China responds to Trump administration after South China Sea claims

World Today

The new administration of President Donald Trump said it will take steps to prevent China from taking over disputed island territory in the South China Sea.

The White House is suggesting it may be prepared to intervene.

CGTN’s Daniel Rynjtes reports.Follow Daniel Ryntjes on Twitter @danielryntjes

China responds to Trump administration after South China Sea claims

China responds to Trump administration after South China Sea claims

The new administration of President Donald Trump said it will take steps to prevent China from taking over disputed island territory in the South China Sea. CGTN’s Daniel Rynjtes reports.

“I think the U.S. is going to make sure that we protect our interests there. 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,” White House Press Secretary Sean Spicer said.

During his confirmation hearing for the position of U.S. Secretary of State, Rex Tillerson said the U.S. should send a clear signal that China would not be allowed access to artificial islands it has built and would be told to stop further building activity.

China’s Foreign Ministry claimed what it calls “indisputable sovereignty over the Nansha Islands and their adjacent waters” and that it “upholds its territorial sovereignty and maritime rights and interests in the South China Sea.”

“China will firmly safeguard the freedom of navigation under international law and peace and stability in the South China Sea. The U.S. is not a state directly involved in the South China Sea issue and China urges the U.S. side to respect fact and speak and act with caution so as not to impair peace and stability in the South China Sea region,” Hua Chunying, spokesperson for the China Ministry of Foreign Affairs, said.

The Ministry also reaffirmed its intention to resolve issues peacefully through talks with countries directly involved.

It’s unclear whether the announcement by the U.S. represents a substantial policy shift and whether resolving the dispute will become a priority under the Trump administration.