The administration of new US President Donald Trump has stepped up war of words with China over the South China Sea and Beijing’s trade policies, drawing a rocky future for Sino-American ties.
In his first daily briefing on Monday, White House Press Secretary Sean Spicer said that Washington was going to stop Beijing’s “island building” in the South China Sea.
The US has long accused China of undertaking a land reclamation program in the disputed waters through making artificial islands.
“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.
“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,” he added.