Mattis: US Will Confront China With "Steady Drumbeat" Of American Ships Over Weaponized Islands

U.S. Secretary of Defense Jim Mattis vowed on Tuesday that American ships will continue to confront China over its militarization of man-made islands in the South China Sea, where Beijing has established an extensive military presence despite its promise not to do so.

Mattis said that U.S. forces are maintaining a "steady drumbeat" of naval operations around the disputed Spratly islands, adding that "only one country" seems to be bothered by the maneuvers.

We are going out of our way to cooperate with Pacific nations, that’s the way we do business in the world,” Mattis told reporters. “But we are also going to confront what we believe is out of step with international law, out of step with international tribunals that have spoken on the issue.”

Mattis's comments follow Beijing voicing "strong dissatisfaction" on Sunday after two US warships sailed past the Paracel Islands, which lie north of the Spratlys.

Reuters, citing anonymous sources, said the USS Higgins (DDG-76), a United States Navy Arleigh Burke-class destroyer (flight II) and the USS Antietam (CG-54), a Ticonderoga-class guided missile cruiser of the United States Navy, came within 12 nautical miles of the heavily disputed, weaponized Paracel chain in the South China Sea.

“The U.S. military vessels carried out maneuvering operations near Tree, Lincoln, Triton and Woody islands in the Paracels,” a source told Reuters.

The sources claim the passage had been planned month ago, as missions to sail warships around Beijing’s weaponized islands in the South China Sea have become more routine. Washington’s motive behind the operation is said to counter Beijing’s efforts to restrict freedom of navigation in critical shipping lanes around the islands.

The US Navy periodically conducts “freedom of navigation” operations in the contested waterway, where it sails close to island features China has built into military facilities as a way of showing it rejects any territorial claims. -SCMP

"Our diplomats are robustly engaged on this," Mattis said. "The concerns have come to me not just from American government circles, but also from foreign nations that are concerned, very concerned about this continued militarisation of features in the South China Sea."

“You’ll notice there’s only one country that seems to take active steps to rebuff [such operations] or state their resentment of them, but it’s international waters and a lot of nations want to see freedom of navigation, so we will continue that,” Mattis told reporters while flying to Hawaii to attend a change-of-command ceremony for the U.S. Pacific Command after Admiral Harry Davis was nominated to be the new ambassador to South Korea. He will be replaced by Admiral Philip Davidson. 

Tensions flare

Last week the Pentagon rescinded an invitation for People’s Liberation Army Navy (PLAN) to take part in a multinational naval drill in the Pacific this summer, which has put military trust between both countries at a low heading into the second half of the year.

One of the Pentagon’s reasons behind disinviting the PLAN from the multinational naval exercises was due to reports that the military was again — secretly weaponizing its South China Sea islands. Satellite photographs taken on May 12 revealed surface-to-air missiles or anti-ship cruise missile units staged at Woody Island.

The satellite images taken in early May by Imagesat International show surface-to-air missiles or anti-ship cruise missiles on the northern shore of the Island, next to a radar system, all covered by a camouflage net. (ImageSat International)

In early May, People’s Liberation Army Air Force (PLAAF) for the first time landed several strategic bombers on the islands and reefs, some human-made, in the region where China is actively preparing for war.

In a statement, the Chinese Air Force said that “a division of the People’s Liberation Army Air Force (PLAAF) recently organized multiple bombers such as the H-6K to conduct take-off and landing training on islands and reefs in the South China Sea in order to improve our ability to ‘reach all territory, conduct strikes at any time and strike in all directions.”

The spat with China comes at a sensitive time in international politics, as President Donald Trump and North Korean leader Kim Jong Un may finally hold their summit as early as June 12

Further inflaming the situation was the Tuesday announcement by the White House that it would be taking more steps to protect the intellectual property of U.S. companies by imposing 25% tariffs on $50 billion in Chinese imports. The list of affected goods will be announced on June 15. Meanwhile, the US will issue investment restrictions and export controls for Chinese groups and people on June 30.


Once again, the US cited "national security" as the reason for the tariffs, which will impact "industrially significant technology, including those related to the 'Made in China 2025' program".

In short, as the United States embarks on a historic diplomatic mission in two weeks with North Korea - China's largest ally, US-China relations are sinking. 


Snaffew Wed, 05/30/2018 - 10:56 Permalink

It's a good thing the US of A isn't putting military bases all over the world like an expanding chain of McDonald's burger joints.  Yes, this is very concerning that the pot is calling the kettle midnight black.

Jtrillian revolla Wed, 05/30/2018 - 11:13 Permalink


Those Islands are China's.  They belonged to China prior to Japan taking them in WWII.  They were returned to China in the terms dictated in the above mentioned agreement as part of Japans unconditional surrender. 

But hey, when has any agreement that we signed ever stopped us from making war? 

China has a valid claim to the islands.  The US government is trying to provoke the sleeping dragon into a war.  Be careful what you wish for... you just might get it.

In reply to by revolla

Chupacabra-322 44magnum Wed, 05/30/2018 - 14:22 Permalink

@ 44,

Exactly.  Pure Evil War Criminal Treasonous Seditious Psychopaths walk free today.  Original Crimes continue to go UnProsecuted.  The Criminals continue the absolute, complete, open in your Face Tyrannical Lawlessness.

Irrefutable proof of the absolute, complete, open Lawlessness by the Criminal Fraud UNITED STATES, CORP. INC., its CEO & Board of Directors.


1. Torture .
2. WMD lie to the American People.
3. Lying the American People into War.
4. Illegal Wars of Aggression.
5. Arming, funding & training of terror organizations by the State Dept. / CIA & members of CONgress.
7. McCain meets with ISIS (Pics available).
8. Clapper lies to CONgress.
9. Brennan lies to CONgress & taps Congressional phones / computers.
10. Lynch meets Clinton on tarmac.
11. Fast & Furious deals with the Sinaloa Cartel.
12. Holder in Contempt of CONgress.
13. CIA drug / gun running / money laundering through the tax payer bailed out TBTFB.
14. Illegal NSA Spying on the American People.
15. DNC Federal Election Crime / Debbie Wasserman Shultz & Awan IT Espionage.
16. Hillary Clinton email Treason.
17. Clinton Foundation pay to play RICO.
18. Anthony Weiner 650,000 #PizzaGate Pedo Crimes.
19. Secret Iran deal.
20. Lynch takes the Fifth when asked about Iran deal
21. FBI murders LaVoy Finicum

At the current moment we're completely Lawless.


We have been for quite some time. In the past, their Criminality was "Hidden in plain view."


Now it's out in the open, in your face Criminality & Lawlessness. Complete debachary.

Thing is, the bar & precedent has been set so high among these Criminals I doubt we will ever see another person arrested in our lifetime.


In reply to by 44magnum

verite Jtrillian Wed, 05/30/2018 - 13:12 Permalink

NO ONE had much interest in the area until oil & gas possibilities arrived.  Biggest "island" is a "rock" 1.4 kilometers.  Mostly reefs.

The Chinese & Vietnamese fished there, that was it.

Technically "China", Vietnam (through the French), & possibly the English (Richard Spratly was an English whaler in the 1840s) have some historical claims.

After the Japanese defeat, the allies let "China" receive Japanese surrenders in that area, however no successor was named to the islands. 

"China" though, had a civil war.  And the existing government in "China" at the time was the ROC (Republic of China) who moved to Taiwan.  The communists took over mainland "China."

So now, who "owns" it?  Couldn't we all share and just get along?

In reply to by Jtrillian

any_mouse techpriest Wed, 05/30/2018 - 15:35 Permalink

Meanwhile Militarily threatening China is good, but a trade war with China is bad.

If China is that big of a threat to the world, STOP all US trade with China.

Meanwhile, the USA militarizes the area surrounding China.

119 billion USD is the projected USN Pacific Fleet budget for 2019.

What is the USA annual gain(loss) from trade with China?

Makes no effing sense, except that selected corporations are making profits.

In reply to by techpriest

Scipio Africanuz Jtrillian Wed, 05/30/2018 - 14:53 Permalink

The key phrase to take away from this, is that diplomats are robustly engaged, and if so, cool heads will prevail. Progress is ongoing in the overhaul of US foreign policy, and that's good. We shouldn't forget USA has allies in the neighborhood, ultimately, there'll be jaw jaw on how to coexist peacefully.

A show of force is just that, show but as long as competent diplomats are involved, there's no cause for concern.

The boys will sort things out...

In reply to by Jtrillian

chinooky47 Jtrillian Wed, 05/30/2018 - 15:05 Permalink

Have you looked at a map lately? It's pretty obvious those islands are closer to Philippines and Vietnam.  China just wants to militarize the Spratly's so they can control the shipping lanes in case of a future war and also apply pressure on these small countries for various economic and political reasons.  We signed agreements with the Philippines and other countries in the area after Japan surrendered to protect their sovereignty. Since we are basically the only super power left and due to the International agreements which China signed stating a 12-mile limit from their costs they have no claim other than what they can get away with. It's people like you who can't see what is really going on just because you hate American.  Maybe back in pre-WW2 China had some control over those islands but non were occupied and pretty much not desired by any country. This smells like dead fish!

In reply to by Jtrillian

any_mouse chinooky47 Wed, 05/30/2018 - 15:54 Permalink

"so [(((]they[)))] can control the shipping lanes in case of a future war and also apply pressure on these small countries for various economic and political reasons."

Pretty much true for the USA as well as for China. Prior use was by the British Empire.

"Gunboat Diplomacy" was not a term in American History used to describe a foreign nation.

The Monroe Doctrine.

Would not be good to go to war with the major supplier of goods sold to the American sheep. The Waltons would not be pleased.

Might have to restart CONUS manufacturing. Wage and Price inflation. Lower profits for the Owners.

The Horror.

Addicted to the Petrodollar. Recovery's a bitch.


In reply to by chinooky47

Enrabard Jtrillian Sun, 06/03/2018 - 03:58 Permalink

But they have no right to own any other artificially created sand spots on these seas. Other countries has the same right to their equally big seas zones around them and to exploit their territories.

Who cares about deal between 2 of 4 most deadly and totalitarian states from WWII decided over 70 years ago. You should care what institutions of free world are saying today when all countries around can claim their property rights by equal rules and not afterwar dictates.

Similar meeting in Europe after WWII put Poland under soviet occupation for next 50 years and consequences will drags my country down for next centuries. You could say shit happens - but shit can happen to China also... or to USA... but the biggest shit happens to these small countries around China right now... with consequences for them also spanning in time for next generations.
WWIII won't happen in military terms. You have one global construct glued by trade which is essential to every country. If somebody is damaging it it is China massively exploiting it (like Germany is doing with EU laws to the brink of european economical disaster) and USA which destabilize whole concept - what can cause them both being kicked out from global concept - like ignored child left alone to play with itself only...

These are two sides of the same coin.

The rest of world still grows and these big two will be smaller and smaller two in future. 

In reply to by Jtrillian

verite HominyTwin Wed, 05/30/2018 - 13:22 Permalink

The USSR did do damage to Hitler, but remember it was able to do it only with the resources from the US. 

The West was vital in the war.  Hitler had to spread his forces all over - North Africa, Italy, France.  He spent great resources on submarines and the V2 rocket program.  His factories were constantly bombed by the Brits & Americans.  His airforce was destroyed because of US domination so that on D-day onwards the Wehrmact had no air support.

My point? is clearly understood if you read the post I responded to.

Of course good & evil exist.

In reply to by HominyTwin

not dead yet verite Wed, 05/30/2018 - 17:35 Permalink

The US also spent resources to get convoys of needed materials to Stalin. We hear much about the Atlantic convoys keeping the Brits afloat and preparing for DDay but not much of the convoys to the USSR. Check a map on the distance from the US to Murmansk. If you were a tanker from Texas to Murmansk. All on mostly slow moving ships through U Boat infested waters and under attack from bombers when near France and Norway. For many Britain was but a wayside on a huge journey to the frozen NAZI infested north. Plus all the resources to hunt and kill U Boats that used the east coast of the US and the Carribean as their killing grounds. Wasn't uncommon for Americans to sit on the beach and watch American ships get attacked and sunk. U Boats using Japanese bases and surface raiders also plied the Indian Ocean tying up resources.

Let's not also forget the Allies fought the German's in Africa, Sicily, and Italy long before DDay.

In reply to by verite

verite BigJim Wed, 05/30/2018 - 13:33 Permalink

Really.  You're going to defend Hitler and say, ah well, we should have just let him keep on killing, since he wasn't as bad as Stalin.

No, you have to stand up to evil.  And it was good the US did.  That's why France, Spain, Germany, Italy, etc exist today. 

But you would rather the USSR still exist and that all those countries were Soviet huh?

In reply to by BigJim

BigJim verite Thu, 05/31/2018 - 11:54 Permalink

You're confused. The US didn't "stand up to evil" - the US remained neutral until Germany declared war on the US after their Axis allies the Japs bombed Pearl Harbour.

Hitler had no intention of getting into a fight with the British and French empires. He wanted to expand eastwards, which is why he and Stalin agreed to carve up Poland between them (the Ribbentrop Molotov pact). The UK and France declared war on Germany after he invaded Poland but didn't declare war on the USSR after it invaded a fortnight later, despite the USSR having a far worse history of human rights atrocities than the Nazis up until that time (1939).

I'm not "defending" Hitler. He was just another ruthless dictator. But "standing up" to him wound up bringing about Eastern Europe's totalitarian domination under the Soviets for 45 years.

In reply to by verite

not dead yet verite Wed, 05/30/2018 - 17:11 Permalink

If the Allies, especially the Brits and the French, after WW1 wouldn't have used the Germans as a cash register and wiped their feet on them every chance they got Hitler would have ended up being a painter in Austria. German's were especially pissed that they were expected to pay for a war they did not start while others skated. When reparations weren't coming fast enough for the French they marched in and occupied the German industrial heartland. Stalin and the commies got a foothold in Germany as the many German's looked to the commies as the lesser of the evils afflicting them in those trying times. Nazi popularity skyrocketed as the Brown Shirts kicked commie ass in the streets. Even after WW2 the German's were treated like crap and many died on the streets of Europe, and prisoner pens, as the allies looked away.

General Patton was on the carpet many times for treating the German people as defeated enemies in need of a lift. The areas under his command were the most peaceful and successful yet he was called on the carpet many times for not treating the German's like vermin which most Americans wanted. Most Europeans and Americans wanted all the German's to up and die so as to preserve world peace. Americans are under the impression that the Marshall Plan to put Germany and Europe back on their feet was implemented right after the war. Not. It was implemented in 1948 and the reasoning behind it was again the German's after being treated so badly were going over to the commies. 

Stalin and the Russians after many times being attacked and occupied by the west wanted Eastern Europe as a buffer zone between it and the west. Contrary to American understanding the Soviets did not totally occupy these countries. They puppets in charge and backed them. Now that the US through it's puppet NATO is on Russia's doorstep it proved Stalin was right to be paranoid.

Iraq was a huge mistake on the US part buts it's worst mistake was putting that totally ignorant complete ass Paul Bremer in charge as king of Iraq. After the war wound down the General in charge was doing his best General Patton and was planning on helping the Iraqi's put their country back together. In walks Bremer who within days of arriving disbanded and outlawed the Bath Party and disbanded and threw into the streets the police and military. All of whom would reorganize to kill Americans as they were humiliated and treated like criminals instead of those who fought for their country and families from an invader who had no cause to invade. Iraq may have not been the failure it was if a modern day George Patton were in charge instead of the glory seeking hateful bastard Paul Bremer.

In reply to by verite

InnVestuhrr revolla Wed, 05/30/2018 - 17:24 Permalink

We are wise to all of you goat-fucking sub-human vermin worshipers of the vile immoral islamic cult, peddling the anti-Israel & anti-Jew propaganda to serve your perverted interests.

It is understandable how inferior you feel after having been beaten repeatedly, in spite of outnumbering the Israelis many fold, humiliated and exposed for the inferior defective sub-human primitives that you are.Why don't you just terminate yourself and end your suffering as a failure ???

In reply to by revolla

Fireman Snaffew Wed, 05/30/2018 - 11:04 Permalink

It's already all over. China owns US but try explaining that tho the chosenites that think they own the world.


The only stats that matter.


Dead beat USSA expects China to pay for the next judaic war against...China?

These neocohen scum are asking to get whacked.

The no longer Pentacon "backed" IOU Saudi Mercan petroscrip dollah is going to get hubris bloated USSANS fried, but don't tell the filth in Washing town.…


In reply to by Snaffew

PrayingMantis Fireman Wed, 05/30/2018 - 11:12 Permalink


   ... will Mattis’ threats of confrontation include China government’s $500 Million loan to Trump’s Indonesian resort? ...

     ... “ ... Trump Indonesia project is latest stop on China’s Belt and Road ... “ ...

     ... >>> ...

     .... “ ... A billion-dollar Indonesian property development with ties to US President Donald Trump has become the latest project in China’s globe-spanning Belt and Road infrastructure project – just as Washington and Beijing are tussling over trade. ... “... 

    ... “ ... The project includes Trump-branded hotels, residences and a golf course, as well as other hotel, shopping and residential developments. ... “ ... 


In reply to by Fireman