US Defence Secretary says China focused on weakening US position in Indo-Pacific region


World, Americas

China is focused on limiting our ability to project power and weakening our position in the Indo-Pacific region, Mattis said

S Defence Secretary Mattis was responding to questions from lawmakers (Photo: AFP)

Washington: China is focused on weakening the US' position in the Indo-Pacific region even as it is working with America on the issue of North Korea, Defence Secretary Jim Mattis has said.

"China is focused on limiting our ability to project power and weakening our position in the Indo-Pacific region, even as we work to find common ground in confronting North Korea's provocative actions," Mattis told members of House Armed Services Committee during a Congressional hearing on South Asia on Thursday.

Appearing before the same committee, General Joseph Dunford said that China can play a constructive role in Afghanistan. China shares a small border with Afghanistan.

"There are some interest areas where they converge," he said, adding that counterterrorism is one of those areas, particularly in Afghanistan. He has suggested to the Chinese interlocutors that they could play a more productive role, particularly in development and assisting the counterterrorism effort on the border.

Meanwhile at the Foggy Bottom headquarters of the State Department, Deputy Secretary of State John Sullivan hosted the inaugural US-China Law Enforcement and cyber security Dialogue.

Attorney General Jeff Sessions and Acting Secretary for Homeland Security Elaine Duke co-chaired the dialogue along with the Chinese State Councillor and Minister of Public Security Guo Shengkun.

This is the last of the four dialogues that were launched by President Donald Trump and his Chinese counterpart Xi Jinping at Mar-a-Lago in April.

Its aim is to increase mutual understanding between the two nations, State Department spokesperson Heather Nauert told reporters.

"Consistent with the results-oriented approach of this administration's policy toward China, the dialogue facilitated forthright and detailed discussions and resulted in bilateral cooperation on priority issues including immigration, counter-narcotics, counterterrorism, and cyber security," she said.