After only two months in office, U.S. President Donald Trump is being forced to deal with his old nemesis China. While most of his past contentions have targeted the way Chins conducts business and unfairly manipulates is currency, the Asian country’s continuing aggression in the South China Sea is starting to gain focus.
To begin with, Japan and Australia have also been calling for a halt to China’s building activities in the Scarborough Shoal area as well as through many of the smaller islands being illegally claimed by the Chinese government. After the Permanent Court of Arbitration at the Hague unanimously ruled in 2016 in favor of the Philippines in a dispute over the area, China has simply chosen to proceed forward illegally, challenging any of the smaller Asian countries to step forward and try to stop them. Enters the United States.
Much of the South China Sea corridor plays host to over $5.0 trillion in consumers goods being shipped between nations. Additionally, many of the islands in the area are known to contain significant oil reserves. For both reasons, it’s in the world’s best interest to confront China and what are becoming significant issues.
For their part, President Trump and the U.S. Congress, through the bipartisan efforts of Florida Senator Marco Rubio and Maryland Democrat Senator Ben Cardin, have introduced the South China Sea and East China Sea Sanctions Act. Under the terms of the new law, specific sanctions would be targeted towards any parties assisting China in its South China Sea activities.
In the Philippines, President Rodrigo Duterte is busy reevaluating his new friendship with China. Previously, he had been told China would make a way for cooperation with the Filipino people. With China beginning to threaten activities is what is generally accepted to be the sovereign property of the Philippines, it’s quite possible Duterte have realized there was a wolf is sheep’s clothing.