25 January 2017
If Donald Trump’s hawkish new administration follows through on threats and tries to cut Beijing off from artificial islands in the South China Sea, it could face a stiffer pushback than many imagine, experts say.
The US president and his team have made much of their desire to put Beijing in its place, including in the strategically vital waterway, which China claims almost entirely and where it has reclaimed — and fortified — thousands of acres of land, according to the Pentagon.
Trump’s nominee for Secretary of State, Rex Tillerson, told his confirmation hearing the US needs to send a clear signal that China’s access to the islands is “not going to be allowed”.
Observers quickly pointed out the full-scale blockade this would require was likely to provoke a military response from Beijing — a response that might be enough to make the US think twice.
… “Most analysts agree that it is 20 or 30 years behind the US in terms of military capabilities,” said James Char of Singapore’s Nanyang Technological University.
IDSS / Online
Last updated on 27/01/2017