Trump on the Duty; U.S. Interpretation of China’s Claims on the South China Sea Raised Tensions between Washington and Beijing


İlknur Şebnem Öztemel -TDO- At a press conference in Beijing, foreign ministry spokesperson, Hua Chunying, urged Washington to think carefully to avoid harming the peace and stability in the region.Hua was responding to White House press secretary, Sean Spicer who said that USA would do everything to ensure its interests in the South China Sea, a resource-rich trade route.

Before him,Rex Tillerson, nominee for secretary of state, determined Chinese efforts to build artificial islands on the South China Sea, is similar to Russian annexation of Crimea. He added “They are taking territory or control or declaring control of territories that are not rightfully China’s”.

South China Sea is capable of $5 trillion in ship-borne trade passes for each year. China, Brunei, Malaysia, Taiwan and Vietnam have claims over the resource rich waters. China created 3,200 acres of new lands in the South China Sea, since 2013. These are; Subi ( Zhubi Dao), Mischief (Meiji Jiao), Johnson (Chigua Jiao), Hughes (Dongmen Jiao), Gaven (Nanxun Jiao), Fiery Cross (Yongshu Island) and Cuarteron Reef Trackers (Huayang Jiao ). China has become the target of criticisms regarding its island building program. Last year, Philippines sued an arbitration case against China to Hague and they ruled in favor of Manila.

However, dispute over the South China Sea is not the only political problem between U.S. and China. After his victory in the elections, Donald Trump had an official phone call with President of Taiwan.Also, in an interview with the Wall Street Journal published on 13 January, new President Trump said the One China policy was debatable. In return, China's foreign ministry reminded that the consent over the One China policy was a pre-requisite for bilateral relations between any state including USA which desire to have good relations with China and it was non-negotiable. Besides, U.S. withdrew from the Trans-Pacific Partnership Treaty, yesterday.

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