From left, U.S. Defense Secretary Jim Mattis, Japan's Defense Minister Itsunori Onodera and China's People's Liberation Army's Academy of Military Science Deputy President He Lei pose for photos at a ministerial roundtable on the sidelines of the 17th International Institute for Strategic Studies (IISS) Shangri-la Dialogue, an annual defense and security forum in Asia, in Singapore, Saturday, June 2, 2018, in Singapore.
The United States will increase naval patrols in the South China sea in an attempt to challenge the growing militarization of China.
The bluster comes at a delicate time in U.S.
At the same conference, US Defense Secretary James Mattis accused China of "intimidation and coercion" in the area.
Meanwhile, Zhao Xiaozhuo from the Xiangshan Forum Secretariat said China, seeking to promote common development and prosperity, has put forward the Belt and Road Initiative which also aims at connecting countries along the routes and promoting unimpeded trade among countries and understanding among peoples.
"Eventually these things do not pay off, even if on the financial ledger sheet, or the power ledger sheet they appear to", he said. "It's a very shaky foundation when we believe that militarising features are somehow going to endorse their standing in the world".
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But the message might be a tougher sell for Mattis, who is generally popular on the worldwide scene, after his boss this week imposed metals tariffs on some of America's closest allies in the name of "national security".
The US wanted complete denuclearisation of the Korean peninsula, he added. "It's not based on which party is in power".
The Pentagon said the decision to disinvite the Chinese Navy was triggered by what it called strong evidence that China has deployed weapons systems on the islands, and called on China to remove them.
The archipelago, named after British whaling captain Richard Spratly, lies between Philippines, Malaysia, Vietnam and Brunei and parts of it are claimed by all.
The Pentagon does not comment on future operations but a spokesman, Lieutenant Colonel Christopher Logan, said "we will continue to work with our friends, partners, and allies to ensure a free and open Indo-Pacific".
China has always wanted to deal with the South China Sea issue through dialogue and consultation between China and the parties concerned, on the basis of respect for historical facts and in accordance with global law, said the head of the Chinese delegation.
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But one Canada-watcher in Washington stressed there was no need for Canada to take Thursday's decision personally. Malmstrom said that specific retaliatory measures would be submitted to the World Trade Organization by June 20.
"I believe there are much larger consequences in the future", he said.
"What we have seen in the last few weeks is just the start, significantly more is being planned", said one Western diplomat, referring to a freedom of navigation patrol late last month that used two U.S. ships for the first time.
Gen Mattis said the issue of removing United States troops from South Korea was "not on the table" and that "our objective remains the complete, verifiable, and irreversible denuclearisation of the Korean peninsula". Beijing sees U.S. actions as an attempt at containment.
"That issue is not on the table here in Singapore on the 12th, nor should it be", Mattis said. China views the island as a renegade province and seeks its eventual reunification with the mainland.
China's presence at the Shangri-La Dialogue meeting this weekend is being led by Lt. Gen.
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