26 May 2017
China on Thursday accused the United States of trespassing after a US warship sailed near a reef claimed by Beijing in the South China Sea, the first such operation by President Donald Trump’s administration in the disputed waterway.
The row comes during a period of warming relations between the countries, with Trump saying that Washington has dialed down pressure on Beijing over other issues in hopes of securing their cooperation on North Korea.
Since meeting with President Xi Jinping in April, Trump — who once accused China of “raping” his country — has praised the Chinese leader as a “good man,” saying it would be inappropriate to pressure Beijing while Washington is seeking its help with North Korea.
Thursday’s operation may be an indication that Trump’s patience is wearing thin.
But James Char, a China analyst at Singapore’s Nanyang Technological University, said the manoeuver was just the US signalling that it is a “credible strategic guarantor to its allies” in the region.
“For now, I do not see this as a sign marking the end of the goodwill cultivated between Trump and Xi,” Char told AFP.
IDSS / Online
Last updated on 26/05/2017