Published: Sat, November 10, 2018
Global News | By Stacy Ballard

US presses China to halt militarisation of South China Sea

US presses China to halt militarisation of South China Sea

At a news conference in the presence of Chinese State Councilor Yang Jiechi (楊潔篪), Secretary of State Mike Pompeo noted the stable relations between the US and Taiwan.

Speaking earlier, the Chinese government's top diplomat, State Councillor Wang Yi, said Xi and Trump reached an important consensus on the healthy and stable development of bilateral ties in a telephone call last week.Their meeting at the G20 summit would be of "great significance" in resolving bilateral problems, Wang said.

A "frank" exchange of views can be expected in top-level diplomatic and security talks between the United States and China on Friday, including on issues such as human rights and the South China Sea, the U.S. ambassador to China said.

"China is in damage control mode", said Yun Sun, a China expert at the Stimson Center think tank, noting Beijing's uncertainty about what exactly Trump wants out of trade deal but its hopes that with US mid-term elections out of the way the mercurial American president may be more inclined to reach a compromise.

Mattis responded that the USA would "fly, sail and operate wherever global law allows". Xi is to meet with U.S. President Donald Trump later this month at the Group of 20 summit in Buenos Aires.

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"China is committed to working with the U.S.to achieve a no-confrontational, conflictless, mutually respectful co-operation in which both sides win", added Yang, who heads the ruling Communist Party's foreign affairs commission. Pentagon Chief, James Mattis and Chinese Defense Minister Wei Fenghe also took part in the talks.

Kissinger said he is pleased to meet Xi in China again at a critical moment when Sino-U.S. relations have entered a new stage.

Mr. Pompeo, while interacting with the media, said, "President Trump has made it clear that the US seeks a constructive and results-oriented relationship with China grounded in fairness, reciprocity and respect".

HANOI-Vietnam strongly protested China's launch of weather stations in the disputed Spratly group of islands, saying on Thursday they seriously violate Vietnam's sovereignty and complicate the situation in the South China Sea.

Defense Secretary Jim Mattis asserted US rights to freedom of navigation but also said the two sides should work together on areas of common interest.

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Trump has slapped $250 billion worth of tariffs on Chinese goods, accusing Beijing of nefarious trading practices. Washington has protested to Beijing about recent behavior by its warships that the U.S. Navy considered unsafe.

A senior administration official said Pence's meetings with regional leaders were still being planned, but a meeting between Pence and Chang, Taiwan's envoy to APEC, was not being ruled out.

Pompeo also reiterated USA criticism of China's "repression of religious groups", citing treatment of Buddhists in Tibet and minority Uighur Muslims in the Xinjiang region that has drawn condemnation from human rights groups.

The Pentagon had previously declined to comment on a May report quoting unnamed sources with direct knowledge of USA intelligence reports as saying that the anti-ship cruise missiles and surface-to-air missile systems had been deployed to Fiery Cross Reef, Subi Reef and Mischief Reef in April or early May.

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".

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"Foreign countries have no right to interfere", he said.

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