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Acting U.S. Defense Secretary Shanahan Attacks China at Shangri-La Dialogue

June 1, 2019 (EIRNS)—While adding in a few “softening” statements, Acting Secretary of Defense Patrick Shanahan’s speech to the IISS-sponsored Shangri-La Dialogue in Singapore Saturday was a lying diatribe against China. Some of the attacks were, as usual, totally hypocritical, sounding more like descriptions of Anglo-American policies at their worst. China is trying to undermine the “Free and Open Indo-Pacific,” he claimed, while the U.S. is the friend of all the Asian countries in standing up to the threat from China.

Some excerpts of Shanahan’s speech:

“This region has experienced an unprecedented 70 years of relative peace and rising prosperity, supported by steady American engagement in all spheres. However, some in our region are choosing to act contrary to the principles and norms that have benefitted us all....

“Acknowledging those actions is not enough; we also need to extrapolate the trend line and recognize the likely future we arrive at if we do not act to call out disruptive actors and take a stand against the challenges to regional order....

“Perhaps the greatest long-term threat to the vital interests of states across this region comes from actors who seek to undermine, rather than uphold, the rules-based international order.

“These actors undermine the system by using indirect, incremental actions and rhetorical devices to exploit others economically and diplomatically, and coerce them militarily....

“We see this manifested in a range of behaviors and activities throughout the Indo-Pacific, ‘a toolkit of coercion,’ to include:

  • “Deploying advanced weapons systems to militarize disputed areas, destabilizing the peaceful status quo by threatening the use of force to compel rivals into conceding claims; ...

  • “Engaging in predatory economics and debt for sovereignty deals, lubricated by corruption, which take advantage of pressing economic needs to structure unequal bargains that disproportionately benefit one party; and,

  • “Promoting state-sponsored theft of other nations military and civilian technology....

“We can’t wish away reality or continue to look the other way as countries use friendly rhetoric to distract from unfriendly acts. Now is the time to call out the mismatch between words and deeds by some in the region and encourage them to work constructively and transparently toward a positive future....

“We cooperate with China where we have an alignment of interests, from military-to-military dialogue to develop risk reduction measures, to tackling transnational threats such as counterpiracy, to enforcing UN sanctions on North Korea.

“China can and should have a cooperative relationship with the rest of the region, too. But behavior that erodes other nations’ sovereignty and sows distrust of China’s intentions must end.

“Until it does, we stand against a myopic, narrow, and parochial vision of the future, and we stand for the free and open order that has benefitted us all—including China....” [Emphasis in original.]

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