UPDATED 7:35 AM PT – Sat. June 1, 2019
Acting Defense Secretary Patrick Shanahan takes a swipe at China.
At a press conference in Singapore Friday, Shanahan warned against Chinese measures to destabilize other countries.
Shanahan described China as a “bad actor,” accusing Beijing of using economic exploitation and military coercion to advance its own agenda on the world stage.
“Perhaps the greatest long-term threat to the vital interests of the states across this region comes from actors who seek to undermine, rather than uphold, the rules-based international order,” Shanahan said.
Shanahan warned the U.S. will not ignore Chinese behavior, but he insisted Washington does not want confrontation with Beijing.
His speech comes amid heightened tension between the two nations over trade and activity in the South China Sea.