A clash within the South China Sea is now almost inevitable. The US has declared China’s territorial grab “illegal”. It wants its “bullied” neighbours to stand their ground.
“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.