US savages 'disturbing' China as behaviour labelled 'destabilising' by new Pentagon chief

China’s rising assertiveness in the area has raised concerns within the region and the United States is challenging China and seeking stronger ties with nations pushing back against Beijing. According to The Hill, Mr Esper was alongside US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo and their Australian counterparts during his reprimand of China after annual strategy talks between the two countries in Sydney. During a news conference he said: “The US won’t stand by idly while any one nation attempts to reshape the region to its favour at the expense of others, and we know our allies and partners will not either.

“We firmly believe no one nation can or should dominate the Indo-Pacific and we are working alongside our allies and partners to address the region’s pressing security needs.

“We also stand firmly against a disturbing pattern of aggressive behaviour, destabilising behaviour from China.

“This includes weaponising the global commons using predatory economics and debt-for-sovereignty deals, and promoting state-sponsored theft of other nations’ intellectual property.”

Beijing’s construction of artificial islands as a way to law claim to the international shipping zone has added to tensions with the US.

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Mr Pompeo said: “Both countries are concerned about China’s militarisation of their man-made islands in the South China Sea and we’re both keeping an eye on investment that mires our friends in debt and corruption.”

Protecting sea lines of communication and global commons is a key feature of the US’s global strategy.

Mr Pompeo added: “We’re not asking nations to choose between the United States and China, because that’s not how we operate.”

Australia relies heavily on China, as their biggest trading partner, in the economic well-being of the country.

This week US President Donald Trump threatened to place another 10 percent tariff on $300billion (£246billion) in Chinese goods beginning on 1st September.

The US has also long accused China of intellectual property theft and currency manipulation.

A combination of the two alongside an existing 25 percent penalties on $250billion (£206billion) in goods would impose levies on virtually all remaining Chinese imports.

Tensions between China and the US have been at breaking point in recent months as disputes over issues such as trade continue to grow.