On Wednesday, China confirmed it had sailed its Russian-made aircraft carrier Liaoning into the Strait of Taiwan, calling it a routine operation “accomplished in safety” at the conclusion of recent navy exercises.
At the same time the future U.S. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson specified before the Senate that the intention of the new administration is to “send China a clear signal” about the disputed areas of the South China Sea. “First, the island-building stops and, second, your access to those islands also is not going to be allowed.”
Some would say it was a diplomatic row, of provocations and replies. The truth is that throughout the ballet of declarations, China represented itself as the responsible party.
During the election campaign and in the early discourse of the nations’ president and president-elect, Donald Trump has used mostly anti-China rhetoric: He promised new tariffs, accused China of using the yuan to disrupt the world economy, spoke by phone with the president of Taiwan, cast aside Washington’s historic support of “One China” and accrued a team of personalities known for their anti-China approach.