- A ranking US Navy official called China a disruptive force in the region
- Admiral Harris also urged other countries to take a tougher stance against Beijing
- China has yet to respond to his remarks
MANILA, Philippines – The chief of US Navy’s Pacific Command again lashes out at China which he called a ‘disruptive force’ in the Indo-Pacific region and urge other nations to take a tougher stand against the communist giant.
Admiral Harry Harris, who has been very vocal about his mistrust of Beijing and his opposition to the massive construction and militarization of artificial islands in the West Philippine Sea, expressed his views during a security conference in New Delhi, India.
“I believe the reality is that China is a disruptive transitional force in the Indo-Pacific, they are owner of the ‘trust deficit’ that we all have spent the last hour talking about,” said Harris; addressing the panel which include Japan’s chief of staff and India’s Navy chief, among others.
The US military official added that aggressive actions in what has been generally considered open waters has threatened the freedom of navigation in the region and caused quiet discomfort among surrounding countries.
Harris then urged the US allies, including Japan and India, to take a firmer stand against China to ensure regional peace and stability.
“We must be willing to take the tough decisions to ensure the Indo-Pacific region and the Indian Ocean remain free, open and prosperous,” Harris said; adding that “This requires like-minded nations to develop capacities, leverage each other’s capabilities.”
After several months of being quiet since US President Donald Trump assumed the presidency, this is the first time the US military renewed its criticisms of China on the issue of freedom of navigation in Asia-Pacific region.
Beijing, who has since dismissed US’ intervention in the matters of regional stability, has yet to respond to Harris statement.