Pompeo urges China to halt South China Sea militarization

Pompeo urges China to halt South China Sea militarization

Pompeo urges China to halt South China Sea militarization

Pompeo took aim at China over its continued building of military installations on artificial islands and reefs in the South China Sea, where China insists it has sovereignty despite competing claims from some smaller neighbors.

Secretary of State Mike Pompeo and Defense Secretary James Mattis spoke to the press alongside their Chinese counterparts after the four officials held a security and diplomatic dialogue meant to prepare their leaders for a meeting at the Group of 20 summit in Argentina later this month.

Even as the United States and China butt heads over trade, their top diplomats and defense chiefs will be meeting in Washington Friday, looking to tamp down tensions on other issues that have put a chill on relations between the two world powers. "Rather we want to ensure that China acts responsibly and fairly in support of security and prosperity of each of our two countries".

Mike Pompeo made the comments during high-level talks with Chinese officials in Washington DC.

Pompeo said the USA side had been "forthright in addressing significant differences between our nations" and laid out the Trump administration's larger goal.

"Regarding our strong ties with a democratic Taiwan, I reiterated the USA policy has not changed and that we are concerned about China's increasing efforts to coerce others, constraining Taiwan's global space", Pompeo's statement read at the State Department's website.

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Trump has railed against China for what he sees as intellectual property theft, entry barriers to USA business and a gaping trade deficit.

Wei warned that "confrontation or conflict between the two militaries will spell disaster for all" and said that "cooperation is the only option for us".

US officials said they would not halt so-called freedom-of-navigation patrols that are aimed at ensuring countries do not restrict traffic in worldwide waters.

Mattis made clear that this demand go unheeded by Washington, which insists it is acting under global law to preserve access for it and others to the South China Sea.

Both nations have been seeking ways to lessen tension, maintain open lines of communication and reduce the risk of miscalculations in the South China Sea.

Yang pushed back hard.

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In response, China fired off a fierce rebuke, bluntly telling the U.S. to stop sending ships and military aircraft close to islands claimed by Beijing.

Top on that list is the South China Sea, where warships from the two countries recently had a near-collision, and Taiwan, where the USA has been signaling a policy shift with more frequent arms sales and the sailing of ships near the island.

"There is no such problem of freedom of navigation and overflights being obstructed, so to use this issue as an excuse to military action is unjustifiable", he said.

While the focus will be on diplomacy and security, moves to try to resolve a damaging trade war between the two countries are expected to be touched upon ahead of a planned meeting between US President Donald Trump and Chinese President Xi Jinping at the G20 summit in Argentina at the end of November.

Terry Branstad told reporters at the State Department on Thursday that the USA would seek progress on priority issues, including North Korea, and that there would also be discussions on strategic security and how "to avoid mistakes or accidents that can happen in the military arena".

Yang deflected the issue, saying that "matters related to Xinjiang are China's internal affairs". Yang insisted that Chinese people have freedom of religion, and that "foreign countries have no right to interfere".

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