US report warns of military build-up in South China Sea

US intelligence chief Dan Coats presented the report to the Senate in an open hearing.
US intelligence chief Dan Coats presented the report to the Senate in an open hearing.PHOTO: REUTERS

An annual US intelligence assessment of global trends released on Tuesday warned that China is likely to continue boosting its maritime presence in the South China Sea and building military and dual-use infrastructure on the Spratly Islands.

China seeks to achieve effective control over its claimed waters, compel South-east Asian claimants to acquiesce to its claims and bolster its narrative in the region that the US is in decline and China's pre-eminence is inevitable, added the report.

A Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman, asked about the assessment, questioned why Washington felt insecure as the top superpower, and urged it to set aside its "zero-sum" understanding of security.

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A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on January 31, 2019, with the headline 'US report warns of military build-up in South China Sea'. Print Edition | Subscribe