Singapore, June 3: As the world leaders reach at their ally’s as well their rival nations, US Defence Secretary Jim Mattis reaches at Singapore to attend the annual Shangri-La Dialogue forum, Asia Security Summit on Saturday. He warned that Washington will not accept China's militarisation of man-made islands in the South China Sea. He further said that such moves undermined regional stability.
It’s not unknown that China's territorial claims in the resource-rich South China Sea are contested by several nations. Mattis said, US cannot and will not accept unilateral, coercive changes to the status quo. President Donald Trump and other senior US officials have repeatedly stated that America would protect its interests in the South China Sea, a key shipping route. Defence Secretary's comments came shortly after the UN Security Council had expanded targeted sanctions against North Korea in response to a series of missile tests conducted by Pyongyang this year.
The United States has struggled to slow North Korea’s nuclear and missile programmes, which have become a security priority given Pyongyang’s vow to develop a nuclear-tipped missile capable of hitting the US mainland. The Trump administration has been pressing China aggressively to rein in its reclusive neighbour, warning all options are on the table if North Korea persists with its weapons programmes.
“The Trump administration is encouraged by China’s renewed commitment to work with the international community toward denuclearisation,” Mattis said. He also said “extremist groups” must be defeated not only in Iraq and Syria but also in Southeast Asia and that the United States was working with countries in the region to improve information sharing.
The US was training and advising troops in the south of the Philippines, he added. The United States has a small number of rotational troops in the country.