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Biden Administration Renews Trump’s Rejection of Beijing’s South China Sea Territorial Claims

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U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken holds a joint news conference in London, Britain, May 3, 2021. (Chris J. Ratcliffe/Pool via Reuters)

The Biden administration renewed its support for a Trump-era policy rejecting the Chinese regime’s territorial claims on the South China Sea.

In a press statement released Sunday, Secretary of State Antony Blinken condemned China’s expansion in the South China sea and aggression towards Southeast Asian coastal states, defending freedom of navigation and the Philippines’ right to its previously determined “exclusive economic zone and continental shelf.”

The notice echoed the former administration’s concern that Beijing is abandoning “rules-based maritime order” and repudiating international law by encroaching on smaller independent states in the region.

It warned that an assault perpetrated by China on Philippine ships, aircraft, or personnel would necessitate U.S. military intervention on its ally’s behalf, per Article IV of the 1951 U.S.-Philippines Mutual Defense Treaty.

“The United States reaffirms its July 13, 2020 policy regarding maritime claims in the South China Sea,” Blinken wrote in reference to the statement drafted by his predecessor, former Secretary of State Mike Pompeo.

Pompeo had accused China of attempting to assert its dominance over the South China sea at the expense of its neighbors, using “bullying” to control offshore resources and treating the sea like its “maritime empire.”

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