Rex Tillerson says Donald’s admin will send clear signal to Beijing on disputed islands
Washington : The US will send a “clear signal” to China that it must abandon its artificial islands in the South China Sea, Donald Trump’s secretary of state pick Rex Tillerson has warned, hitting out at the communist giant for its “extremely worrisome” activities in the disputed waters.
“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 not going to be allowed,” the 64-year-old former ExxonMobil CEO told the Senate Foreign Relations Committee during his confirmation hearing. “China’s activity in this area is extremely worrisome and I think, again, a failure of a response has allowed them just to keep pushing the envelope on this,” he said in response to a question.
The former oil executive said China’s island-building activities in the disputed waters and its declaration of an air defence identification zone over the Japanese-controlled Senkaku islands in the East China Sea were “illegal actions”.
“They are taking territory or control or declaring control of territories that are not rightfully China’s,” he said, asserting that “building islands and then putting military assets on those island is akin to Russia’s taking of Crimea.”
He said it is a “threat to the entire global economy” if China is allowed to somehow “dictate” the terms of passage through these waters. “So this is a global issue of great importance to many, many of our important allies, but certainly to people in the region,” Tillerson said.