China isn’t playing around!
The US risks a “large-scale war” with China if it attempts to blockade islands in the South China Sea, Chinese state media has said, adding that if recent statements become policy when Donald Trump takes over as president “the two sides had better prepare for a military clash”.
China has controversially built fortifications and artificial islands across the South China Sea. Rex Tillerson, Trump’s nominee for secretary of state, said China’s “access to those islands … is not going to be allowed”.
Under Barack Obama the US remained neutral on sovereignty claims, not recognising any ownership, but often challenged China’s control of the area by sailing warships past islands in what it called freedom of navigation exercises.
In December, Trump made comments in an interview with Fox News, accusing Beijing of “building a massive fortress in the middle of the South China Sea, which they shouldn’t be doing”.
Peter Navarro, Trump’s pick to head the newly created national trade council, has been extremely hostile to China and encouraged the president-elect to pursue a “peace through strength” policy in the region.