United States Defense Secretary James Mattis’ recent remarks on focusing on diplomacy instead of military action when dealing with China gained praises from China. (Photo : Getty Images)
United States Defense Secretary, James Mattis’ recent remarks on focusing on diplomacy instead of military action when dealing with China gained praises from China, according to a report by Reuters.
Although Mattis mentioned that China caused mistrust among neighboring countries within the area of the South China Sea, he stated that U.S. military action will not be considered in confronting China’s increasingly assertive behavior. Instead, he said, open lines of communication between the two superpowers will be encouraged.
This new comment on U.S. policy in Asia comes amid seemingly belligerent remarks made by other officials in the new Trump Administration. Some had even suggested the possibility of a naval blockade, tantamount to an act of war.
Chinese Foreign Ministry Spokesman, Lu Kang, praised Mattis’ remark on the need for diplomacy and open dialogue.
“This accords with the common interests of China and all countries in the region, and we hope that other countries outside of the region can respect the joint interests and wishes of countries within the region,” said Lu.
Welcome Words, Vague Policy
However, other officials in the Trump Administration see China’s expansive territorial claim differently. In his Senate confirmation hearing, Secretary of State, Rex Tillerson criticized China’s assertions and said that the country should not be allowed access to artificially built islands.
In a similar fashion, the White House also vowed to uphold international territories that are beyond any one country’s jurisdiction. Washington and its officials have yet to achieve a unified stance on the issue.
A glimpse of China’s response to an aggressive U.S. policy in Asia can be seen in pronouncements by state-run news agencies. After Tillerson’s statements, Chinese state media reacted by saying that the U.S. would need to wage war to prevent China from accessing its artificially constructed islands.
The Trump Administration’s approach towards China will be closely observed by analysts, as new statements from officials shed more light on the official policy.