USA assertions that China is militarising the are "ridiculous", China said on Thursday, after Secretary said Washington would confront China's actions in the disputed waterways.
The head of the Chinese delegation, He Lei, who is the Academy of Military Science of the Chinese People's Liberation Army's vice president, took an equally tough line by saying that the United States is the real source of conflict in the region. He is also the head of the Chinese delegation to the dialogue, which opened in Singapore on Friday and runs through Sunday.
Referring to maritime issues, including those in the South China Sea, Modi said his country did not see the region as a club of limited members.
Parly and her British counterpart Gavin Williamson said they plan to sail their warships across the South China Sea to demonstrate their right to traverse worldwide waters, the South China Morning Post reported Monday. "Both sides are willing to view bilateral ties from a strategic and long-term perspective, without being hindered by differences and disputes, and join hands to safeguard regional stability", Liu Lin, associate research fellow with the War Studies College of the PLA Academy of Military Science, told Xinhua on the sidelines of the Shangri-la Dialogue.
US Defense Secretary Jim Mattis reiterated this stance on Saturday at the Singapore meeting, saying that the placement of weapons on South China Sea islands "is tied directly to military use for the objective of intimidation and coercion".
China has repeatedly warned the US against sending warships to patrol the South China Sea.
Last month, China's air force landed bombers on disputed islands and reefs in the South China Sea as part of a training exercise, triggering concern from Vietnam and the Philippines.
"Currently so far it's a so-called new normal", Lin Chong-pin, retired strategic studies professor in Taiwan, said of the US ship movement.
The United States will increase naval patrols in the South China sea in an attempt to challenge the growing militarization of China.
"They believe that piling mountainous debts on their neighbours and somehow removing the freedom of political action is the way to engage them".
Mattis and some of his counterparts from the Asia Pacific region are in Singapore for the Shangri-La Dialogue, an annual gathering of security officials, contractors and academics in the Asian city-state.
His comments come ahead of a planned June 12 summit between President Trump and North Korean leader Kim Jong Un.
Despite strong mutual suspicions, the US had included China in the past two versions of the naval exercise known as Rim of the Pacific, or RimPac, in 2014 and 2016.
Security analysts have criticised China's actions of building military facilities on the disputed islands, saying this is done with the aim to leave other countries no choice but to accept its de facto sovereignty. On Sunday, two US warships sailed within 12 nautical miles of the disputed Paracel Islands in the South China Sea, drawing a sharp rebuke from China.
Using Chinese social media posts, the Washington-based Asia Maritime Transparency initiative identified the location as Woody Island, China's largest base in the Paracel Islands.
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".
Mattis said the Trump administration's recent decision to disinvite China from a multinational naval exercise this (northern) summer was an "initial response" to Beijing's island activity.