13:13 GMT19 January 2021
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    James Mattis said that the United States would continue to oppose China’s island-building and militarization of the disputed South China Sea.

    MOSCOW (Sputnik) — US Defense Secretary James Mattis vowed Saturday the United States would continue to oppose China’s island-building and militarization of the disputed South China Sea but stressed peace was still an option.

    "We cannot accept Chinese actions that impinge on the interest of the international community, undermining the rules-based order that has benefited all countries… While competition between the US and China, the world’s two largest economies, is bound to occur, conflict is not inevitable," Mattis said in a speech at the Shangri-La Dialogue in Singapore.

    He continued to say that the United States "oppose countries militarizing artificial islands and enforcing excessive maritime claims unsupported by international law. We cannot and will not accept unilateral coercive changes to the status quo."


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