U.S. presses China to halt militarization of South China Sea

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U.S. presses China to halt militarization of South China Sea


WASHINGTON (Reuters) – Standing facet by facet, high U.S. officers urged their Chinese language counterparts on Friday to halt militarization of the disputed South China Sea, drawing a rebuke from the Chinese language for sending U.S. warships near islands claimed by Beijing.

Throughout a spherical of high-level talks in Washington, the 2 sides aired in generally blunt phrases a lot of their predominant variations, together with a bitter commerce dispute, freedom of navigation in Asia-Pacific waters, self-ruled Taiwan, and China’s crackdown on its Muslim minority in Xinjiang.

Two visiting senior Chinese language officers additionally seized the chance to warn publicly {that a} commerce battle between the world’s two largest economies would find yourself hurting either side and to name for maintaining channels of communication open to resolve a difficulty that has unsettled international monetary markets.

Regardless of the airing of grievances, the talks appeared geared toward controlling the injury to relations that has worsened in current months and at paving the best way for an encounter between U.S. President Donald Trump and Chinese language President Xi Jinping on the Group of 20 summit in Argentina on the finish of November.

“The USA isn’t pursuing a Chilly Battle or containment coverage with respect to China,” U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo advised a joint information convention.

Whilst america and China confront tough challenges, “cooperation stays important on many points,” he mentioned, citing efforts to steer North Korea to desert its nuclear program.

The assembly paired Pompeo and Protection Secretary Jim Mattis with Chinese language Politburo member Yang Jiechi and Protection Minister Wei Fenghe. The annual U.S.-China Diplomatic and Safety Dialogue was initially set for Beijing final month however had been referred to as off amid rising tensions.

Pompeo took purpose at China over its continued constructing of army installations on synthetic islands and reefs within the South China Sea, the place China insists it has sovereignty regardless of competing claims from some smaller neighbors.

“We now have continued considerations about China’s actions and militarization within the South China Sea,” Pompeo mentioned following the talks. “We pressed China to reside as much as its previous commitments on this space.”

U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo and Protection Secretary James Mattis take heed to Chinese language Communist Social gathering Workplace of International Affairs Director Yang Jiechi communicate as they maintain a joint media information convention after taking part in a second diplomatic and safety assembly on the U.S. Division of State, Washington, U.S., November 9, 2018. REUTERS/Leah Millis

Yang mentioned China was dedicated to “non-confrontation” however that Beijing had the proper to construct “essential protection amenities” on what it considers its personal territory and urged Washington to cease sending warships and army planes near the islands that Beijing claims.

Mattis made clear that this demand go unheeded by Washington, which insists it’s performing beneath worldwide regulation to protect entry for it and others to the South China Sea.

In an announcement on Saturday, China’s International Ministry described the talks as “frank, constructive and really fruitful.”

TAIWAN

Responding sharply to Pompeo’s point out of Taiwan, which China considers a wayward province however which is armed by Washington, Wei mentioned Beijing would defend its declare on the island “at any price.”

However Wei and Mattis agreed on the necessity to decrease U.S.-China army tensions to keep away from unintended clashes, with the Chinese language normal saying confrontation “will spell catastrophe to all.” Washington has protested to Beijing about current habits by its warships that the U.S. Navy thought of unsafe.

Whereas Pompeo spoke little about commerce in his public feedback, Yang mentioned he hoped the 2 sides would discover a mutually acceptable resolution on the difficulty “earlier than lengthy.”

China and america have slapped tariffs on a whole lot of billions of {dollars} of one another’s items, jolting international monetary markets, and Trump has threatened to set tariffs on the rest of China’s $500 billion-plus exports to america if the commerce dispute can’t be resolved.

Trump’s administration has additionally accused China of meddling in U.S. politics forward of this week’s congressional elections, expenses China strongly denies.

U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo listens to Chinese language Communist Social gathering Workplace of International Affairs Director Yang Jiechi communicate as the 2 international locations maintain a joint information convention after taking part in a second diplomatic and safety assembly on the U.S. Division of State, Washington, U.S., November 9, 2018. REUTERS/Leah Millis

Reflecting rising U.S. considerations in regards to the Chinese language cyber risk, a senior U.S. intelligence official on Thursday accused China of violating a 2015 settlement geared toward stopping cyber espionage by the hacking of presidency and company information.

Pompeo additionally reiterated U.S. criticism of China’s “repression of spiritual teams,” citing therapy of Buddhists in Tibet and minority Uighur Muslims within the Xinjiang area that has drawn condemnation from human rights teams.

Yang defended China’s insurance policies in Xinjiang as measures in opposition to “ethnic separatist actions and violent terrorist crimes” however mentioned it was a Chinese language inside affair and overseas governments shouldn’t intrude.

Reporting by Matt Spetalnick and Idrees Ali; extra reporting by Doina Chiacu and Mohammad Zargham, and Ben Blanchard in Beijing; Modifying by James Dalgleish, Tom Brown and Nick Macfie



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