Speaking at a security conference in Singapore, Defence Secretary James Mattis said such moves undermined regional stability and would not be tolerated.

China’s territorial claims in the South China Sea – through which about £3.9trillion in ship-borne trade passes each year – are contested by Brunei, Malaysia, the Philippines, Taiwan and Vietnam.

In his speech at the annual Shangri-La Dialogue forum, General Mattis said: “We oppose countries militarising artificial islands and enforcing excessive maritime claims.

“We cannot and will not accept unilateral, coercive changes to the status quo.”

President Donald Trump and other senior US officials have repeatedly stated that they would protect its interests in the South China Sea – a key shipping route.

During his nomination hearing earlier this year, Secretary of State Rex Tillerson warned that the US was “going to have to send China a clear signal that first the island-building stops, and second your access to those islands also is not going to be allowed.”

In response, the Chinese foreign ministry said Beijing would “remain firm to defend its rights in the region”.

SOURCEEXPRESS NEWS
SHARE
Evangelist Dina Amelia Kalmeta is the Founder and CEO of Your New Life in Christ Ministries - CWW7NEWS. Evangelist Dina reports on world events as they pertain to Bible Prophecy. Before Your New Life in Christ Ministries, Evangelist Dina served as a Leader for INCHRIST NETWORK leading teams online and spreading the Gospel of Jesus Christ. Her mission today is to bring hard evidence that what is taking place in the world isn't just coincidence, but indeed proof that the last days the Bible warned us about are upon us right now.