US: China 'intimidating neighbours'
China's military build-up in the South China Sea and its deployment of high-end weapons systems in the disputed waterway is designed to intimidate and coerce neighbours, US Defence Secretary Jim Mattis said
Jim Mattis. Pic/AFP
China's military build-up in the South China Sea and its deployment of high-end weapons systems in the disputed waterway is designed to intimidate and coerce neighbours, US Defence Secretary Jim Mattis said.
The Pentagon chief also said the US military continues to support diplomats pushing for the "complete, verifiable and irreversible" denuclearisation of the Korean peninsula. Mattis said Beijing had deployed a range of military hardware including missiles and electronic jammers across the South China Sea, where it has built islets and other maritime features into hardened military facilities.
"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," Mattis told the Shangri-La Dialogue. He also blasted Chinese President Xi Jinping for reneging on a 2015 promise made at the White House that Beijing would not militarise the island features in the South China Sea.
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