China threatens stability in the Pacific - U.S. commander

China threatens stability in the Pacific - U.S. commander

China is threatening the sovereignty of small Pacific Islands and undermining the region’s stability, a top U.S. military commander said.

Admiral Philip Davidson - commander of the U.S. Indo-Pacific Command - said in a speech in Sydney the U.S. "was all in" to counter China in the Pacific, citing its "excessive territorial claims, debt trap diplomacy, violations of international agreements, theft of international property, military intimidation and outright corruption."

"The Communist Party of China seeks to control the flow of trade, finance, communications, politics and the way of life in the Indo-Pacific," Reuters cited Davidson as saying.

The Chinese embassy in Australia did not immediately respond to a request for comment. China has in the past rejected accusations of aggressive behavior and of luring small economies into debt “traps”.

China has been more active in the resource-rich Pacific in recent years, seeking to extend influence with aid and encouraging countries away from diplomatic ties with Taiwan.

U.S.-China relations improved in January with the signing of a trade deal that defused an 18-month row that has hit global growth but strains remain.