"We are making clear: Beijing's claims to offshore resources across most of the South China Sea are completely unlawful, as is its campaign of bullying to control them," a US statement issued earlier this week asserts. It's not a change of opinion. But it is a loud declaration of intent to establish a 'line in the sand' that Beijing should not cross. "The United States is now explicitly declaring it illegal for China to engage in fishing , oil and gas exploration, or other economic activities in those areas, or to interfere with its neighbours' rights to do so," says Asia Maritime Initiative senior fellow Gregory Poling. "The next time China does engage in illegal harassment of its neighbours within their EEZs (exclusive economic zones), a more forceful US response might lead China to double down out of a sense of nationalism," he added. RELATED: Photos reveal new island fortress Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said that the United States would treat Beijing’s pursuit of resources in the dispute-rife South China Sea to be illegal, ramping up pressure. Picture: TOM BRENNER / POOL / AFP. Source:AFP China's "wolf-warrior" rhetoric has given it little wiggle room to back down. "Perhaps now… Read full this story
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