Trump appears to have forgotten the South China Sea in 2017

Trump appears to have forgotten the South China Sea in 2017

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Source video: http://www.atimes.com/donald-trump-forget-south-china-sea-2017/

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Donald Trump previously talked tough on China’s controversial activities in the South China Sea, but during much of his first year in the White House, he virtually ignored the issue, giving Beijing free rein in the area. In a March 2016 interview with The New York Times, the then Republican candidate accused the Communist-run nation of building “a military fortress the likes of which perhaps the world has not seen” in the South China Sea. He also blamed then-president Barack Obama for Beijing’s adventurism, stating, “they do that at will because they have no respect for our president and they have no respect for our country.” Must-reads from across Asia – directly to your inbox In early December 2016, President-elect Trump again publicly attacked the Asian power for building “a massive military complex in the middle of the South China Sea.” Speaking to Reuters in February 2017, the newly inaugurated president reiterated his criticism of Chinese militarization and of his predecessor Obama for allowing it to happen. Such a view was also aired by many of his top aides. In November 2016, Alexander Gray and Peter Navarro, two key Trump advisers, pointed out that China had built massive artificial islands in the disputed waters “with very limited American response.” They accused the Obama administration of “pointedly” refusing to intervene in 2012 when China “brazenly” seized the Philippines’ Scarborough Shoal. At his Senate confirmation hearing in January 2017, Rex Tillerson, Trump’s nominee for secretary of state, called Beijing’s construction and militarization of islands illegal and “extremely worrisome.” The former ExxonMobil boss also charged that the Obama government had failed to deal with the problem, saying such a failure “has allowed [China] to just keep pushing the envelope on this.” He then vowed that the Trump White House was “going to have to send China a clear signal that first, the island-building stops, and second, your acc…
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