Mattis says no need for dramatic U.S. military moves in South China Sea

U.S. Defense Secretary Jim Mattis speaks at a joint news conference with Japan's Defense Minister Tomomi Inada after their meeting at the Defense Ministry in Tokyo, Japan, February 4, 2017. REUTERS/Toru Hanai

U.S. Defense Secretary Jim Mattis speaks at a joint news conference with Japan’s Defense Minister Tomomi Inada after their meeting at the Defense Ministry in Tokyo, Japan, February 4, 2017. REUTERS/Toru Hanai

By Phil Stewart | TOKYO Fri Feb 3, 2017 | 10:17pm EST

U.S. Defense Secretary Jim Mattis on Saturday played down any need for major U.S. military moves in the South China Sea to contend with China’s assertive behavior, even as he sharply criticized Beijing for “shredding the trust of nations in the region.”

“At this time, we do not see any need for dramatic military moves at all,” Mattis told a news conference in Tokyo, stressing that the focus should be on diplomacy.

In his Senate confirmation hearing, Secretary of State Rex Tillerson said China should not be allowed access to islands it has built in the contested South China Sea. The White House also vowed to defend “international territories” in the strategic waterway.

But how the United States would achieve that has been unclear, including whether it would have a military dimension.

Analysts have said Tillerson’s remarks, like those from the White House, suggested the possibility of U.S. military action, or even a naval blockade.

Such action would risk an armed confrontation with China, an increasingly formidable nuclear-armed military power. It is also the world’s second-largest economy and the prime target of Trump accusations of stealing American jobs.

Mattis suggested that major military action was not being currently considered.

“What we have to do is exhaust all efforts, diplomatic efforts, to try to resolve this properly, maintaining open lines of communication,” Mattis said, in his most complete remarks on the issue to date.

“And certainly our military stance should be one that reinforces our diplomats in this regard. But there is no need right now at this time for military maneuvers or something like that, that would solve something that’s best solved by the diplomats.”

China claims most of the South China Sea, while Taiwan, Malaysia, Vietnam, the Philippines and Brunei claim parts of the waters that command strategic sea lanes and have rich fishing grounds along with oil and gas deposits.

Mattis criticized China’s actions.

“China has shredded the trust of nations in the region, apparently trying to have a veto authority over the diplomatic and security and economic conditions of neighboring states,” he said.

(Reporting by Phil Stewart; Editing by Nick Macfie)

Source: Reuters “Mattis says no need for dramatic U.S. military moves in South China Sea”

Note: This is Reuters report I post here for readers’ information. It does not mean that I agree or disagree with the report’ views.


18 Comments on “Mattis says no need for dramatic U.S. military moves in South China Sea”

  1. Fugu says:

    Mr Matthis, the benefit of the doubt is with you. Hope you do good by ad with the people of East Asia. There’s already been enough sabre rattling by the U.S. during Obama’s time. Kindly let the world settle down in peace. Do not backslide on draining the swamp with M Trump – if he understands the world and display no hypocrisy after his campaign promises.

    The world would like harmony. Can you target that?


  2. KP says:

    For those Americans and backers, I would suggest you guys come down from your “Holier Than Thou” high horses and read the following wikipedia webpage regarding how USA strong- armed and annexed an independent Kingdom of Hawaii literally at gunpoint:-

    The webpage starts with this:-

    The overthrow of the Kingdom of Hawaii began with the coup d’état of January 17, 1893 on the island of Oahu, leading to the end of the hereditary monarchs, largely at the hands of the United States citizens within the kingdom government under Queen Lili’uokalani and backed by an invasion of U.S. Marines under John L. Stevens.

    This is just ONE example of the USA gobbling up other people’s territories. Do not forget also all the Native American, Mexican, Spanish and other Lands that USA had conquered during its history of nearly never-ending wars starting almost 250 years ago from the initial Thirteen Colonies.


  3. Steve says:

    Just another US hawk with combative dog language. It is the US that is shredding trust in world nations. The US congress intended to invade 7 nations in 5 years starting with Libya, Syria, Somalia, Yemen …ending with Iran, but was stopped short in Syria by Russia. The US shredded over 3 million Iraqis killed, looted Iraqi oilfields and declining the Iraqis livelihood into poverty, massive destruction, sponsored terrorism, creating chaos and refugees fleeing their homeland and spreading falsehood in the SCS with gunboat diplomacy. The US are not wanted in the Philippines and not allowed to use Philippines naval bases for its FON in the SCS. The US has lost support by the littoral states in the SCS.


    • Steve Canyon says:

      Weak and timid Obama is gone. China now feels confident that they are able to take America on. We invite China to stop talking and slap America in the face. What are you waiting for?


      • LOL says:

        We don’t need to slap you. Haven’t you read about the AIIB fiasco where your “allies” jumped ship to Uncle Han?

        I’d say you guys got kicked in the nuts by your own allies. LOL


      • Steve says:

        Who is We and who are U. Your comprehension is below a 10 year old kid. Go stand in front of a mirror and slap your own face. Read the article again. Mattis prefers to use diplomacy rather than military manoeuvres, Tillerson wants a naval blockade to prevent China from entering its own islands, US says China’s legitimate islands are in international waters and suggested US military force on China. So, what is US doing about it.?

        China is slapping US and U in your CD* face. U are an amazing American Ball n Bum Shiner.
        U need to improve your comprehension before commenting.

        *CD denotes Cow Dung


    • Tia says:

      It is time for Japan to re-establish Manchuko on the Chinese mainland to remind China of the painful lessons of WW2


      • Steve says:

        Silly Tia, U share the same bed with steve canyon.? Why do u think Abe is paying US large sums of $$$ for American military to remain in Japan.?? It would be great if Japan re-establishes Manchuko on Chinese motherland in 2017. Do u know why.? U and Canyon are incredibly Dumb and Dumber.


  4. Tyler Reber says:

    I’m reading that Mattis said “I made clear that our long-standing policy on the Senkaku Islands stands – the US will continue to recognize Japanese administration of the islands and as such Article 5 of the US-Japan Security Treaty applies,”

    No need at this time, but he’s clearly stated he’s commited to using dramatic military moves in the future under article 5.


  5. Title says:

    We do trust Chinese but do not trust. US.


  6. Simon says:

    Trump and his team of red necks does not even have the mandate to enforce travelling ban on the 7 Muslim countries. American people don’t accept his direction and certainly won’t accept Trump’s regime taking them to war with China and bringing catastrophe to the whole world. In such scenario I can see American soldiers disobeying Trump and Tillerson and have them impeached.


  7. Simon says:

    “Shredding the trust of nations”? How about America minding is own business and stop trying to provoke China. China and all other claimants accepted America do not take sides, however it is America that has shredded the trust of all claimants by its naval and air patrol in SCS and verbally backing whoever takes it fancy.

    China always maintain negotiation diplomatically wiith all claimants of territories in SCS but it is America who finds that a problem and go out of its way to disrupt that. If the Trump regime has the mandate to keep its nose out of the SCS perhaps diplomacy will prevail. However the fact remains the SCS has nothing to do with America so it does not have the right to engage in diplomacy over this issue.


    • Steve Canyon says:

      China built these illegal islands and then refused to accept the rulings of the international community when they were ruled against. China will be brought down a notch before this is over


      • Stop White Christian Psychopaths says:

        Lying degenerate white pedophile,

        Search “un distances from pca”

        “What the hell is the international community? -Martin Jacques

        If it only means the west, the great majority of the world is being ignored.”

        How are those First Nations doing in those concentration camps? Pardon me. where are my propgandaistic manners? I meant “benevolent reservations” of the white man’s burden.

        Take your sanctimonious hypocritical bs and go to straight to hell.


      • Simon says:

        What international community? A case financed by the Fillipino, backed by America and ruled by a Japanese judge and have no backing from the UN.
        China has over 80 countries backing them. ASEAN rejected the PCA. Duterte abandoned. The only ones felt bitter about it is America and the 5 Anglo alliance and Japan all of them have claims to the SCS.