US Defense Secretary Jim Mattis warns that Washington will “compete vigorously” if China continues its actions in the South China Sea.
“China’s policy in the South China Sea stands in stark contrast to the openness our strategy promises, it calls into question China’s broader goals,” Mattis said in prepared remarks at the annual Shangri-La Dialogue in Singapore on Friday.
“The US will continue to pursue a constructive, results-oriented relationship with China, cooperating when possible and competing vigorously where we must… of course we recognize any sustainable Indo-Pacific order has a role for China,” he added.
His remarks came a few hours after the Pentagon’s Joint Staff director, Gen. Kenneth McKenzie, indirectly threatened China, saying the US military could “take down” Beijing’s artificial islands in the South China Sea.
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