Secretary of State nominee Rex Tillerson’s comments during Wednesday questioning in his confirmation hearing may do more to stir the Chinese than a phone call with the President of Taiwan ever could. He said the island building on other countries’ reefs must stop and that access to the islands they’ve already created must be denied. China has constructed military installations, complete with air strips and surface to air missile installations on multiple islands that belong to other, much weaker nations.
In testimony before the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, Tillerson described China’s building of islands and military installation construction as “akin to Russia’s taking Crimea” from Ukraine. He said: “We’re going to have to send China a clear signal that, first, the island-building stops and, second, your access to those islands also is not going to be allowed.”
He didn’t elaborate on just what steps might be taken to accomplish those objectives but they would certainly be sensitive in nature, if not provocative. Tillerson said he considers China’s South China Sea activity to be “extremely worrisome” and China controlling access to the waterways is a threat to the “entire global economy.”
China has claimed much of the huge expanse of the South China Sea as theirs despite competing claims by Brunei, Malaysia, the Philippines, Taiwan and Vietnam which are much closer in proximity than the distant China. There are believed to be huge energy reserves below the ocean floor as well as issues for the traffic through major shipping lanes.
Tillerson was also asked about Taiwan, an American ally and huge arms customer of the United States’ military industrial complex. Tillerson said, “I don’t know of any plans to alter the ‘one China’ position,” a meaningless statement. It’s interesting that the world is pushing a two-state solution upon Israel where no Palestinian nation exists and yet where a sovereign Taiwan has been thriving independently for almost seventy years, a one-state requirement is being imposed due to the demands of the Communist Chinese.
Tillerson faulted Obama for Chinese aggression, saying, “The failure of a response has allowed them just to keep pushing the envelope on this. The way we’ve got to deal with this is we’ve got to show back up in the region with our traditional allies in Southeast Asia.”
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