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Old 10-16-2018, 10:50 AM
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Arrow US alarmed by China's 'predatory' practices: Mattis

US alarmed by China's 'predatory' practices: Mattis
By: AFP - UPDATED: 02:47 EDT, 16 October 2018
Re: https://www.dailymail.co.uk/wires/af...es-Mattis.html

The United States is alarmed by China's increasingly muscular military presence and "predatory economic practices" towards smaller countries in Asia, defence chief James Mattis has said on his way to the region.

Speaking as he flew out for a diplomatic tour that will take him to Vietnam and Singapore, the US Defense Secretary said Washington was not trying to hold back its Pacific rival.

"Obviously, we're not out to contain China," he told reporters. "We'd have taken an altogether different stance had that been considered."

"We're two large powers, or two Pacific powers, two economic powers. There's going to be times we step on each other's toes, so we're going to have to find a way to productively manage our relationship," he said.

But he highlighted key sticking points with Beijing, remarking that the same issues have also rattled some of China's neighbours.

"We remain highly concerned with continued militarisation of features in the South China Sea," Mattis said on a flight to Ho Chi Minh City, the former capital of the US-backed southern regime.

China claims nearly all of the South China Sea -- building a growing roster of military installations on reefs and artificial islands there -- even though Taiwan, the Philippines, Brunei, Malaysia and Vietnam all claim parts of strategic waterway.

Washington regularly conducts freedom of navigation exercises in the sea and earlier this month US defence officials said a Chinese warship sailed within yards of an American destroyer forcing it to change course.

Mattis also singled out what he described as "predatory economic behaviour" by Beijing "where massive debt is piled on countries that fiscal analysis would say they are going to have difficulty, at best, repaying in the smaller countries".

- Escalating tensions -

Sri Lanka famously gave Beijing a 99-year lease to a deep sea port after it was unable to pay back Chinese loans for the $1.4 billion project.

Mattis's visit comes amid escalating tensions between the two superpowers over trade, Beijing's growing military might and allegations by the US that China is interfering in the American electoral process.

His visit to China scheduled for later this month was cancelled because of those tensions.

Trump has levied billions of dollars in tariffs on Chinese imports as he presses Beijing to change restrictive trade practices that he says unfairly hurt American businesses, prompting fears of a shock to the global trade system.

Vietnam is eager to bolster military ties with the United States amid its ongoing dispute with Beijing in the South China Sea, which Hanoi says it has historic rights to.

In March Vietnam hosted a US aircraft carrier in Danang in what analysts said was a clear show of strength and a veiled message to Beijing.

This is Mattis's second trip to Vietnam this year after a visit to Hanoi in January, and the defence chief is slated to go to a former US air base as part of a dioxin remediation program.
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O Almighty Lord God, who neither slumberest nor sleepest; Protect and assist, we beseech thee, all those who at home or abroad, by land, by sea, or in the air, are serving this country, that they, being armed with thy defence, may be preserved evermore in all perils; and being filled with wisdom and girded with strength, may do their duty to thy honour and glory; through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.

"IN GOD WE TRUST"
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Old 10-16-2018, 11:01 AM
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Arrow US Defense Secretary James Mattis hits out at ‘predatory’ Chinese behavior

US Defense Secretary James Mattis hits out at ‘predatory’ Chinese behavior
By: KEEGAN ELMER | SOUTH CHINA MORNING POST 10/16/2018 12:09 PM EDT
Re: https://www.politico.com/story/2018/...ehavior-905850

Pentagon chief highlights Washington’s concerns about activities in South China Sea and practice of forcing smaller countries to run up significant debts.

This story is being published by POLITICO as part of a content partnership with the South China Morning Post. It originally appeared on scmp.com on Oct. 16, 2018.

U.S. Secretary of Defense James Mattis said Washington was highly concerned about China’s “predatory” behavior and militarization of the South China Sea but insisted Washington was not trying to contain the country.

Mattis was speaking en route to Vietnam, where he arrived on Tuesday to meet with officials to bolster military ties between Hanoi – which has its own competing claims in the South China Sea – and Washington.

His comments followed the speech made by Vice President Mike Pence on October 4 that laid out U.S. grievances with China.

Mattis, a former general, highlighted not only U.S. concerns about the disputed waters, but also Beijing’s piling of unnecessary debt on smaller countries to pay for Chinese-funded infrastructure projects.

“We remain highly concerned with the continued militarization of features in the South China Sea,” he said, saying that this continued to happen despite a pledge by President Xi Jinping not to do so.

He continued that “we look at the — what we consider to be almost predatory, in some cases certainly predatory — economic behavior” of China, which was encouraging smaller countries to pile on “massive debt” that “fiscal analysis would say they are going to have difficulty, at best, repaying."

But Mattis said the U.S. wanted a relationship with China grounded in fairness, reciprocity and “respect for international rules and for all nations’ sovereignty, whether they’re large or small."

“We’re not out to contain China,” he added.

Mattis said the U.S. and China were cooperating where possible, highlighting North Korea as an example. “We are not seeing a more military, confrontational approach vis-ŕ-vis China,” he added.

He said China and the U.S. would sometimes “step on each other’s toes” as two large powers in the Pacific, and had to find ways to manage their relationship.

Last month a Chinese naval vessel nearly collided with the USS Decatur near the disputed Spratly Islands in the South China Sea, prompting Mattis to cancel a trip to Beijing.

US government sources subsequently told CNN they were planning more “freedom of navigation” operations in the South China Sea and Taiwan Strait.

However, Cui Tiankai, China’s ambassador to the U.S., blamed the Americans for the incident, saying the Decatur was sailing close to Chinese waters.

He also argued that Beijing was not to blame for the tensions between the two sides because its warships were not “going to the coast of California or to the Gulf of Mexico”.

But Mattis dismissed that argument, saying that even if Chinese ships did sail to the Gulf of Mexico, they would be in international waters.

“The South China Sea is one of the most heavily trafficked international sea lanes of communication,” he said. “So when the Chinese ships are putting bumpers over the side of it, you don’t do that when you’re out in the middle of the ocean, unless you’re intending to run into something.”

Mattis’ visit to Ho Chi Minh City is his second trip to Vietnam this year, having visited the capital Hanoi in January.

His meeting with Defense Minister Ngô Xuân Lich will be the fifth time he has met his Vietnamese counterpart and he described the Southeast Asian country as a “growing defense partner."

Mattis will also attend the ASEAN Defense Ministers Meeting in Singapore on Thursday.

He said the U.S. considers the Association of Southeast Asian Nations “central to the security interest and maintaining peace in the … Pacific."

In an echo of the language U.S. officials use to describe their relationship with China, he also said Washington wanted a “constructive relationship so prosperity and security grow together, not apart."
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Boats

O Almighty Lord God, who neither slumberest nor sleepest; Protect and assist, we beseech thee, all those who at home or abroad, by land, by sea, or in the air, are serving this country, that they, being armed with thy defence, may be preserved evermore in all perils; and being filled with wisdom and girded with strength, may do their duty to thy honour and glory; through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.

"IN GOD WE TRUST"
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