Top U.S. diplomat for East Asia calls China 'lawless bully'

FILE PHOTO: David Stilwell, U.S. Assistant Secretary for East Asian and Pacific Affairs, answers reporters’ questions after a meeting with his South Korean counterpart Cho Sei-young at the Foreign Ministry in Seoul, South Korea, November 6, 2019. REUTERS/Heo Ran

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – The top U.S. diplomat for East Asia, David Stilwell, said on Thursday China’s recent actions around the world were not those of a responsible global actor, but of a “lawless bully.”

In prepared testimony for a Senate Foreign Relations Committee hearing, Stilwell said the United States was not asking countries to choose sides on the China issue, but to stand up against its “malign” behavior and to protect their own sovereignty and economic interests.

At the same time, Stilwell said U.S. competition with China need not lead to conflict, and that the United States sought to cooperate with Beijing where interests aligned, for instance on North Korea.

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