China’s illegal maritime claims
In his speech to the Shangri-La Dialogue, sponsored by the International Institute for Strategic Studies, Mattis launched into sharp criticism of what he called Beijing’s disregard for international law by its “indisputable militarisation” of artificial islands in disputed areas of the South China Sea.
“We cannot and will not accept unilateral, coercive changes to the status quo” in the South China Sea, he said.
Overall, Mattis’ speech struck a positive, hopeful tone for co-operation and peace in the Asia-Pacific region, where he and his predecessors have made it a priority to nurture and strengthen alliances and partnerships.
“While competition between the U.S. and China, the world’s two largest economies, is bound to occur, conflict is not inevitable,” he said. “Our two…
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