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PRESS RELEASE


China Backs Mattis on Using Diplomacy in South China Sea

Feb. 6, 2017 (EIRNS)—China’s Foreign Ministry spokesman, Lu Kang, today told the press that Defense Secretary Jim Mattis’s comments in Japan, that diplomacy rather than any new military operations were the proper approach to the South China Sea issues, was "worthy of affirmation" and that the situation there was normalizing, Reuters reports. Kang said: "This accords with the common interests of China and all countries in the region, and we hope that countries outside of the region can respect the joint interests and wishes of countries in the region."

Mattis’s statements essentially negated the loose comments from Secretary of State Rex Tillerson during his confirmation hearing, where he said China should be prevenTed from building new islands or even going to the islands already built.

China Daily said in an editorial on Monday that Mattis’s comments were a "mind-soothing pill" that had

"dispersed the clouds of war that many feared were gathering over the South China Sea. Mattis has inspired optimism here that things may not be as bad as previously portrayed."

China Daily also noted that on Sunday, Japanese Defense Minister Tomomi Inada, just after meeting with Mattis, said Japan would not participate in any military operations in the South China Sea, as they had previously intended. "I told Secretary Mattis that Japan supports the U.S. military’s freedom of navigation operation in the sea," Inada said on a TV interview. "But the SDF will not be sent to the area."

It can safely be presumed that Mattis recommended to Japan such a step back from confrontation.