The United States warned China on Saturday against threatening its neighbors’ sovereignty and said Washington is investing in new military technology to defend its Asian allies.
Washington and Beijing have been vying for influence in the region, which hosts potential flashpoints such as the South China Sea, the Korean Peninsula and the Taiwan Strait.
Ties between the two powers are once again taking center stage at the weekend Singapore conference known as the Shangri-La Dialogue, which gathers defense ministers and top military officials from around the world.
While the forum is purely on security, the discussions are being held against a backdrop of Sino-US trade tensions and high-tech rivalry.
“China can and should have a cooperative relationship with the rest of the region . . . But behavior that erodes other nations’ sovereignty and sows distrust of China’s intentions must end,” acting US Secretary of Defense Patrick Shanahan told the forum.
“Until it does, we stand against a myopic, narrow, and parochial vision of the future, and we stand for the free and open order that has benefited us all, including China.”