Washington: As tensions between two powers rise over comments by Donald Trump, the United States Pacific Commander on Wednesday said that it will keep challenging Beijing's 'assertive, aggressive behaviour in the South China Sea'.
Admiral Harry Harris, head of the US Pacific Command, warned Washington would not accept Chinese control of the region, despite Beijing`s rapid development of artificial islands capable of hosting military planes.
"We will not allow the shared domains to be closed down unilaterally, no matter how many bases are built on artificial features in the South China Sea," Harris said.
"We will cooperate where we can but we will be ready to confront where we must."
Harris's remarks come after Beijing angrily reacting to US President-elect Donald Trump breaking convention by speaking directly to Taiwanese leader Tsai Ing-wen -- and suggesting that Washington could jettison Washington's decades-old "One China policy".
The "One China policy" is a diplomatic compromise allowing the US to do business with both China and Taiwan while only recognising Beijing diplomatically.
China insists on sovereignty over virtually all the resource-endowed South China Sea, despite rival claims from its Southeast Asian neighbours.