“China is not honoring its agreements,” said the American admiral after a no-show

By Phil Stewart

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – The US military on Wednesday criticized China for not showing up at high-level virtual rallies scheduled for this week, with the US top admiral for the Asia Pacific saying it was “ another example of China’s agreements . “

“This should serve as a reminder of all nations pursuing future agreements with China,” Admiral Phil Davidson, the commander of the US Indo-Pacific Command, said in a statement.

China was expected to attend meetings from December 14-16 in connection with the Military Maritime Consultative Agreement (MMCA) focused on maritime security, the command said.

It was not immediately clear why China refused to participate. There was no immediate response from the Chinese military to Davidson’s comments.

Ties between the US and China have deteriorated rapidly this year due to a range of issues from Beijing’s approach to the coronavirus, US support for Taiwan, telecommunications equipment manufacturer Huawei and China’s approach to Hong Kong.

The United States has also long opposed China’s extensive territorial claims in the South China Sea and has regularly sent warships across the strategic waterway.

The US military said it has been in regular contact with the Chinese People’s Liberation Army (PLA) since 1998 to conduct the MMCA dialogue. The talks would pretty much take place this year due to the ongoing corona virus pandemic.

“We remain committed to the MMCA and call on the PLA to conduct the MMCA dialogue in a manner consistent with the MMCA charter and the goal of an operational security dialogue,” Davidson said, referring to China’s People’s Liberation Army.

The MMCA is designed in part to assess any unsafe military incidents between US and PLA forces, including in the South China Sea.

(Reporting by Phil Stewart; edited by Chris Reese and Michael Perry)