China is using its power like never before and the country's ships routinely patrol around the Senkaku Islands controlled by Japan in the East China Sea, US Vice President Mike Pence said Thursday.
In a major policy speech on China, Pence said China's aggression was on display this week when a Chinese naval vessel came within 45 yards of the USS Decatur as it conducted freedom-of-navigation operations in the disputed South China Sea, forcing the US ship to quickly maneuver to avoid collision.
China's aggression was on display this week, when a Chinese naval vessel came within 45 yards of the USS Decatur as it conducted freedom-of-navigation operations in the South China Sea, forcing US ship to quickly maneuver to avoid collision.
China claims almost all of South China Sea and also laid claims on the Senkaku islands under the control of Japan in the East China Sea and has resorted to aggressive patrols in the last few years.
Vietnam, the Philippines, Malaysia, Brunei and Taiwan have counter claims over the South China Sea.
"While China's leader stood in the Rose Garden of the White House in 2015 and said that his country had 'no intention to militarise the South China Sea', today, Beijing has deployed advanced anti-ship and anti-air missiles atop an archipelago of military bases constructed on artificial islands," he said.
Pence said Beijing was using its power like never before.
Chinese ships routinely patrol around the Senkaku Islands, which are administered by Japan, he said.
Despite China's "reckless harassment", the US Navy will continue to fly, sail and operate wherever international law allows and "our national interests demand", he said.
"We will not be intimidated; we will not stand down," Pence said.
He said America had hoped that economic liberalisation would bring China into greater partnership with US and with the world, but China has chosen economic aggression, which has in turn emboldened its growing military.
"Nor, as we hoped, has Beijing moved toward greater freedom for its people. For a time, Beijing inched toward greater liberty and respect for human rights, but in recent years, it has taken a sharp U-turn toward control and oppression," he said.
Pence said China has built an unparalleled surveillance state, and it's growing more expansive and intrusive often with the help of US technology.
The "Great Firewall of China" likewise grows higher, drastically restricting the free flow of information to the Chinese people, he said.
By 2020, China's rulers aim to implement an Orwellian system premised on controlling virtually every facet of human life the so-called "social credit score", he added.
In the words of that program's official blueprint, it will "allow the trustworthy to roam everywhere under heaven, while making it hard for the discredited to take a single step" he said.
"And when it comes to religious freedom, a new wave of persecution is crashing down on Chinese Christians, Buddhists, and Muslims ," he said.
Last month, Beijing shut down one of China's largest underground churches. Across the country, authorities are tearing down crosses, burning bibles, and imprisoning believers, he said.
"Beijing has now reached a deal with the Vatican that gives the avowedly atheist Communist Party a direct role in appointing Catholic bishops. For China's Christians, these are desperate times," Pence said.
Noting that Beijing is also cracking down on Buddhism, Pence said over the past decade, more than 150 Tibetan Buddhist monks have lit themselves on fire to protest China's repression of their beliefs and culture.
He said in Xinjiang, the ruling Communist Party had imprisoned as many as one million Muslim Uyghurs in government camps where they endure around-the-clock brainwashing.
"Survivors of the camps have described their experiences as a deliberate attempt by Beijing to strangle Uyghur culture and stamp out the Muslim faith," he said.
(This article has not been edited by Zeebiz editorial team and is auto-generated from an agency feed.)