SINGAPORE – The United States warned China on Saturday, June 1, against threatening its neighbors’ sovereignty and said Washington was investing in new military technology in the next 5 years to keep Asia stable. (READ: Duterte on China: Is it right for a country to claim entire sea?)
“China can and should have a cooperative relationship with the rest of the region … But behavior that erodes other nations’ sovereignty and sows distrust of China’s intentions must end,” acting US Secretary of Defense Patrick Shanahan told a regional security forum in Singapore.
“Until it does, we stand against a myopic, narrow, and parochial vision of the future, and we stand for the free and open order that has benefitted us all, including China.”
Shanahan said the United States was investing heavily in the Indo-Pacific region to maintain its military superiority and capability to defend its Asian allies.
Washington and Beijing have been vying for influence in the region which hosts potential flashpoints such as the South China Sea, Korean Peninsula and the Taiwan Strait.
Ties between the two powers are expected to take center stage at the Singapore conference which gathers defense ministers and top military officials from around the world.
For the first time since 2011, China has sent its defense minister to the gathering.
“When we talk about preparedness, we mean having the right capabilities in the right places to respond to crises, and to compete with and deter high-end adversaries,” the Pentagon chief said.
While the United States does not seek conflict, it knows that having the capability to win wars is the best deterrence, he said.
“We want to ensure no adversary believes it can successfully achieve political objectives through military force,” he said.
On Friday, May 31, Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte questioned China’s claim to the entire South China Sea during a speech in Japan. He called for the completion of the Code of Conduct in the South China Sea to reduce the risks of conflict in the disputed area.
But Duterte also said that the US should keep its distance when it came to issues with China and the South China Sea, as clashes between the two would make the situation worse.
“Somebody should reach out to the United States because if you leave it to them to talk, nothing will happen. There is so much animosity covered by talking about how they desire to have an agreement,” said Duterte.
He suggested a neutral 3rd party bridge to speed up the code of conduct. – Rappler.com