The United States has done nothing but antagonize China in the South China Sea.
And at the UN today, U.S. President Donald Trump continued to ruffle China's feathers.
"We must reject threats to sovereignty, from the Ukraine to the South China Sea. We must uphold respect for law, respect for borders, and respect for culture, and the peaceful engagement these allow," Trump told the UN General Assembly on Tuesday (Sept. 19), according to the Economic Times yesterday.
This oblique reference isn't the first time the United States has challenged China on its unilateral claim to the South China Sea.
For instance, in May, a U.S. Navy destroyer – the U.S.S. Dewey – sailed tauntingly close to a disputed South China Sea island controlled by Beijing – the first time under President Donald Trump.
This irked the Red Dragon enough to issue the following warning…
"We urge the U.S. to correct this 'mistake,'" Foreign Ministry Spokesman Lu Kang told a regular press briefing on May 25, according to The Telegraph. The patrol, Lu added, "undermines China's sovereignty and security interests."
Then, on Sept. 1, the U.S. Department of Defense announced that it had set up a schedule of regular "freedom of navigation" operations (FONOPs) in the disputed waters. This particular news signaled a shift in U.S. policy that had, until now, consisted of intermittent, often reactive naval operations in the disputed region.
China has long despised American FONOPs, and it has even threatened to wage a "people's war" if they persist.
Yet despite Beijing's varied warnings that the United States stay out of the South China Sea dispute, President Trump once again antagonized the already-agitated country at the UN general assembly this week…
Trump and China Are Trading Sly Remarks
This decrial of "threats to sovereignty" in Ukraine and the resource-rich South China Sea was made without explicitly mentioning Russia or China.