In his speech to the Shangri-La Dialogue, sponsored by the International Institute for Strategic Studies, Mattis launched into sharp criticism of what he called Beijing’s disregard for international law by its “indisputable militarisation” of artificial islands in disputed areas of the South China Sea.
“We cannot and will not accept unilateral, coercive changes to the status quo” in the South China Sea, he said.
Overall, Mattis’ speech struck a positive, hopeful tone for co-operation and peace in the Asia-Pacific region, where he and his predecessors have made it a priority to nurture and strengthen alliances and partnerships.
“While competition between the U.S. and China, the world’s two largest economies, is bound to occur, conflict is not inevitable,” he said. “Our two countries can and do co-operate for mutual benefit. We will pledge to work closely with China where we share common cause.”
- Philippines’ Duterte says he is open to South China Sea deals with Beijing (japantimes.co.jp)
- Duterte wishes success for South China Sea talks as he meets Xi, Li (rappler.com)
- Chinese jets ‘intercept US surveillance plane’ (telegraph.co.uk)
- ‘Only logical’ for Trump to meet Dalai Lama: Tibetan leader (thegazette.com)
- China warned US destroyer to leave area near man-made island, official says (foxnews.com)