FILE PHOTO: China’s Defense Minister General Wei Fenghe looks on during a meeting with Brazil’s Defence Minister Fernando Azevedo e Silva (not pictured) in Brasilia, Brazil September, 2018. REUTERS/Adriano Machado/File Photo
BANGKOK (Reuters) – China, during defense talks in Bangkok on Monday, called on the U.S. military to stop flexing its muscles in the South China Sea and to avoid adding “new uncertainties” over Taiwan, underscoring tensions between the world’s two largest economies.
Chinese Defense Minister Wei Fenghe called on U.S. Defense Secretary Mark Esper to “stop flexing muscles in the South China Sea and to not provoke and escalate tensions in the South China Sea,” said Defense Ministry spokesman Wu Qian.
The United States did not immediately respond, but has accused China of militarizing the South China Sea. Esper said on Sunday Beijing was “increasingly resorting to coercion and intimidation to advance its strategic objectives” in the region.
Reporting by Phil Stewart; Editing by Muralikumar Anantharaman
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