SINGAPORE – Pentagon chief Jim Mattis on Saturday criticized China’s actions in the South China Sea, saying Beijing showed “contempt” for other nations’ interests.
“The scope and effect of China’s construction activities in the South China Sea differ from those of other countries in several key ways,” Mattis told the Shangri-La regional defense summit in Singapore.
“This includes the nature of its militarization... China’s disregard for international law... (and) its contempt for other nations’ interests.”
Mattis’ remarks come as China builds up a series of artificial islands on shoals and reefs in contested waters in the South China Sea, which has sparked broad concern among its neighbors.
He urged regional nations to seek solutions through mediation.
“We are going to have to work together,” Mattis said.
“I don’t think there’s room right now to pushing adversarial approaches.”
The US Navy on May 25 conducted a “freedom of navigation” operation in the South China Sea, when the USS Dewey guided-missile destroyer sailed within 12 nautical miles of Mischief (Panganiban) Reef in the Spratly Islands.
China claims nearly all of the South China Sea, despite partial counter-claims from Taiwan and several southeast Asian nations including the Philippines, Brunei, Malaysia and Vietnam.
It has rapidly built reefs into artificial islands capable of hosting military planes.
Read the full story at PhilStar