U.S. presses China to halt militarization of South China Sea
WASHINGTON (Reuters) – Standing aspect by way of aspect, most sensible U.S. officers advised their Chinese opposite numbers on Friday to halt militarization of the disputed South China Sea, drawing a rebuke from the Chinese for sending U.S. warships shut to islands claimed by way of Beijing within the strategic waterway.
During a spherical of high-level talks in Washington, the 2 facets aired in from time to time blunt phrases many of their major variations, together with a sour industry dispute, freedom of navigation in Asia-Pacific waters, self-ruled Taiwan, and China’s crackdown on its Muslim minority.
Two visiting senior Chinese officers additionally seized the chance to warn publicly industry conflict between the arena’s two biggest economies would finally end up hurting all sides and to name for maintaining channels of conversation open to get to the bottom of a subject that has unsettled world monetary markets.
Despite the displaying of grievances, the talks seemed aimed toward controlling the wear and tear to members of the family that has worsened in fresh months and at paving the best way for an come upon between U.S. President Donald Trump and Chinese President Xi Jinping on the Group of 20 summit in Argentina on the finish of November.
“The United States is not pursuing a Cold War or containment policy with respect to China,” U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo instructed a joint information convention.
Even because the United States and China confront tricky demanding situations, “cooperation remains essential on many issues,” he mentioned, mentioning efforts to convince North Korea to abandon its nuclear program.
The assembly paired Pompeo and Defense Secretary Jim Mattis with Chinese Politburo member Yang Jiechi and Defense Minister Wei Fenghe. The annual U.S.-China Diplomatic and Security Dialogue was once firstly set for Beijing closing month however were known as off amid emerging tensions.
Pompeo took intention at China over its persevered development of army installations on synthetic islands and reefs within the South China Sea, the place China insists it has sovereignty regardless of competing claims from some smaller neighbors.
“We have continued concerns about China’s activities and militarization in the South China Sea,” Pompeo mentioned following the talks. “We pressed China to live up to its past commitments in this area.”
Yang mentioned China was once dedicated to “non-confrontation” however that Beijing had the suitable to construct “necessary defense facilities” on what it considers its personal territory and advised Washington to forestall sending warships and armed forces planes shut to the islands that Beijing claims.
Mattis made transparent that this call for move unheeded by way of Washington, which insists it’s performing beneath global regulation to keep get entry to for it and others to the South China Sea.
Responding sharply to Pompeo’s point out of Taiwan, which China considers a wayward province however which is armed by way of Washington, Wei mentioned Beijing would shield its declare at the island “at any cost.”
But Wei and Mattis agreed at the want to decrease U.S.-China army tensions to steer clear of accidental clashes, with the Chinese basic pronouncing war of words “will spell disaster to all.” Washington has protested to Beijing about fresh conduct by way of its warships that the U.S. Navy thought to be unsafe.
While Pompeo spoke little about industry in his public feedback, Yang mentioned he was hoping the 2 facets would discover a mutually applicable resolution at the factor “before long.”
China and the United States have slapped price lists on masses of billions of greenbacks of every different’s items, jolting world monetary markets, and Trump has threatened to set price lists at the the rest of China’s $500 billion-plus exports to the United States if the industry dispute can’t be resolved.
Trump’s management has additionally accused China of meddling in U.S. politics forward of this week’s congressional elections, fees China strongly denies.
Reflecting rising U.S. issues in regards to the Chinese cyber risk, a senior U.S. intelligence reputable on Thursday accused China of violating a 2015 settlement aimed toward preventing cyber espionage during the hacking of govt and company knowledge.
Pompeo additionally reiterated U.S. complaint of China’s “repression of religious groups,” mentioning remedy of Buddhists in Tibet and minority Uighur Muslims within the Xinjiang area that has drawn condemnation from human rights teams.
Yang defended China’s insurance policies in Xinjiang as measures in opposition to “ethnic separatist activities and violent terrorist crimes” however mentioned it was once a Chinese interior affair and overseas governments must no longer intrude.
Reporting by way of Matt Spetalnick and Idrees Ali; further reporting by way of Doina Chiacu and Mohammad Zargham; Editing by way of James Dalgleish and Tom Brown