China has been saber-rattling in the South China Sea for some time and the Obama administration has finally responded. But the communist nation’s leaders in Beijing won’t like the response at all.
The Chinese government recently pronounced a large swath of the South China Sea an “exclusion zone,” meaning it is under China’s control and incursions by other nations will not be permitted. But now the Obama administration has told China it will not recognize this declaration.
According to Reuters, U.S. Deputy Secretary of Defense Robert Work informed China that the U.S. will not recognize this exclusion zone.
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China has been moving to take total control over the region by building man-made islands on which military bases, air strips, and ship docks are being built to serve as a jump point to launch military excursions across the area. But China’s actions have brought opposition by a list of countries that have also claimed sectors of the seas China covets. Taiwan, Vietnam, Indonesia, Brunei, Malaysia, the Philippines and others have all raised complaints and threats against this Chinese expansionism.
“Like most countries we are opposed to militarization or military expansionism in the area. Because that will probably certainly be provocative or inviting concerns, inviting possible confrontations or conflicts,” Bruce Linghu, Taiwan deputy foreign minister, told CNN earlier this month.
China has already tried this “exclusion zone” gambit before. Deputy Secretary of Defense Work pointed out in a recent press conference that in 2013 China tried to put such a zone in place in the East China Sea and the U.S. government refused to recognize the 2013 attempt as well.
Work said it was possible China could move beyond its exclusion zone policy and attempt to label the area an air defense identification zone, or ADIZ, a threat to all air traffic in the region.
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