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