A potentially ‘dangerous’ confrontation with Beijing on Wednesday has been announced by U.S. President-elect Donald Trump’s nominee for secretary of state, saying China should be denied access to islands it has built in the contested South China Sea.
According to The Diplomat Magazine, Trump’s Nominee Rex Tillerson’s ‘dangerous idea’ for the South China Sea was proposed during a confirmation hearing before the U.S. Senate Foreign Relations Committee.
When asked if he supports a more aggressive stance toward China, he 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.”
China’s building of islands and putting military assets on those islands was “akin to Russia’s taking Crimea” from Ukraine, he added.
Meanwhile, the former Exxon Mobil Corp chairman and chief executive did not elaborate on what might be done to deny China access to the islands it has built up from South China Sea reefs.
Tillerson also called China’s South China Sea island-building and declaration of an air defense zone in waters of the East China Sea it contests with Japan “illegal actions.”
“They’re taking territory or control, or declaring control of territories that are not rightfully China’s,” he said.
He blamed the current situation on what he termed an inadequate U.S. response. “The failure of a response has allowed them just to keep pushing the envelop on this,” Tillerson said.
“The way we’ve got to deal with this is we’ve got to show back up in the region with our traditional allies in Southeast Asia,” he said.
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