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United States decries 'destabilising' behaviour by China in Indo-Pacific: Pentagon chief

US Defense Secretary Mark Esper Photograph:( Reuters )

WION Web Team New Delhi Aug 04, 2019, 10.54 AM (IST)

Amid escalating trade war between the United States and China, US Defence Secretary Mark Esper said on Sunday warned China against destabilising behaviour in the Indo-Pacific. 

"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, Reuters reported Esper as saying to reporters in Sydney.

Esper's comments come even as China is increasing its assertiveness in the energy-rich South China Sea even as the US  challenges Chinese maritime hegemony and seeking stronger ties with nations pushing back against Beijing.

"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," said Esper.

US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo on Friday decried "decades of bad behaviour" from China that have hampered free trade, laying out a case at a Southeast Asian forum for Washington's escalating trade war with Beijing.

Esper and Pompeo met with their Australian counterparts in Sydney on Sunday.

(With inputs from Reuters) 

Story highlights

Esper's comments come even as China is increasing its assertiveness in the energy-rich South China Sea even as the US  challenges Chinese maritime hegemony and seeking stronger ties with nations pushing back against Beijing.