Amid tension arising in different corners of the world due to China's aggressive stance, US Secretary of Defense Dr Mark Esper has directed China to stop its 'destabilizing actions' and abide by international laws and norms.
China is seeking to overturn the current values-based international order that has provided peace for more than 70 years, Esper was quoted as saying by US Department of Defence, noting that the system is based on shared values and long-established economic ties with allies and partners in the region.
"In this era of globalization, the antidote to a viral contagion is communication and collaboration, not disinformation and deception," he added.
While the United States and its allies and partners are working in this time of plague to support one another, the Chinese Communist Party continues to engage in systematic rule-breaking, coercion and other malign activities, Esper said.
"Most concerning to me," he added, "the People's Liberation Army continues its aggressive behavior in the East and South China Seas."
China's excessive claims in the area affect all trading nations and neighbors such as Vietnam, the Philippines, Brunei, Malaysia, Indonesia, Japan and South Korea, Esper said.
"Most recently, Beijing advanced national security legislation that violates its commitment to the Hong Kong people to enjoy a high degree of autonomy, calling the 1984 Sino-British Joint Declaration, a statement of policies rather than the treaty that it is," the secretary said.
"Make no mistake, the [Chinese Communist Party] has been engaged in this sort of behavior for many years," Esper said. "But today, its true intentions are on full display for all to see."
The United States and allies and partners in the region call on China to stop its destabilizing actions and abide by the international laws and norms that China arguably benefited most from since World War II.
"While we hope the CCP will change its ways, we must be prepared for the alternative," he said.
"Together, we must uphold the free and open system that has secured peace and prosperity for millions and defend the principles that undergird it — namely, respect for sovereignty and independence for all nations, regardless of their size, peaceful resolution of disputes, mutual adherence to international laws and norms, and the promotion of free fair and reciprocal trade."