United States will face China for islands, Mattis says



HONOLULU – The United States will continue to face China's militarization of man-made islands in the South China Sea, Defense Secretary James Mattis said on Tuesday, arguing that Beijing has not kept its promise not to put guns on the Islands. Spratly [19659002] Mattis said that US ships are maintaining a "steady rhythm" of naval operations around the disputed islands, adding that "only one country" seems to be upset by the ships' routine activities.

"We are going out of our way to cooperate with Pacific nations, that's the way we do business in the world," Mattis told reporters traveling with him to a national security conference in Singapore. "But we are also going to face what we believe is out of step with international law, out of step with international tribunals that have ruled on the issue."

Underscoring ongoing tensions in the region, two Philippine officials said on Wednesday that their government protested silently after Chinese ships deployed a helicopter that flew "dangerously close" to a navy ship carrying supplies to the US Marines. in a shoal disputed in the South China Sea.

Philippine Navy personnel aboard the rubber boat were unharmed in the May 11 incident and proceeded to deliver supplies to the Marines on a Philippine Navy ship at second Thomas Shoal, which has been guarded by Chinese forces, said the two officers.

The Chinese helicopter hovered "dangerously close" to the Philippine rubber boat, "about 40-50 feet high, apparently trying to harbad and dump it," said one of the officers, who spoke on condition of anonymity because I was not authorized. d speak publicly about the incident.

The Philippines and China recently held talks to avoid a repeat of the incident, prompting the "displeasure" of President Rodrigo Duterte, the official said.

Rep. Gary Alejano, a former naval officer from the Philippines, mentioned the incident during a House of Representatives hearing on Wednesday that focused on the territorial issue of the South China Sea and was attended by senior defense officials and diplomats. Alejano asked the government to condemn Chinese harbadment.

The helicopter of the Chinese navy "was so close that the seawater entered the rubber boat," said Alejano, who asked the government to divulge more details of such incidents to the public. [19659002] "If the Duterte administration wants the public to trust its focus on the western sea of ​​the Philippines, certain details for public consumption must be disclosed," Alejano said in a statement, using the Filipino name for the South Sea. China.

You can not blame the public if there are doubts and little confidence in their words, since what they are spreading and what is happening on the ground are two different stories, "said Alejano.

After taking power he makes Nearly two years, Duterte said he would draw a foreign policy not highly oriented towards the United States, the ally of the country's treaty, and took steps to revive frozen ties with Beijing while seeking to boost China's trade, investment and infrastructure funds.

The United States has long criticized China's radical claims of sovereignty in the South China Sea.On Sunday, two US warships sailed near the Paracel Islands, which are to the north of the Spratlys, the last freedom of navigation operation designed to challenge Beijing's claims, China protested the maneuver.

According to the US, Freedom Missions of navigation are intended to underline the rights of the US. UU And others to operate in international waters and airspace and block the efforts of any nation to illegally extend their borders or territories rights.

But Washington has expressed its dissatisfaction in other ways, last week it withdrew an invitation for Beijing to participate in a major multinational naval exercise in the Pacific later this summer. China participated in the exercise known as Rim of the Pacific in 2014 and 2016.

The Pentagon said the decision to disinvest the Chinese navy was due to what he called strong evidence that China deployed anti-ship missiles, from surface to air missile systems and electronic interference devices to areas disputed in the Spratly Islands. He asked China to eliminate the systems.

China says it is within its rights to build defenses on the islands of the South China Sea that it believes are its sovereign territory.

Mattis was in Hawaii on his way to the Singapore Meeting to attend the ceremony marking the change of leadership in the Pacific Command of the United States.

Navy Admiral Philip Davidson would take over Admiral Harry Harris' Pacific Command on Wednesday.

Harris was nominated to become the next US ambbadador to South Korea.

The information for this article was provided by Jim Gomez of The Associated Press.

One section on 05/31/2018

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