What do the US, Australia and Canada really think of China?
US President Donald Trump has reportedly accused China of being “totally destabilising” the region and “playing with fire” in its military.
China is currently engaged in a massive military build-up in the South China Sea and in the disputed Spratly Islands, as well as on the contested Paracel Islands.
The US has been pressing Beijing to make a move to secure the islands, which it says are strategically vital to the region’s security.
“They have been destabilising the region for many, many years and they will continue to do so until they get what they want,” Trump told the Senate on Wednesday.
“There’s nothing that we’re going to be able to do with China that we can’t deal with, and if we can deal with them, I think they’re going, I don’t know, we’ll probably do it.”
China has denied the claims.
“China has the right to peacefully maintain the peace and stability of the South and East China Seas, which is one of the most important areas for international peace and security,” China’s foreign ministry said in a statement.
“The international community should firmly stand behind China’s right to freedom of navigation and overflight.”
However, China’s military has been involved in the region since the 1960s, when it was a US ally.
“Beijing’s military build up is a direct result of Washington’s policy of using its military as a tool to influence the South East Asian region,” Trump said.
“Its actions in the Spratlys are another sign that Washington is still playing with fire.”
The US president has not spoken directly with China since taking office, but his administration has reportedly increased trade between the two countries.
“If the US wants to get ahead in terms of trade and investment with China, I’d encourage them to get in contact with me, because we have to get back to working with them,” Trump reportedly said.