Stop militarising South China Sea: Washington warns Beijing after talks
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.