United States Defense Secretary James Mattis
United States Defense Secretary James Mattis

US Defense Secretary warns Beijing of military presence in South China Sea

ANI | Updated: Jun 02, 2018 23:04 IST

Singapore [Singapore], June 2 (ANI): United States Defense Secretary James Mattis has asked nations to watch out for Chinese military presence in the Indo-Pacific region.
During the Indo-Pacific session held as part of the International Institute of Strategic Studies's (IISS) Shangri-La dialogue held at Singapore on Friday, Mattis accused China of intimidation in the region especially in the South China Sea, as reported by CNN.
He also made it clear that the United States military would remain in its place to guard the region, as he said "Make no mistake: America is in the Indo-Pacific to stay. This is our priority theater."
He specified the militarisation by Beijing on the South China Sea's artificial islands including Wuzhizhou Island which was earlier threatened to be demolished by the United States.
Mattis further offered to hold peace talks with China to address latter's economic challenges among others if it agrees to give up its military control over the artificial islands.
"We are aware China will face an array of challenges and opportunities in coming years, we are prepared to support China's choices if they promote long-term peace and prosperity for all in this dynamic region," Mattis said.
He further accused Chinese policy with respect to the South China Sea which he calls to be in "stark contrast" to the US' open strategy and questioned its "broader goals" with respect to the Asia Pacific region.
The session was also attended by Prime Minister Narendra Modi along with his several counterparts from the Asia Pacific region at Shangri-La hotel in Singapore. (ANI)