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"I believe there are much larger consequences in the future when nations lose the rapport of their neighbors. eventually these [actions] do not pay off", he said.

French Defence Minister Florence Parly called on countries to abide by global law in the South China Sea, saying that France would persistently object to the creation of any claim to de facto sovereignty of the islands there.

"They don't know what's coming next", Mr. Friedberg said.

He added that the status of US troops in South Korea was not on the table when Trump and Kim meet, but left the door open to the issue being discussed down the road between Seoul and Washington if certain conditions were met.

From left, U.S. Defense Secretary Jim Mattis, Japan's Defense Minister Itsunori Onodera and China's People's Liberation Army's Academy of Military Science Deputy President He Lei pose for photos at a ministerial roundtable on the sidelines of the 17th International Institute for Strategic Studies (IISS) Shangri-la Dialogue, an annual defense and security forum in Asia, in Singapore, Saturday, June 2, 2018, in Singapore.

A French maritime task group, together with British helicopters and ships, will visit Singapore next week and then sail into certain areas of the South China Sea, French armed forces minister Florence Parly announced, according to the South China Morning Post.

He also reiterated that the Pentagon was committed to working with Taiwan to provide articles and services needed for its self defence, comments that are likely to anger China.

"This is our priority theater", Mattis said.

Senior Col. Zhao Xiaozhuo said a US move a couple years ago to send two warships into China's "territorial waters" was a violation of law, and an "obvious provocation to China's national security and territorial integrity".

At the same conference, US Defense Secretary James Mattis accused China of "intimidation and coercion" in the area.

"It's an example of the rules-based order in action", she said.

His comments come ahead of a planned June 12 summit between President Trump and North Korean leader Kim Jong Un. The summit is expected to be here in Singapore.

Kathleen Wynne says she won't win election
"It's a realization that the Kathleen Wynne brand might be more detrimental than the Liberal party brand", she said. The NDP leader is making her strong push for Liberal ridings with less than a week left in the campaign.

Gen Mattis said the issue of removing USA troops from South Korea was "not on the table" and that "our objective remains the complete, verifiable, and irreversible denuclearisation of the Korean peninsula". China normally tracks USA ships until they leave.

Last week, the US withdrew an invitation for Beijing's participation in naval exercises known as the Rim of the Pacific.

Recent satellite photographs showed China appeared to have deployed truck-mounted surface-to-air missiles or anti ship cruise missiles at Woody Island.

China has a sovereign right to deploy its forces and equipment on artificial South China Sea islands and considers any criticism of its actions an interference in its domestic affairs, Lt. Gen.

"China's policy in the South China Sea stands in stark contrast to the openness that our strategy promotes, it calls into question China's broader goals", said Mattis. Weaker than China militarily but keen on access to the sea's natural resources such as oil deposits, they resent China for placing military infrastructure on the tiny islands. Washington calls those missions "freedom of navigation" operations, or FONOPs for short. China protested the maneuver.

It is believed to be the first time where two United States warships have been used for a freedom-of-navigation operation in the South China Sea.

Both France and the United Kingdom will challenge Beijing by sailing through "territorial waters" in the South China Sea this week.

But Chinese Lieutenant General He Lei issued a fiery response, telling the summit that "irresponsible comments from other nations can not be accepted".

Those who cry out against militarization are actually those who are actually undertaking militarization in the South China Sea, the senior Chinese military official said.

At the forum, Beijing's representatives responded to the French and British plans by saying the South China Sea is free and open for all to travel through, and there would be no restrictions on normal freedom of navigation.

In maintaining regional peace and security, observers say, China has played a crucial role by upholding its concept of a comprehensive, cooperative and sustainable security.