Home / World / The Pentagon chief expresses concern to his Chinese counterpart about Beijing’s activities in the South China Sea

The Pentagon chief expresses concern to his Chinese counterpart about Beijing’s activities in the South China Sea



FILE PHOTO: Secretary of Defense Mark Esper listens during a press conference at the U.S. State Department after the 30th AUSMIN in Washington, DC on July 28, 2020. Brendan Smialowski / Pool via REUTERS

WASHINGTON (Reuters) ̵

1; Secretary of Defense Mark Esper expressed concern about Beijing’s “destabilizing” activities near Taiwan and the South China Sea in an interview with Chinese Defense Secretary Wei Fenghe, the Pentagon said on Thursday, the first time that both presumably have spoken since March.

The call came when US-China relations deteriorated rapidly this year due to a number of issues, including Beijing’s use of the corona virus, the telecommunications equipment supplier Huawei [HWT.UL], China’s territorial claims in the South China Sea and its crushing of Hong Kong.

“Secretary Esper also shared the importance of the PRC (People’s Republic of China) complying with international laws, rules and standards and its international obligations,” Pentagon spokesman Jonathan Hoffman told reporters, adding that the Call lasted an hour and a half.

In a separate statement by the Pentagon, the two sides agreed “to develop the systems necessary for crisis communication and risk reduction.”

Esper previously said that he hopes to visit China by the end of the year to improve “crisis communication channels” and address other areas of mutual concern.

The United States has long spoken out against China’s expansive territorial claims in the South China Sea and has regularly sent warships across the strategic waterway.

“Wei … urged the US side to stop wrong words and deeds, improve the management and control of maritime risks, avoid dangerous measures that could escalate the situation, and promote peace and stability in the region to ensure, “said China’s official Xinhua news agency.

China threatened countermeasures against a trip by the United States Department of Health and Human Services Alex Azar to Taiwan on Thursday as the island country claimed by China was preparing for its highest official visit to the U.S. in four decades.

In June, US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo met with China’s top diplomat Yang Jiechi in Hawaii, but a senior US official said China was absent from these talks.

Reporting by Idrees Ali and Phil Stewart; Editing by Chris Reese, Jonathan Oatis and Dan Grebler

Our standards:The Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.

Source link