09:50 GMT +323 May 2019
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    In this undated photo released by Xinhua News Agency, a Chinese H-6K bomber patrols the islands and reefs in the South China Sea.

    US Defense Secretary Mattis Slams China for Militarising South China Sea Islands

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    US Defense Secretary Jim Mattis said that Chinese actions in South China Sea call into question China's broader goals.

    US Defense Secretary slammed China for building up military presence on artificial South China Sea islands and threatening Taiwan.

    "Despite China’s claims to the contrary, the placement of these weapon systems is tied directly to the military use for the purposes of intimidation and coercion," he said Saturday at an annual security summit in Singapore.

    He noted however, that cooperation with China was "welcome when possible," promising to travel to Beijing soon as part of Washington's "constructive, results-oriented" cooperation strategy with China.

    Mattis also said that the United States will continue to expand and deepen its connectivity in the Indo-Pacific region.

    "So make no mistake, America is in the Indo-Pacific to stay," the secretary said at Shangri-La Dialogue summit.

    Mattis stressed no one nation should dominate Indo-Pacific and called sea lanes "arteries of economic vitality for all," in a thinly-veiled warning to China.

    Speaking at the summit, Mattis also noted that the United States had a history of cooperating with both Russia and China and stressed they should be able to overcome their differences.

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    Tags:
    James Mattis, Spratly Islands, South China Sea, China, United States
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