A senior Chinese military official on Sunday rejected the U.S. defense secretary’s assertion made the previous day that Beijing faces “erecting a Great Wall of self-isolation” if its continues with provocative militarization of disputed islets in the South China Sea.
“We were not isolated in the past, we are not isolated now, we will not be isolated in the future,” retorted Admiral Sun Jianguo of the People’s Liberation Army.
Sun, the deputy chief of the joint staff department, sought to shift blame onto the United States for maritime tensions in the region. He criticized the U.S. military’s freedom of navigation operations and Washington’s support for countries in the region having territorial disputes with Beijing.
Countries that retain “a Cold War mentality” and are not directly involved in the disputes should not be allowed to engage in “sabotage” for selfish gains, Sun said. “Nobody has the right to point fingers at China.”
U.S. Defense Secretary Ash Carter, at the same forum in Singapore on Saturday, told defense ministers, security analysts and scholars there is “growing anxiety” about Chinese actions in the strategic waters and elsewhere.
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