US Pacific military chief says China a disruptive force in region
Story Code : 698281
“I believe the reality is that China is a disruptive transitional force in the Indo-Pacific, they are owner of the ‘trust deficit’ that we all have spent the last hour talking about,” Harris said referring to discussions at a security conference sponsored by the Indian government.
The United States has criticized China’s construction of islands and build-up of military facilities in the South China Sea, saying they could be used to restrict free nautical movement.
China says there is no issue with freedom of navigation in the South China Sea and opposes efforts to use it as an “excuse” to infringe on China’s sovereignty and security interests.
“We must be willing to take the tough decisions to ensure the Indo-Pacific region and the Indian Ocean remain free, open and prosperous,” he continued. “This requires like-minded nations to develop capacities, leverage each other’s capabilities.”
Harris had earlier proposed joint patrols with the Indian navy in the Indian Ocean. New Delhi, worried about a backlash from China, said no such actions were planned.
But India has begun holding trilateral naval exercises with the US and Japan that military experts say could eventually include Australia as well.
China is in a territorial dispute with India and with some of its other neighbors in the East and South China Sea. While strengthening its military, the country has been seeking a peaceful rise to a global power status.