US Secretary of State Antony Blinken has warned China to stop intimidating South China Sea states. He urged Beijing to stop its “provocative behavior.”
Blinken issued a statement commemorating the fifth anniversary of a ruling that rejected China’s claims to a large portion of the sea.
Philippine leaders accused the Chinese of constructing an island in their midst and threatening their ships. Officials from Brunei, Malaysia, Taiwan, and Vietnam all claim ownership of the sea.
US naval commanders have stated their commitment to maintaining freedom of navigation. Following Blinken’s statement, a US destroyer steamed through the area.
Chinese military leaders reacted by dispatching forces to “warn and drive it away.” According to Zhao Lijian, a spokesperson for the Foreign Ministry, the US is sowing discord in the region while undermining peace and stability.