"The United States military presence in the South China Sea is greater than that of China and other countries that surround the seas combined", Chinese Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Hua Chunying said at a regular briefing.
"We'll continue that [military exercises]", Mattis said on Tuesday.
Cayetano said China has assured that the deployment of missiles in three reefs claimed by the Philippines as well as the testing and landing of Chinese bombers in Woody Island in the Paracels is "purely for defensive goal and not directed against the Philippines".
"You'll notice there's only one country that seems to take active steps to rebuff [such operations] or state their resentment of them, but it's worldwide waters and a lot of nations want to see freedom of navigation, so we will continue that", Mattis told reporters as he flew to Hawaii.
Critics and left-wing groups have slammed Duterte for not publicly raising alarm over recent Chinese actions, including the reported installation of missile defense systems on its newly constructed islands, and for not demanding immediate Chinese compliance with a 2016 arbitration ruling that invalidated Beijing's expansive claims in the South China Sea and upheld the Philippines' sovereign rights to exploit resources in vast stretches of waters off its western coast.
"Yes, we have differences with them (China), but we have made gains".
The dialogue comes amid rising criticism from the United States and its allies of Beijing's actions in the South China Sea, and in particular its deployment of advanced weapons and aircraft, including its nuclear-capable H-6K strategic bombers.
Mattis said, the USA will maintain a "steady drum beat" in the South China Sea to "confront" China for actions that Washington deems to "be out of step with global law" and worldwide tribunal rulings.
"We control Scarborough until 2011, but in 2012 nung nagkaroon ng misfire ang Aquino administration, umalis tayo at sila (China) bumalik".
Ukrainian diplomat trolls Russia's Foreign Ministry for reaction to 'murder' of Babchenko
He had served in the Russian army during the two wars in Chechnya in 1990s and became one of Russia's best-known war reporters. Its not clear whether Russian Federation was involved in the plot to trick Babchenko's enemies.
China always asserts that its actions are defensive in nature, arguing that the deployment of various weapons systems do not constitute "militarization" and are, therefore, not a violation of past agreements.
Esperon said the government was also upgrading the port and airstrip facilities in Pag-asa Island as part of its efforts to promote the welfare of Filipinos living in the area.
"Our soldiers should not be harassed when they deliver supplies or when they fix the runways", Cayetano said, referring to the small airstrip on Pag-asa [Thitu], the largest Philippine-occupied island in the Spratlys.
He added that the area was regarded as worldwide waters and many countries wanted to exercise their freedom of navigation.
"Concerns have come to me not from American government circles but also from foreign navies that are also concerned, very concerned about this continuing militarization of features in the South China Sea", he said.
The Global Times, a state-backed Chinese tabloid that does not reflect official policy, said in an editorial on Thursday that China must prepare to forcefully respond to any "extreme" USA interference in the South China Sea.
He is stopping in Hawaii to mark a change in leadership at US Pacific Command.
THE Philippines has started the construction of lighthouses on its claimed features in the disputed South China Sea (West Philippine Sea), National Security Adviser Hermogenes Esperon Jr. said Wednesday, May 30.
Harris has been nominated to become the next USA ambassador to South Korea.
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