Stop mil­i­taris­ing South China Sea: Wash­ing­ton warns Bei­jing af­ter talks

Hindustan Times ST (Jaipur) - - World - As­so­ci­ated Press let­ters@hin­dus­tan­times.com

The US has bluntly warned China to halt mil­i­taris­ing the South China Sea, fol­low­ing bi­lat­eral talks in Wash­ing­ton on Fri­day. In re­sponse, China called upon the US to stop send­ing ships and mil­i­tary air­craft close to is­lands claimed by Bei­jing in the South China Sea.

The US pushed back, in­sist­ing it will con­tinue to “fly, sail and op­er­ate wher­ever in­ter­na­tional law al­lows”.

The talks set the stage for a meet­ing be­tween Pres­i­dent Donald Trump and Pres­i­dent Xi Jin­ping later this month.

De­spite the frank air­ing of dif­fer­ences at the meet­ing in Wash­ing­ton of the two na­tions’ top diplo­mats and mil­i­tary chiefs, both sides stressed the need to tamp down ten­sions, which have flared amid a bit­ter trade dis­pute that Trump and Xi are ex­pected to tackle at the Group of 20 sum­mit in Ar­gentina.

“The US is not pur­su­ing a pol­icy of Cold War con­tain­ment with China,” Sec­re­tary of State Mike Pom­peo told re­porters fol­low­ing the US-China Diplo­matic and Se­cu­rity Di­a­logue. “Rather we want to en­sure that China acts re­spon­si­bly in sup­port of se­cu­rity and pros­per­ity of each of our two coun­tries.”

Pom­peo’s Chi­nese coun­ter­part, Yang Jiechi, said, “The Chi­nese side made it clear to the US that it should stop send­ing its ves­sels and mil­i­tary air­craft close to Chi­nese is­lands and reefs and stop ac­tions that un­der­mine Chi­nese author­ity and se­cu­rity in­ter­ests.”

Chi­nese de­fense min­is­ter Wei Fenghe and US de­fense sec­re­tary Jim Mat­tis also at­tended the talks.

WASH­ING­TON:

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