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SINGAPORE – The placement of weapon systems on artificial islands in the South China Sea is designed to intimidate and coerce others in the region, Defense Secretary James Mattis said on Saturday. , presenting an acute criticism of Beijing in an international security forum and threatening with greater consequences if the militarization continues.
Mattis warned that the recent movement of the United States to disinvest China from a multinational naval exercise this summer was an "initial response" to the militarization of the islands. It was, he said, a "relatively small consequence, I think there are much bigger consequences in the future".
China depends on the muscles to use weapons to achieve targets not favored by international courts "is not a way to make" the rule of the road in a region that is important to the future of China, "said Mattis, when asked to elaborate more on the consequences.
"There are consequences that will continue to come home, so to speak, with China, if they do not find a way to work more in collaboration with all the nations that have interests"
The United States, he said, remains committed to ensuring free and open transit in the region in And he said he does not think China's actions are worth it. Militarizing the islands, said Mattis, will not improve China's position in the world.
"Despite China's claims to the contrary, the placement of these weapons systems is directly linked to military use for intimidation and coercion," Mattis said. , referring to the recent deployment of anti-ship missiles, surface-to-air missiles, electronic blockers and other equipment in the Spratly Islands, and the landing of bomber aircraft on Woody Island.
Mattis also hit one of the keys, ancient disputes between the US. UU and China, telling the conference that the United States will continue to provide defense equipment and services to Taiwan and oppose any effort to alter the status quo.