>> We will cooperate where we can, but we will be ready to confront where we must.>> US Navy Admiral Harry Harris laying down a marker in Australia Wednesday. Saying the US is prepared to take on China militarily in the South China sea if need be.>> We will continue to exercise and protect our rights on the high seas, in the air, in space, and in cyber.
Wherever international law allows.>> It's yet another sign of growing tensions between the US and China as President Elect Donald Trump prepares to take over the White House. Promising to shake up an already strained relationship. Harris' comments coming just as a Reuter's exclusive reveals China appears to have installed weapon systems on its already controversial artificial islands in the South China sea.
Reuters obtaining images from the Asia Maritime Transparency Initiative showing structures that experts have concluded are quote point defense fortifications including anti aircraft and anti missile batteries. Parts of the South China Sea are claimed by many countries in the region including Malaysia, the Philippines and Vietnam. And carries about $5 trillion in ship trade every year.
The Chinese foreign ministry responding to Harris' repose, calling on the United States to quote, do more to promote peace and stability in the South China Sea. The revelations and Harris' tough language coming after Trump caused a fire storm by taking a phone call from the president of Taiwan which is not recognized by the Chinese government leaving many wondering what will come once Trump moves into the oval office