China has restated its sovereignty over disputed territory in the South China Sea in the wake of comments by top U.S. officials that Beijing faces isolation if it continues “militarizing” the area.
Speaking at a security conference in Singapore on June 5, Chinese Admiral Sun Jianguo said: “We do not make trouble, but we have no fear of trouble.”
U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry said the previous day during a visit to neighboring Mongolia that Beijing should not proceed with plans to set up an air-defense identification zone (ADIZ) over the South China Sea, saying such a move would be “provocative and destabilizing.” China established a controversial ADIZ over the East China Sea in 2013.
U.S. Defense Secretary Ashton Carter said the same day that the United States intends to remain the guarantor of Asian security.
China’s moves in the South China Sea have evoked statements of concern from Japan, India, Vietnam, Taiwan, and South Korea.
China claims almost the entire sea, while Brunei, Malaysia, the Philippines, Taiwan, and Vietnam also claim parts of it.
Trade worth trillions of dollars passes through the area each year.