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Thursday, 12 January 2017 04:33

Tillerson takes swipes at China over South China Sea buildup during hearing

Written by  Fox News

President-elect Donald Trump’s nominee for secretary of state, Rex Tillerson, took a swipe at China during his confirmation hearing with the Senate on Wednesday.

The former Exxon-Mobil CEO likened China’s island-building in the South China Sea to the annexation of Crimea by Russia – a sharp change in tone from the Obama administration’s focus on cooperation.

Tillerson accused Beijing of “declaring control of territories that are not rightfully China’s.” He added that China’s actions were “extremely worrisome” and the U.S. failure to respond “has allowed them to keep pushing the envelope” in seas that carry $5 trillion of trade annually.

Beijing has reclaimed more than 3,000 acres of land and constructed military-grade infrastructure. Over the last year, has been fortifying its islands with surface-to-air missiles and fighter jet deployment. China has also flown its nuclear-capable bomber over the sea in an effort to intimidate the other countries that have territorial claims in the region.

"This is a threat to the entire global economy if China is allowed to somehow dictate the terms of passage through these waters," Tillerson told the Senate Foreign Relations Committee.

Under Obama, the U.S. has worked with China to fight climate change and contain Iran’s nuclear program. But Beijing has only half-heartedly pressed North Korea over its nuclear weapons program and has willfully disregarded Washington's appeals to moderate its activities in the South China Sea.

Read more at FoxNews

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