02:28 GMT +322 February 2017
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    This photo taken on May 10, 2016 shows crew members of China's South Sea Fleet taking part in a logistics supply drill near the James Shoal area on South China Sea

    Beijing to Trump: We'll Protect South China Sea Sovereignty

    © AFP 2016/ STR
    Asia & Pacific
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    Chinese Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Hua Chunying issued a warning to the new White House administration that Washington "is not a party to the South China Sea dispute," even though the US Navy maintains a significant presence in the global trade hub.

    After White House Press Secretary Sean Spicer called the sovereignty of the Spratly islands into question, Beijing responded in kind. "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," Spicer said on Monday. In what looks like a tit-for-tat game, the Chinese Foreign Ministry responded, saying China’s sovereignty over the Spratly islands was "irrefutable."

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

    On Tuesday, Lu Kang, a senior Chinese Foreign Ministry official, said there “might” be a difference of opinion over who has rights to the islands and waters of the South China Sea, "but that’s not for the United States" to determine alone. Refuting Spicer’s remarks, Lu told NBC News on Tuesday "that’s not international territory, that’s Chinese territory," adding that China has the right to build whatever it wants on what it considers to be its own territory.

    On Sunday, Chinese state-media outlet The Global Times stated in an op-ed that military exercises in the South China Sea and the Taiwan Strait "will become a kind of normal, extremely normal drills."

    Calling China’s construction on the Spratly islands "illegal," former Exxon CEO Rex Tillerson, likely to become the next US Secretary of State following a committee vote of 11-10 in favor of his advancement, will see his vote go to the full Senate. Marco Rubio, a Florida Senator formerly critical of Tillerson’s stance on human rights, has now signaled his support for the ex-business bigwig as, "it would be against our national interest to have this confirmation unnecessarily delayed or embroiled in controversy."

    "We’re going to have to send China a clear signal that, first, the island-building stops and, second, your access to those islands also is not going to be allowed," Tillerson has declared.

    US President Donald Trump has repeatedly criticized Beijing on trade practices, currency devaluation, and for failing to keep Pyongyang at bay. Trump’s argument generally lines up with a recently surfaced CIA memo on how Washington might approach economic sanctions against North Korea. Specifically, Beijing’s role as an economic lifeline to the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea "would strenuously oppose—and assist Pyongyang in evading—an embargo." Trump has scolded Beijing, tweeting that it "won’t help with North Korea," and adding sardonically, "Nice!"

    Related:

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    Trump Criticizes Beijing's Economic Policy, Military Build-Up in South China Sea
    McCain Warns Trump: US Exit From TPP Puts China in Asia’s Economic Driver Seat
    Europe Turning to China as Uncertainty Over Trump's Foreign Policy Looms
    New Silk Road: Beijing's Asymmetric Response to Trump's Crackdown on China
    Tags:
    tensions, Central Intelligence Agency (CIA), DPRK, Sean Spicer, Lu Kang, Rex Tillerson, Donald Trump, South China Sea, Beijing
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    • avatar
      Randall Lee Hilburn
      How does the Trump administration expect to deny the Chinese access to those islands unless he is threatening China with actual war? This sounds like an ultimatum. How does he expect to stop China from aiding North Korea, if that is what they're doing, unless he is also talking about war there?
    • avatar
      peaceactivist2
      We enter some one's home, sit on the dining table and enjoyed the dishes without being invited is quite a shameful manner. Wish politicians know how to shame themselves from eating on none invited table.
    • MaDarby
      RT just wants clicks like the rest. Or RT has no clue about US politics.

      Every single word spoken by Tillerson and ALL nominees is to get appointed and has nothing what-so-ever do do with the policies they may pursue once appointed. What a great sound bite "cut off China from the islands" he knows damn well that can't be done short of nuclear war and never had any intention of doing that.

      Amazing that RT is silly enough to believe it or crass enough to use it for clicks.

      But then journalists are journalists are journalists no mater what part of globe they come from. Get clicks or die.
    • avatar
      hopscotch64
      Buckle up your seat belts the world is in for a rocky ride!!!! That is if it survives the Trump dictatorship.
      What is important is that neither Russia or China allow the US to drive a wedge between their current strategic alliance.
    • avatar
      Austrian Schoolin reply toMaDarby(Show commentHide comment)
      MaDarby, What makes you so sure that Tillerson lied?
    • avatar
      Austrian School
      Russia and China must not be divided, they should announce their defensive alliance.
    • avatar
      karlof1in reply toAustrian School(Show commentHide comment)
      Austrian School, Their alliance is de facto, and not need be de jure, particularly through the SCO. Their relationship is essentially symbiotic. Xi recently announced China's intentions and sent a shot across Trump's bow with his speech at Davos, www.weforum.org/agenda/2017/01/full-text-of-xi-jinping-keynote-at-the-world-economic-forum
    • avatar
      karlof1
      Interesting how the #1 "existential enemy" changed horses with the Outlaw US Empire's internal regime change. Unfortunately for Trumpistas, anti-China propaganda isn't nearly as prolonged as its anti-Russian counterpart. I suggest to all that Xi's Davos speech be read completely,www.weforum.org/agenda/2017/01/full-text-of-xi-jinping-keynote-at-the-world-economic-forum
    • choticastile
      ""We’re going to have to send China a clear signal that, first, the island-building stops and, second, your access to those islands also is not going to be allowed," Tillerson has declared."

      Jeez, how's that for unbeatable arrogance! US surrounds all other major powers with its missile shields by the multi hundreds and they must simply bow down and say, "Yes Sir! Three bags full sir!" Where the heck is there any mature vision or global cooperation in what is simply more US overblown, out of all proportion blarney? Unless of course the US is as intent as ever to have another war and possibly the war of all wars, at that? For the Good Lord's sake-- how can US leaders continue with this absolute shortsightedness-- nay, even abject blindness, when considering the unmentionable consequences which sure as hell, would follow...

      Seems to me that the destructive Obama offshore manufacturing policies with China, which he initiated during his first term and which during his second term, began to hit the US in the solar plexus, Trump now seems to be bent on making China pay for, when actually Obama was the snake in the woodpile who caused it in the first place?

      When, a few years ago China's economy was still running away with itself-- growing at the rate of a runaway train and when, I think it necessitated adjusting the value of the yuan-- China did it to protect its own economy-- not to hurt the US dollar-- but China was immediately under attack by the Obama regime, as we saw from the multiple supposed 'accidents' which followed on China.

      Furthermore, when one thinks of the monetary debt the US owes China-- the way the US is treating China, is unforgivable, I'd say! Hope the hell out, the US backs off, because that'll be the correct way forward, while putting China on the back foot most definitely is NOT! -- The negotiation table looms massively large here as do respect for China! -- As in my humble opinion, warring with China-- the US will end up destroying itself-- as employing its military might can no longer work-- the US needs know, that when Trump had promised the American people, he wants to make America great again, the way forward is to relinquish its imperial demands and begin to show a bit of genuine humility, a bit of genuine interest, in getting along with China and Russia, Iran and others -- these countries are not going anywhere, are here to stay and yes, the US needs to come to terms that its no longer the only power on the planet-- is no longer in the position to dictate left right and centre-- unless the US is prepared for the negative consequences it will bring on itself.

      Tillerson's statement, was just so over the top, that I could not suppress a dry chuckle at the irony of it. Do American leaders truly think they own the planet? They have a huge surprise waiting then ... For their own sake, they should change to a much more user friendly and conciliatory foreign policy-- or the American people, may very well change it for them, because they've had about as much as any nation can take, of their overbearing and arrogant, demanding and warmongering, argumentative leaders-- threatening everybody with big guns, just like a cowboy riding into town shooting anyone and everything that moves ...
    • MaDarbyin reply toAustrian School(Show commentHide comment)
      Austrian School, Why on earth would he need to make that decision now, surly he will have a number of options and I figure he used a dramatic option to get the attention of the hawks on the committee and their votes. No nominee makes firm policy commitments in the confirmation hearings and he is not bound by what he says in them. So, what I am saying is that he said what he thought would get him confirmed it could be an option so it isn't a lie, his decision probably doesn't need to be made for many months and things could change quite a bit before then,
    • choticastilein reply tokarlof1(Show commentHide comment)
      karlof1, Thank you!-- I only heard an excerpt from his speech the other day on video-- the transcript was fantastic! -- Wise man and deep thinker-- no wonder Xi Jinping and President Putin enjoy such a good relationship.... President Trump will be the loser, if he foregoes joining two such formidable leaders-- leaders with such a great understanding of the many complex global issues facing our troubled world. Somehow, I can't see Trump not being a person without understanding of global needs either-- something is in the offing here --- sabre rattling for the show perhaps? Maybe for reasons I'd rather not discuss here... but I think much more is going on behind the scenes right now, at the highest level, than most of us know... Sure though you'll follow what I am referring to.
    • avatar
      Trihalo42
      A ridiculous amount of our products come from China. Economic sanctions against China would do more harm than dropping bombs on them.
    • avatar
      rmpblue
      If war ever breaks out China's stance will change as China will again be a US protectorate and relegated to 3rd world status with no return to relevancy for decades if not longer . . .
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