Tags: south china sea | white house | beijing | clash

South China Sea: White House, Beijing Clash Over Territory

Image: South China Sea: White House, Beijing Clash Over Territory

An aerial view of Taiwan-controlled Taiping island, also known as Itu Aba, its largest island holding in the South China Sea, is seen in the Spratly archipelago, roughly 1,000 miles south of Taiwan, Wednesday, March 23, 2016. (AP Photo/Johnson Lai)

By    |   Wednesday, 25 Jan 2017 05:57 AM

The South China Sea could be one of President Donald Trump's first international challenges, with China pushing back after the White House said it would defend international interests there.

China foreign minister spokeswoman Hua Chunying said during a news briefing Tuesday that the "United States is not a party to the South China Sea dispute," Reuters reported.

"We urge the United States to respect the facts, speak and act cautiously to avoid harming the peace and stability of the South China Sea," Hua said at the briefing, according to Reuters. "Our actions in the South China Sea are reasonable and fair.

"No matter what changes happen in other countries, what they say or what they want to do, China's resolve to protect its sovereignty and maritime rights in the South China Sea will not change," she added.

The comments came in response to White House spokesman Sean Spicer's statement on Monday, which appeared to back up remarks made by Trump secretary of state nominee Rex Tillerson about the South China Sea on Jan. 11, The Washington Post reported.

Tillerson said then that the United States would not allow China access to islands it had built on the waterway and has installed weapons systems and airstrips, the Post noted.

"The U.S. is going to make sure that we protect our interests there," Spicer said when asked about Tillerson's comments. "It's a question of if those islands are in fact in international waters and not part of China proper, then yeah, we're going to make sure that we defend international territories from being taken over by one country."

Reuters reported that China claims most of the South China Sea, with Taiwan, Malaysia, Vietnam, the Philippines and Brunei claiming parts of the sea. The sea has strategic sea lanes and has rich fishing grounds along with oil and gas deposits.

Tillerson, who is awaiting Senate confirmation, said at his hearing that the Trump administration needed to give China a "clear signal" that its military activities in the sea must end, according to The Guardian.

"They are taking territory or control or declaring control of territories that are not rightfully China's," Tillerson said, per The Guardian.

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The South China Sea could be one of President Donald Trump's first international challenges, with China pushing back after the White House said it would defend international interests there.
south china sea, white house, beijing, clash
365
2017-57-25
Wednesday, 25 Jan 2017 05:57 AM
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