US Will “Compete Vigorously” in South China Sea, Mattis Warns Beijing

(From Politico)

The United States will “compete vigorously” with China’s actions in the South China Sea if needed, Defense Secretary Jim Mattis said on Saturday, but insisted Washington was still willing to work with Beijing on a “results-oriented” relationship.

“China’s policy in the South China Sea stands in stark contrast to the openness our strategy promises, it calls into question China’s broader goals,” Mattis said at the International Institute for Strategic Studies Shangri-La Dialogue in Singapore.

“The U.S. will continue to pursue a constructive, results-oriented relationship with China, cooperating when possible and competing vigorously where we must … of course we recognize any sustainable Indo-Pacific order has a role for China.

Mattis’ speech came amid increased rivalry between China and the U.S., as Washington again challenged Beijing’s increasing maritime dominance in the region, mainly over its vast territorial claims and militarization of islands in strategic waters.

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