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China Demands US Stop “Flexing Muscles” After Its New Carrier Sails Across Taiwan Strait

China Demands US Stop “Flexing Muscles” After Its New Carrier Sails Across Taiwan Strait

China has gone on the diplomatic and military offensive Monday as China’s Defense Minister told his US counterpart that Washington must stop “flexing its muscles” in the South China Sea. At the same time Beijing has deployed its new domestically produced aircraft carrier to the South China Sea for “training and research purposes,” CNN reports. Before that it passed through the Taiwan Strait, reportedly followed closely by US and Japanese ships. 

China said it would not tolerate “any Taiwan independence incidents” and urged the United States not to provoke any further problems or interference in the region.

China’s first domestically developed aircraft carrier, via Reuters.

This latest incident reported by Reuters involved the “Chinese carrier ship passed through the Taiwan Strait on Sunday, tailed by U.S. and Japanese ships.”

US Defense Secretary Mark Esper and Chinese Defense Minister Wei Fenghe met in Bangkok where they are attending a summit with the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) and other countries.

Wei is reported to have told Esper that China is determined to maintain “peace and stability in the South China Sea and demands the US stop flexing its muscles in the South China Sea and do not provoke and escalate tension in the South China Sea.” They also discussed the unrest in Hong Kong and a host of other security-related issues.

Chinese Defense Minister Wie Fenghe greets US Defense Secretary Mark Esper in Bangkok, Thailand on Monday, via the AP.

The day before, Esper had publicly accused Beijing of “increasingly resorting to coercion and intimidation to advance its strategic objectives” in the region.

Esper acknowledged in a Tweet that the two discussed “how our two nations can continue a relationship focused on maintaining the international rules based system.”

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