is not seeing a more “military confrontational approach” like China.
He said, “So, we’re two large powers, or two Pacific powers, two economic powers. There’s going to be times we step on each other’s toes, so we’re going to have to find a way to productively manage our relationship. And the military relationship is to be a stabilizing force in the relations between the two countries”.
Mattis asserted that US will continue to sail and fly in the South China Sea to maintain the freedom of navigation under international law, and US’ policy will not change in this case like it happened during previous administration.
He said, “In the South China Sea, over many American administrations, we have said that in international airspace, international waters, we will fly or sail. You’ve seen that continue. And my relationship with my counterpart has in no way changed over this”.
He added, “And then you’re seeing, too, that we continue to sail through areas, but even if you go back to when President Obama and President Xi were meeting in the Rose Garden, President Xi vowed that he would not militarize the Spratly Islands for example. That happened, but our policy has not changed, we do not accept that. So no one nation can change the international rules of the road”.