South China Sea row: US forcing Beijing into ‘more unorthodox’ push to assert control

Beijing upset over US intervention in South China sea, says expert

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American attempts to contain China’s aggressive expansion in the South China Sea have sparked a furious reaction from Beijing. US regional allies such as the Philippines have been locked in a furious struggle with Chinese naval forces seeking to lay claim to contested coral islands and reefs. Amid the scramble for control over the geopolitically important area, the approach by the US has prompted Xi Jinping’s regime to adopt increasingly more “unorthodox” tactics according to one regional expert.

Political analyst Stephen Nagy told ABC News Australia: “Beijing is upset, they feel the United States is an outside actor that doesn’t really have a role within the region.

“That this is traditionally, historically China’s backyard and that outside powers like the United States and even Austalia and our EU partners have no place in the discussion about the South China Sea.

“But that being said the United States has really said to China that the red line is infringing upon the territories of the Philippines.

“The Philippines are protected by the US Philippines alliance.

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“This is a challenge it is going to push China into a position where it is going to find more unorthodox ways to seek and consolidate its core interests,” the senior associate professor with the International Christian University added.

“This will be a challenge for the international community.

“And I think it will be an increasing challenge for southeast Asian countries like the Philippines.”

It comes as US Secretary of State Andrew Blinken warned any attack on Philippine forces in the South China Sea would force a US military response.

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Mr Blinken said: “The United States reaffirms its July 13, 2020 policy regarding maritime claims in the South China Sea.

“We also reaffirm that an armed attack on Philippine armed forces, public vessels, or aircraft in the South China Sea would invoke US mutual defence commitments under Article IV of the 1951 US-Philippines Mutual Defence Treaty.

“Nowhere is the rules-based maritime order under greater threat than in the South China Sea.

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Early this week the US decided to expand an economic blacklist targetting firms with ties to Xi Jinping’s regime.

Chinese firms on the sanctions list are generally required to apply for trade licenses for the US Department of Commerce and face tough scrutiny when they seek permission to receive items from US suppliers.

Washington also added five entities it said directly supported China’s military modernization programme.

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